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Forum topic by erikreagan posted 07-07-2018 06:17 PM 938 views 1 time favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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erikreagan

7 posts in 898 days


07-07-2018 06:17 PM

Hello there!

I only have a small number of projects under my belt thus far. I haven’t really stepped into the world of finishing yet so I have much to learn.

Recently I built a simple desk surface for my home office. I used baltic birch ply and added some walnut to the edges. I’m not sure what to do about the finish though. There are two things on my mind. First is how to finish it so the natural qualities of each wood are brought out. The second is how to “protect” the material as it gets daily use in my home office.

I’m not sure how to research these things, so I made my way here hoping to find either suggested learning resources that can get me going OR specific finishing suggestions anyone may have.

Thanks so much!
Erik

-- Slowly learning to build things in my "spare time"


19 replies so far

View Redoak49's profile

Redoak49

3985 posts in 2373 days


#1 posted 07-07-2018 07:22 PM

I have any easy suggestion. Use a coat of shellac to seal with and then lightly sand. Then use light coats of wipe on poly. Use a clean lint free cloth and long strokes all the way across.

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robscastle

6097 posts in 2589 days


#2 posted 07-07-2018 08:33 PM

I can point you in the right direction for finishing as long as you tell me where you got that monster Monitor from !!
Here a a teaser to start with:-
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFVBsobIdUE

enjoy

-- Regards Rob

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Woodknack

12796 posts in 2765 days


#3 posted 07-07-2018 10:51 PM

For a desk I would use waterbase Poly. Sand the first coat smooth and light scuff each additional coat with 320 sandpaper. Buff/sand final (3rd) coat to a satin sheen with steel wool or 600 grit sandpaper. Should give you plenty of protection and yet feel natural.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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ArtMann

1381 posts in 1201 days


#4 posted 07-08-2018 02:42 AM

I like the polyurethane suggestion but I don’t have any idea what you are “sealing” with the shellac. It is a useless step as far as I’m concerned. I have made dozens of pieces of furniture and and cabinets, some of them now 40 years old, and I have never used shellac as a “sealer”. I don’t use polyurethane much any more because I prefer lacquer.


I have any easy suggestion. Use a coat of shellac to seal with and then lightly sand. Then use light coats of wipe on poly. Use a clean lint free cloth and long strokes all the way across.

- Redoak49


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erikreagan

7 posts in 898 days


#5 posted 07-09-2018 12:38 PM

I can point you in the right direction for finishing as long as you tell me where you got that monster Monitor from !!

Haha no problem. It’s a Dell U3415W which can be found on most major electronics store websites and possibly a couple of local stores depending on where you live. :)

Thanks for the video reference. I genuinely can’t tell how legitimate the content is, given my newness to the topic. It seemed like the info should be helpful, but her approach to the video made it seem like a joke. So…are you joking in your referencing it? Haha. Just want to make sure.

@Redoak49, Woodknack, and ArtMann – thank you for your thoughts as well! This might be a silly question but would you be able to mention any specific products around your suggestions? I start searching the web for things like shellac and polyurethane and see so many various options out there. Thanks for any additional insights!

-- Slowly learning to build things in my "spare time"

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tmasondarnell

108 posts in 2174 days


#6 posted 07-09-2018 12:46 PM

I would recommend a wiping poly/varnish. Easy to apply and forgiving of mistakes.

I like Arm R Seal, but here are some videos—not as good as Rob’s, from some content creators that are trust worthy:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PryTA4pzTZ4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPtoPBMbAP8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCzblO0f8P8

View Robert's profile

Robert

3393 posts in 1865 days


#7 posted 07-09-2018 02:17 PM

IMO the most fool proof finish is oil. Danish (combo of oil + varnish) or Tung oil (not a big fan of Linseed takes too long to dry/don’t like the smell). They are available in different tints. Mulitiple coats can be applied to the desired effect. It can be finished with wax (looks really nice) or poly.

For a top coat, a wipe on poly is probably next.

Shellac is also a very nice finish. It can be applied with a brush, wipe on or sprayed. You can make your own in various tints. The simplest is use Zinsser sanding sealer (dewaxed) if its a seal or under coat. Standard shellac can be used as a top coat. Which ever you use, dilute 50% with denatured alcohol.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View Bill_Steele's profile

Bill_Steele

515 posts in 2116 days


#8 posted 07-09-2018 02:51 PM

+1 for General Finishes Arm-R-Seal Oil and Poly No need to pre-seal with de-waxed shellac unless you are working with Cherry or some other wood (e.g. Pine) that might absorb the oil at different rates. I like to wipe the finish using a clean cloth and maybe even a sponge type applicator. Don’t make the mistake of putting it on thick—like paint. Use several thin coats (3 to 4) and always wipe it down lightly to remove excess finish. Let it dry overnight and sand very lightly with fine grade of synthetic steel wool before applying the next coat.

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

3383 posts in 1772 days


#9 posted 07-09-2018 03:03 PM

One more vote for multiple coats either a wipe on poly or the General Finishes Poly. I like the GF water based poly too. Don’t forget to lightly sand between coats. I usually use a 3M finishing pad for that. Just don’t use a power sander between coats as it is too easy to sand through the finish.

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

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robscastle

6097 posts in 2589 days


#10 posted 07-10-2018 07:51 AM

Thanks for the Monitor details.

Glad you found the video worthwhile!! (tee hee)

Now for Miss Aniela McGuinness Woodworking skills, well I found her video when searching for finishing info.
Boy did I get a surprise … very nice. I have referenced them a few times and get some really positive replies.
Mind you there are a few humbugs who dont approve, but thats life.
I think apart from the raunchy fun aspect she is fairly accurate, there are a series of them and you may need the watch a few times to actually concentrate on what she is saying. I think there is also one where she realises some hot bloods are checking out her assets.
Sadly she had to under go a double mastectomy and hasnt made any more entertaining videos of late. But I am looking forward to her return.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TpM9dxQAa20

I say good on her! we all need a bit of a chuclkle every now and then.

-- Regards Rob

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Tedferret

2 posts in 351 days


#11 posted 07-10-2018 08:29 AM



I would recommend a wiping poly/varnish. Easy to apply and forgiving of mistakes.

I like Arm R Seal, but here are some videos—not as good as Rob s, from some content creators that are trust worthy:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PryTA4pzTZ4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPtoPBMbAP8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCzblO0f8P8

- tmasondarnell

Thank you a lot. this few videos really help me to understand better all process

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

2296 posts in 2374 days


#12 posted 07-10-2018 07:22 PM

A “danish oil” type finish is a good one to start with, but unlike most I use Minwax poly, thin it 1:1 with mineral spirits, add some dye if desired ( the top liquid portion of stains, after the pigment has settled), flood it on for ~10 min, keep wet, wipe off, let dry, repeat. For 3rd and later coats, follow the wipe-on process till you get the film thickness desired. I prefer semi gloss or satin so any negative grain is not shiny gloss. Cheap, easy, tough, and readily available products.

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

12796 posts in 2765 days


#13 posted 07-10-2018 07:27 PM

I think the best finishing advice is keep it simple. When I started I made it complicated by using 2 or 3 products at a time, now I rarely use more than one.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View robscastle's profile (online now)

robscastle

6097 posts in 2589 days


#14 posted 07-14-2018 09:24 AM

Time to go kjalal at 884 m/s (2900 ft/s) M200

-- Regards Rob

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splintergroup

2669 posts in 1607 days


#15 posted 07-14-2018 01:50 PM

I’m with Redoak on using a sealer of shellac. Birch is very prone to splotching as it absorbs topcoats and stains in exciting and annoying ways.

“Colorless” topcoats (usually water based) should be ok without the shellac (water based poly, good lacquers, etc.)

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