Reply by CaptainKlutz

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Posted on How to finish this Cottonwood/Poplar

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4330 posts in 2546 days

#1 posted 01-06-2021 11:40 PM

To be honest, since I bought the wood from a reputable wood company, I expect that it has been sufficiently dried. Or can I not take that for granted?
Ask your supplier? Any reputable supplier will have moisture measurement equipment, and/or can provide kiln drying measurements, or certification data. In US, Kiln dry certification is required for export or commercial transport across state lines; due to invasive species prevention.
Regarding moisture meter for home shop, there are many choices. Wagner, Delmhorst, and Lignomat are considered top of line units for serious wood worker? Suggest you search forums for more information, as too much info post here.

Lastly, if the moisture content is still high, and I cut the cracked part off, will it just continue to crack anyway? So there’s no way to stop the crack if the wood does still have too much moisture.
If moisture is too high, best to seal ends with timber sealer like Anchorseal, or some other paint to slow the evaporation from ends of log. This reduces the tendency to split/crack. There are several threads on LJ discussing this topic also? US government has handy ‘bible’ on lumber drying if you want dig deep into topic.
IME – Cottonwood tends to have higher wet moisture content than other hardwoods and is more prone to split/check issues. Might want to seal ends with latex paint while the slab equalizes to shop RH, if not working the slab immediately.

Is there anything more to clear coating other than just the clear coat? Should I be pre-coating it with something before the clear coat? Or putting anything on top of the clear coat?
I’ll probably be using something like this:
Getting into specifics of finish options and choices will be difficult for me, since I do not live in or use S. Africa materials? lol

But, the Wood Works stuff looks a generic water base acrylic top coat. Acrylic tends to be soft finish, and not something I would use for durable table top in house with kids; but works ok for static ‘show’ furniture. Looks similar to GF High Performance sold in US. Being a Klutz and part time chemist, tend to use most durable finish I can find. Table tops needing durability get a commercial grade conversion varnish, catalyzed lacquer, or polyurethane in my shop. Sprayed some Renner WB poly recently, and it is so tough, that cheap sand paper doesn’t scratch it. Have to use high grade abrasives like Zirconium to sand away a mistake. Scuff resistance is amazing too. :-)

Use of sealer all depends on finish used, and desired look. Most clear coats are self sealing, and don’t need a sealer; unless you want to fill the grain for perfectly smooth surface, or want to highlight figured grain?

Most WB finishes are water clear, and while this can be good for some species; I prefer a warmer amber/yellow toned finish provided by solvent based coating for most projects. WB will not highlight any radical grain figure, which means might use; diluted dye, shellac, or BLO/Danish oil; as your ‘sealer’, before final WB top coat(s).
Finishing is another large subject, and suggest you read and learn more about all options.

Best Luck.

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

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