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Forum topic by andr3w1sh posted 03-23-2018 08:40 PM 729 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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andr3w1sh

10 posts in 1379 days


03-23-2018 08:40 PM

Hello community,

I just purchased this bookshelf that comes with untreated fir shelves. It’s going in the living room and displaying some nick-nacks. The woodworker in me wants to immediately apply boiled linseed oil. What do you think? Should I finish the wood? Would it be okay leaving it unfinished? (My wife tends to not like waiting for me to oil our wooden furniture)

Please and thank you

-- please and thank you


17 replies so far

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

2296 posts in 2374 days


#1 posted 03-23-2018 09:21 PM

You could just use thinned poly, get the same effect, in much less time. Read here. Any furniture should have a finish on it even just for dusting, not to mention the cold drink that gets left sitting on it.

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andr3w1sh

10 posts in 1379 days


#2 posted 03-23-2018 10:31 PM

Thx OSU, that article on wiping varnishes was very informative. I don’t generally like using unnatural finishes, I use BLO almost exclusively, but now I want to try a wiping varnish project and see what kind of results I get.

-- please and thank you

View Jon Hobbs's profile

Jon Hobbs

147 posts in 1089 days


#3 posted 03-26-2018 07:42 PM



I don t generally like using unnatural finishes…

- andr3w1sh

What do you mean by “unnatural”? Boiled linseed oil has additives in it that some might consider unnatural.

-- Jon -- Just a Minnesota kid hanging out in Kansas

View Mr_Pink's profile

Mr_Pink

163 posts in 756 days


#4 posted 03-26-2018 07:45 PM

Shellac is natural and fast.

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andr3w1sh

10 posts in 1379 days


#5 posted 03-26-2018 08:55 PM


I don t generally like using unnatural finishes…

- andr3w1sh

What do you mean by “unnatural”? Boiled linseed oil has additives in it that some might consider unnatural.

- Jon Hobbs

I mean things like polyurethane, lacquer, and varnish that are essentially liquid plastics. I understand the benefits behind them, it’s just a personal preference that I have. I don’t like touching wood and it feeling like there’s a heavy coat of clear plastic covering it. It doesn’t feel “natural” to me. That was all.

-- please and thank you

View LesB's profile

LesB

2089 posts in 3828 days


#6 posted 03-26-2018 09:47 PM

The next thing to protect the wood besides an oil finish is to just apply a paste wax. But that is not entirely natural because most of them contain a solvent that evaporates (quickly) as the wax dries. If you use a wax make sure you sand the finish very smooth with 400 grit sand paper and possibly even burnish with 0000 steel wool. I often use 0000 steel wool as an applicator pad when I apply a paste wax. Then buff the haze away. This works better on hard woods than soft wood like pine.

An oil I have been using quite a bit the last couple of years is processed walnut oil. It is heat treated and it sets up in a day or two. As far as I know it contains no solvents or dryers. I usually wax it after it drys. WoodCraft carries it and here on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Ultimate-Walnut-Oil-Mahoneys-Finishes/dp/B001F7JUDK

-- Les B, Oregon

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andr3w1sh

10 posts in 1379 days


#7 posted 03-26-2018 10:17 PM

Thanks Les, I’ll check that out too.

While we’re on the subject of finishing, I have a related question. A few years ago I commissioned a lovely coffee table made from reclaimed redwood. It is finished, but not sanded smooth. In fact the grain is very pronounced. How does one achieve this?

-- please and thank you

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

3383 posts in 1772 days


#8 posted 03-27-2018 01:51 AM

Check out Tried and True Varnish Oil. It is basically a true BLO (no chemical or heavy metal dryers) with a natural (pine based?) resin added to give a little more protection. Takes more coats than a wiping poly but gives a really nice natural finish. When I want a finish that doesn’t look like plastic, this is what I use. A little more expensive and time consuming than other finishes but is a really nice product.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View Rich's profile

Rich

4473 posts in 974 days


#9 posted 03-27-2018 02:04 AM


Check out Tried and True Varnish Oil. It is basically a true BLO (no chemical or heavy metal dryers) with a natural (pine based?) resin added to give a little more protection. Takes more coats than a wiping poly but gives a really nice natural finish. When I want a finish that doesn t look like plastic, this is what I use. A little more expensive and time consuming than other finishes but is a really nice product.

- Lazyman

+1 for the Tried & True. I got a can of the varnish oil, Danish oil and their original to play around with. It is pretty expensive initially, but they rate the coverage at up to 1000 sq ft per gallon, so it goes a long way. It also never seems to go bad in the can, so it really winds up being a pretty economical finish, and like Nathan says, it’s about the most natural looking finish you’ll find.

Do follow the instructions to the letter. It’s not a flood the surface, let soak and wipe product like some other oils.

-- Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus ten thousand times is skill. -- Shinichi Suzuki

View nicedrum's profile

nicedrum

5 posts in 451 days


#10 posted 03-27-2018 04:48 AM

This is probably dumb, but has anyone tried beeswax and coconut oil? I keep containers of it around and use it as an all-purpose wax and ointment. It’s great for keeping dry fingertips from splitting in the winter, homemade lip balm, lubricating slides, etc, and in addition seems like a nice wood paste-style (?) wax/oil combo. I haven’t used it on actual furniture, though, and I’ll add that I’m not too experienced with finishes. I know I prefer natural to petroleum-derived products, though.

I don’t think I would use it on a bookshelf, though; I like the shellac idea for that. We have two plain, unfinished bookshelves, and have been absolutely fine not finishing them. Unless you’re displaying things in them that would expose the shelves to the air, and thereby dust, they don’t get a chance to get too dusty in my household.

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

3383 posts in 1772 days


#11 posted 03-27-2018 01:55 PM



This is probably dumb, but has anyone tried beeswax and coconut oil? ...
- nicedrum

I don’t think that coconut oil can be (easily?) made to polymerize and dry so would probably not make a good finish for furniture. I suspect that it will stay wet and rub off if you touch it. It might be good for cutting boards and salad bowls, though. Give it a try on a piece of scrap and let us know how it works.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View Manitario's profile

Manitario

2751 posts in 3268 days


#12 posted 03-27-2018 02:41 PM



Thanks Les, I ll check that out too.

While we re on the subject of finishing, I have a related question. A few years ago I commissioned a lovely coffee table made from reclaimed redwood. It is finished, but not sanded smooth. In fact the grain is very pronounced. How does one achieve this?

- andr3w1sh


Do you mean that it’s rough to touch or that the dark grain lines are slightly more “bumpy” than the lighter grain in-between? If it’s issue #1 and the finish is not a gloss finish, you can try and use a very fine sandpaper eg. 800g or very fine steel wool, 0000, and lightly(!) sand with the grain. Could even try using a brown paper bag and lightly rubbing the surface. If it’s issue #2, your only option is to sand/plane the whole surface flat and re-finish.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View LesB's profile

LesB

2089 posts in 3828 days


#13 posted 03-27-2018 05:13 PM



Thanks Les, I ll check that out too.

While we re on the subject of finishing, I have a related question. A few years ago I commissioned a lovely coffee table made from reclaimed redwood. It is finished, but not sanded smooth. In fact the grain is very pronounced. How does one achieve this?

- andr3w1sh

I’m not clear on you question. Do you want to create a just a smooth finish, or deal with just the raised grain or both? The raised grain pattern is most likely cause by the way it was sanded. Redwood is quite soft and the grain between the growth rings is the softest so when not sanded properly more material is removed between the growth rings creating little valleys and ridges. I suspect it was sanded by hand so the sanding material was able to cut the soft area faster. To remove the ridges it needs to be re-sanded with a flat pad sander. I so happens I just worked with some recycled Redwood and I found my orbital pad sander did a good job of keeping the surface flat.

hope that helps

-- Les B, Oregon

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andr3w1sh

10 posts in 1379 days


#14 posted 03-27-2018 05:54 PM

Ok, I seem to have not articulated that properly. I WANT the uneven, rough grain. I don’t want it to be a smooth, flat surface. I was asking how to get that same raised grain in the fir shelves and still finish and protect them.

-- please and thank you

View Wildwood's profile

Wildwood

2643 posts in 2519 days


#15 posted 03-27-2018 07:29 PM

Oil finishes pure or oil varnishes do not offer any protection for wood but easily repairable. Pure tung oil oil little better if apply enough coats but drying times pretty long even when thinned with mineral spirits or citrus solvent.

Your wiping finishes will give little more protection if apply enough coats. Making your own will give little better control using a 50/50 mix of poly to thinner (mineral spirts). Two coats will equal one coat of film finish.

Comercial wiping varnishes less messy but have to read label for amount of thinner in the product. Good example is Min Wax wiping poly which is about 70% thinner.

Film finish offer more protection from lot of things but most important is water vapor transfer.

-- Bill

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