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Do I have to use some kind of finish?

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Forum topic by CrankAddict posted 12-13-2018 05:32 AM 936 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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CrankAddict

43 posts in 256 days


12-13-2018 05:32 AM

I made a picture frame out of red oak and my wife and I actually really like the look 100% raw. We like the lack of sheen, the lightness of the wood, the subtle grain, etc. Every stain, oil or coating I have seen before/after pictures of always seems to alter one or more of those traits. So for a picture frame that isn’t going to have spills or weather on it, do I actually need some kind of treatment on this wood at all? And if so, is there anything that is basically invisible?

Thanks!


24 replies so far

View CaptainKlutz's profile

CaptainKlutz

1641 posts in 1948 days


#1 posted 12-13-2018 05:50 AM

Without some type of finish, dust and dirt will get into pores of wood, and make it tough to clean.
Might look nice today, but in 6 months dust will settle in and leave uneven shadows.

Normally a simple wipe down with BLO would make a nice natural finish, but it will darken the wood slightly

If you want water clear coating that adds zero color, suggest General Finishes High Performance water based top coat. Comes in flat, satin, semi and gloss versions. The satin version give wood a very natural look.
Others mfg similar coatings available online, GF HP Top Coat is little easier to find at your local wood working store.

PS – always test finish on scraps before committing to project.

Best Luck.

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

View jamsomito's profile

jamsomito

432 posts in 880 days


#2 posted 12-13-2018 06:23 AM

+1 on general finishes water based poly. Best water based finish I’ve used. Its a bit more forgiving than minwax polycrylic (levels better, less brush strokes IMO). I used the flat sheen and really like the look. It keeps a very natural color. It will add a lot of character and some color though. Like you put water on it (ish).

Another note, all wood will change color over time from uv light. A finish such as above will help preserve it a bit longer. Eventually it will change regardless though.

I like BLO but I find it has one of the heaviest amber tones of the finishes I’ve used. I might recommend the water poly if a natural look is what you’re after.

View WoodenDreams's profile

WoodenDreams

679 posts in 365 days


#3 posted 12-13-2018 06:27 AM

Use Lemon Pledge to dust it, and you’ll end up about the same as if you put on a finish.

View Rich's profile

Rich

4701 posts in 1043 days


#4 posted 12-13-2018 06:32 AM

The best finish for any piece of red oak is a bon fire.

-- My grandfather always said that when one door closes, another one opens. He was a wonderful man, but a lousy cabinet maker

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jamsomito

432 posts in 880 days


#5 posted 12-13-2018 06:45 AM



The best finish for any piece of red oak is a bon fire.

- Rich

LOL. OP, it’s a joke. Go find the thread, it’s an entertaining read.

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

5332 posts in 2763 days


#6 posted 12-13-2018 08:57 AM

Now that Rich has chimed in I’d say put a water clear fire retardant on it.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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AlaskaGuy

5332 posts in 2763 days


#7 posted 12-13-2018 09:00 AM

I don’t think there anything you can put on it that won’t change it is some way. Remember to try it on scrap first. Rich says all oak is scrap so you should have plenty to practice with.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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Rich

4701 posts in 1043 days


#8 posted 12-13-2018 09:54 AM


The best finish for any piece of red oak is a bon fire.

- Rich

LOL. OP, it s a joke. Go find the thread, it s an entertaining read.

- jamsomito

I was dead serious.

-- My grandfather always said that when one door closes, another one opens. He was a wonderful man, but a lousy cabinet maker

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5647 posts in 2947 days


#9 posted 12-13-2018 11:35 AM

Somewhere above it was said already: but almost any finish you use will alter the appearance at least slightly. Waterborne finishes can be water clear (and stay that way) but you will still have a change in appearance. That said, you do need to finish it in some fashion. Back to the waterborne finishes, some of them have a tint to mimic their oil based counterpart, so check the label carefully if you choose to use one.

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

View ChefHDAN's profile

ChefHDAN

1426 posts in 3303 days


#10 posted 12-13-2018 01:30 PM

Jeff, since you’re just starting out, you’ll find WATCO oils are very easy to use and get beautiful results. BRIWAX is another I used frequently in the beginning. Although you like the look now you’ll come to learn that the finish is where the magic happens, making the grain and figure pop. There is not much of interest in red oak, but it’s economical and a decent place to learn using your tools. With time, focusing on featuring the grain, even a simple red oak table or some candle stands be very attractive even if they’re RO. If you’ve got kids beyond that red pitty, then you should consider WB poly finishes for anything with a horizontal surface the kids can put stuff on. Good looking frame!

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View swirt's profile

swirt

4072 posts in 3426 days


#11 posted 12-13-2018 02:07 PM

Pure Tung oil imparts much less color change than BLO. It would give you a natural finish without as much darkening.

-- Galootish log blog, http://www.timberframe-tools.com

View CrankAddict's profile

CrankAddict

43 posts in 256 days


#12 posted 12-13-2018 02:40 PM

Thanks for the input everyone. I’m so new to this I had to google “BLO” to see what that was :) I will definitely test on some scrap and report back with the final results. Thanks again!

View JADobson's profile

JADobson

1445 posts in 2565 days


#13 posted 12-13-2018 03:05 PM

What about just a good coat of wax? Shouldn’t change the colour much if you use a neutral coloured wax.

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany — Instagram @grailwoodworks

View ChefHDAN's profile

ChefHDAN

1426 posts in 3303 days


#14 posted 12-13-2018 03:22 PM

Jeff, be sure to read and follow the safety instructions with BLO, it and many other finishes can be highly flammable. I do not have a fire bucket, but I always hang any towels etc. used over a ladder rack so that they can dry out before disposal, never leave them wadded up thrown in a trash can.

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

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CrankAddict

43 posts in 256 days


#15 posted 12-13-2018 03:26 PM

I’ve been reading about white stains, or even mixing in some white paint to a white stain. That seems to produce a light appearance even after poly is added. What I’m seeing when clear poly is added to the bare oak seems to end up much too brown/yellow/red. Any thoughts on white stains?

And thanks for the heads up on the BLO fire stuff. I think that’s the only thing I still remember from high school shop class. At the time it sounded awesome, but now that it’s MY house it sounds terrifying lol.

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