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Oil or water base

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Forum topic by Pizzadave posted 10-26-2018 04:04 AM 716 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Pizzadave

89 posts in 501 days


10-26-2018 04:04 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question birch finish

Hello, I am planning on making kitchen cabinets for my personal use. I will be using black birch for the doors, drawers(raised panel) and face frames and Baltic birch for the boxes. I have been reading conflicting experiences about what final finish would be best for cabinet application. Water based seems more of a natural look and less odor where oil based seems to be more resilient. Looking for some views from the Jock community.

Thank you!

-- Dave, NY, It works-It really does!


20 replies so far

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Rich

4555 posts in 1008 days


#1 posted 10-26-2018 05:22 AM

Assuming you’re not planning to color them, oil will add depth that you won’t get with a waterborne finish. Use test boards of course, but my first pass at it would be to oil it with something like tung oil, or walnut. The result won’t be much different between the two. Add some drier if you don’t want to wait 48 hours or more for it to dry.

Then I’d spray lacquer. The sheen is up to you, but Sher-Wood CAB Acrylic is really easy to spray. For cabinets, you don’t need the durability of pre-cat, and the CAB will remain clear better than a pre-cat.

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

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Pizzadave

89 posts in 501 days


#2 posted 10-26-2018 05:37 AM

Thank you for responding. Your idea sounds like good advice and I will give it a whirl. I have quite a supply of linseed oil in my shop that I used on a project a while back. How does that sound for the first pass. And you are correct about not staining the wood. I’m going with the natural look. Black birch is Beautiful Wood and I love the grain pattern.

-- Dave, NY, It works-It really does!

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Fred Hargis

5585 posts in 2912 days


#3 posted 10-26-2018 10:30 AM

Be aware, the BLO will turn more amber (darker) over time, not necessarily a bad thing but keep it in mind.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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Wildwood

2672 posts in 2553 days


#4 posted 10-26-2018 01:17 PM

I wouldn’t use either linseed oil or boiled linseed oil in a kitchen even if plan on top coating with oil or water base finish.

Zinsser’s SealCoat Universal Sanding Sealer can be used with any clear finish. Doesn’t coantain stearates or waxes!

Water base finishes will also impart a amber hue, but if want natural look choose a WB product that drys clear. Water based, environmently with quick easy clean up. Most brands dry in about two hours.

If don’t mind amber tone just about and oil finish will do and still give you a natural look. Oil based polurethane the most durable, and take more time to dry.

Lacquers, catalyzed, acrylic, precatalyzed, vinyl, and standard (nitrocellulose) come in variety of sheens from flat to high gloss. SealCoat Universal Sanding sealer a good idea drys in about two hours.

-- Bill

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Pizzadave

89 posts in 501 days


#5 posted 10-26-2018 02:10 PM

Hmmm. Good to know. Thanks for your thoughts.

-- Dave, NY, It works-It really does!

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Rich

4555 posts in 1008 days


#6 posted 10-26-2018 02:30 PM


Water base finishes will also impart a amber hue

- Wildwood

Really?

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

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Fred Hargis

5585 posts in 2912 days


#7 posted 10-26-2018 03:40 PM

Some waterborne finishes are tinted to mimic their oil based counterpart, but if they aren’t tints they are generally water clear, and stay that way.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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Wildwood

2672 posts in 2553 days


#8 posted 10-26-2018 04:19 PM

Bottom line have to read labels regardless of finishing product

General water based Enduro-Var will impart slight amber tone but High Performance drys clear!

Minwax One Coat Poly & Polycrylic is crystal clear, but their Modified waterbased Poly will imart amber tone!

-- Bill

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OSU55

2357 posts in 2408 days


#9 posted 11-02-2018 10:38 PM

Whatever you choose to do test, test, then test some more before starting on the cabinets. Never used any but black birch appears similer to hickory. I would suggest playing around with some low intensity dye. A little color can really enhance the grain. Color and intensity are important aspects. You also probably want good chatoyance – easy with solvent, not as easy or as good with wb.

More info will help. Will you spray? Why are odor or voc’s an issue? Not finishing in house are you? In short I prefer solvent over water based, but spray a lot of wb in the winter when I cant ventilate properly.

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Jared_S

206 posts in 378 days


#10 posted 11-03-2018 12:43 AM

I prefer pre-cat solvent lacquer for most applications including cabinets.

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Pizzadave

89 posts in 501 days


#11 posted 11-03-2018 01:07 AM

Hey! Thanks for responding. I’m finishing them in the shop so smell is not an issue. I have not used spray before and don’t have the equipment although it sounds like something I will try someday. I’m not planning any dyes or stains for the wood because it’s grain and colors are beautiful. I basically was wondering if oil was a better choice and if so what brand of clear finish. There is so much to choose from and I want to make sure I get the right one for a clear look and a durable coating.

-- Dave, NY, It works-It really does!

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Pizzadave

89 posts in 501 days


#12 posted 11-03-2018 01:19 AM

Here is a pic of the wood when it was green.

-- Dave, NY, It works-It really does!

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Aj2

2321 posts in 2217 days


#13 posted 11-03-2018 03:06 AM

Good looking stuff

-- Aj

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Fred Hargis

5585 posts in 2912 days


#14 posted 11-03-2018 10:54 AM

Oh, WOW! That is some nice looking wood. As for oil versus WB, I still prefer oil finishes…..even though waiting for them to cure can be a problem. But WB finishes are now almost (IMHO) as durable as oil, and many think they are even with or better than oil finishes in durability (sorry, I know of no true controlled tests to verify). Here’s what i would do: If I can keep the temps warm enough for a water borne finish, I would use it…only for the quicker drying time and the water clear appearance. For sure, there would be NO oil anything on the interior of the cabinets since the smell can linger forever. If i can’t keep the temps warm enough for the waterborne, then oil it is…and live with the amber cast. You could use an alkyd/soya formula varnish (P&L 38) and it will be a lot less amber, besides being a very good varnish (my favorite, though it can be very hard to find). For a job that size, I would choose a waterborne from Target Coatings thought there are several other good brands available.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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OSU55

2357 posts in 2408 days


#15 posted 11-03-2018 02:23 PM

Since you plan to finish by hand (no spray), wb is out. Fred makes a good point about the interior – you could brush, even foam brush, wb inside and have little odor. GF HP poly or Target Coatings EM 9000 poly would be good choices. While wb can be brushed on the outside, a couple of issues with it – brush marks, and the lifeless look of wb. No chatoyance, and with that wood you will be very disappointed. The why to address it is undercoat with shellac, but shellac needs to be sprayed on large surfaces. Very short open time.

My choice would be oil based poly or the alkyd p&L or sherwin williams has an alkyd. I find the alkyds a bit softer than poly. The alkyds tend to have slightly less amber tone. For poly I would use minwax, and GF has arm r seal. MW has 2x the solids content so needs to be thinned 1:1. The alkyds will need to be thinned as well. Whichever, the 1st 2 coats should be applied like a danish oil – flood the surface, keep wet for ~10 min, wipe off. This fully seals the uneven absorption of the surfaces and is very easy to do. Then add coats by wipe on or brush.

I recommend you experiment with a little color on scrap. The liquid portion of stains is dye and can be mixed directly into the varnish. Just a little dark dye can really enhance the grain. Whatever you choose, test the entire finish schedule on scrap. Should be easy to dedicate many board pieces to testing. If big enough you can plane them off several times to remove the finish and test again.

My birch experience is limited to ply, but it is very blotch prone. Read about blotch control here. Include in your testing.

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