Reply by CharlesNeil

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Posted on Finishing is not my strong suit

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2501 posts in 4551 days

#1 posted 01-06-2014 02:36 PM

For a quick and easy finish on turned objects .. try this :

Give it a good coat of shellac while turning on the lathe, ( might be a little splatter ) , while the shellac is wet immediately buff over it with some Renaissance wax..
I have not tried other waxes, I like the Renaissance because it seems to dry harder .. it’s pricy to be sure , but works really well for me . You are basically making a friction polish, it just seems to do better than the premade stuff which is shellac and wax. This came about when I was filming some turning clips for Woodcraft , and was doing some of the garden tool handles and pepper mils, and some pens . I needed a quick finish to close the videos, so I did as described above . We have used the garden tools and the pepper mill for several years now and they are doing fine .
I would suggest you do several coats of the shellac, and be sure to have the project well sanded, as this isn’t going to make a heavy film , and a light sanding between coats with some 600 or so is a good idea. I usually do the wax on the last coat . When done grab a handfull of the shavings and use it to buff the finish. I prefer a stain pad or similar to apply the finish and wax.. Its not fun if using a cloth and if it gets grabbed and jerked out of your hand , it can be dangerous …Don’t ask how I know . :) The objective here is to get the wax on while the shellac is wet, so for me its shellac in one hand and wax in the other, you want them to intermix , the wax also acts as a lubricant so as the shellac dries ( quickly) , it all smooths down. Caution here when applying the shellac, it dries fast and as it tacks up it also can get a liitle “grabby” , keep it wet . This will give you a nice semi gloss or slightly higer sheen.. if you want less sheen simply use some 1200 sand paper for a high satin or some 600 to 800 for a lesser sheen and give it a very light sanding after its dry.

Sanding sealer is simply some finish that a sterate has been added, its exactly what it implies . The sterate makes it easier to sand . With noted exception to the commercial Vinyl sealers it brings nothing to the party . Many advertise it makes for a stronger and harder finish.. Not True.. Its actually the opposite , its softer because of the sterates, which act as a lubricant . I rarely use it. I also see many who use a thinned version of it for a pre-stain. I tried it and the results were not good . I typically use whatever finish I plan to use as the sealer and go forward. Gloss finishes will be harder to sand between coats than semi gloss or satin , because in the lower sheens they use a flattner , which also acts as a lubricant, gloss doesn’t have it .

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