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Hello .. First post here. I built a small wood project from Bolivian Rosewood that has a total of 4 separate pieces. I finished all four pieces EXACTLY the same, but am having different results from them. After final sanding, I first wiped down each piece, one at a time with Acetone to remove any surface oils that may cause issues, then put on 5 coats of Watco Natural Danish Oil, and let them dry for two weeks. They all felt very dry. I then did a quick wipe again with the Acetone before quickly brushing on a coat of Arm-R-Seal semi gloss poly. The largest of the four pieces dried overnight, and took another 3 coats of the poly, and is just perfect. But the remaining three just will not completely dry, and have been tacky now for 6 weeks !!!! In places, they are dry, but in spots they are still tacky.
I just do not understand what happened … I used Acetone as suggested many places on the web, and ALL of the wood is the same, and was finished the same way. I need to know how to repair my mess.
Thanks
 

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My best guess: I think five coats of Danish oil is excessive. You were lucky enough to have one piece soak it up and dry properly. Try taking the pieces that are still tacky and rubbing them with steel wool until the tackiness is completely gone, then put another coat of poly on. I make no guarantees, but I've had some luck following this procedure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hello Hallmark. I am very new to finishing, and was looking for the beautiful look of hand rubbed oil finish … You know, a finish that best brings out the figure in the wood. I was told that any poly just won't do a good job of looking natural, and bringing out the figure. I was told I NEEDED some kind of oil finish applied first to accomplish this, with a top coat. And this is why I went this route. I also needed simplicity, as a TRUE hand rubbed oil finish, I just have never been able to get the results I see the Pros get. Any suggestions are welcome, and thanks for replying.
 

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I've NEVER done anything to rosewood but sand it and finish either with satin poly (like Minwax) or lacquer (like Deft). Never had this problem, but then I never used oil on it. Lacquer really makes the grain pop. I'm trying to figure out my cheapo digital camera to get clearer pics to prove it.
 

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Some woods just don't like oil finishes. You can get a really nice finish with spray on lacquer and then try the oil/poly finish on another project using a different wood.
 

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Figg,

The problem is that Rosewoods (Dalbergias) are a naturally oily wood. The oil can be distributed throughout a piece unevenly, but in most cases are enough to prohibit using oil finishes of ANY kind. The natural oils in the wood keep percolating to the surface and prevent oil finishes from drying. Were I you, I would strip the finish (I know, it sucks), and sand up through the grades until you get the shine you want. I have been known to go through 2000 and beyond. Get wet-or-dry paper in higher grits at auto body supply stores (eg. Carquest).
Rosewood takes a high NATURAL polish due to the oil in it and doesn't need a finish. If you insist, strip it, seal it with de=waxed shellac (Bull's Eye Sealcoat), then hit it with laquer. Acetone is useful in getting a good glue bond, but so is a quick, light sanding just before application. You might consider wax for a finish, but polished rosewood really needs nothing imho.

Steve
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hello again … I believe it was Charlie who suggested this :

My best guess: I think five coats of Danish oil is excessive. You were lucky enough to have one piece soak it up and dry properly. Try taking the pieces that are still tacky and rubbing them with steel wool until the tackiness is completely gone, then put another coat of poly on. I make no guarantees, but I've had some luck following this procedure.

So I did this today, and have a question ; Although it did get rid of the tackiness, it left sections that are hazy in appearance … Before I follow instructions and place another coat of poly on, i need to ask if the hazy areas will stay hazy, or if the new poly on top will make them clear after applied ?
thanks
 

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sorry - another thought/question. have you tried putting on a single coat of poly over the tacky surfaces? i've had the ambient atmosphere do funny things, and putting a new coat over an existing but tacky coat has cured (pun intended!) the problem.
 

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you don't need a pure oil to pop the grain. Honestly I would recommend staying away from the pure oils entirely since they don't like to dry. Arm R Seal and Seal A Cell do great. Also are you wiping these back or just brushing them on and leaving it. That's probably part of the problem. You need to wipe oil based finished back with a rag. You can't just brush it because it will go on way to heavy.
 
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