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Forum topic by Rink posted 01-20-2020 06:27 PM 582 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Rink

159 posts in 674 days


01-20-2020 06:27 PM

I’m trying to establish a “go to” finish for my stuff. Mostly (but not exclusively) wood-turned.

I was using mostly ArmRSeal for a while, but I find that it’s a bit too “plasticky”.

I’m looking for a satiny smooth finish with a bit of shine, but not glossy, where you can feel the wood.

I tried walnut oil, but the finish is a bit dull. Even after waxing and buffing. BLO is similar but also dark.

I’ve just tried polymerized tung oil from Lee Valley and so far, I like it the best. Easy to apply, nice result, done in 3 days (for 4 coats).

Before I settle on it as my “go to”, I’m thinking I should try some other things to compare. Like:

- Osmo Polyx (various formulations -3054? Top oil?, etc.)
- Tried & True (original?)
- Others?

By the way, I do use friction polish for my small stuff – knobs, bottle stoppers, etc. I’m talking about finishing larger stuff.

Any advice appreciated.

David


23 replies so far

View pottz's profile

pottz

7947 posts in 1621 days


#1 posted 01-20-2020 06:47 PM

well my “go to” has been the maloof formula which consists of 1/3 tung oil,1/3 blo and 1/3 poly.you can buy it from rockler but it’s much cheaper to just mix your own.sam for the final coat would add some wax to the mix.i usually apply 3 coats.im using this on furniture projects mostly.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

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LesB

2358 posts in 4080 days


#2 posted 01-20-2020 06:51 PM

I finish my wood turnings according to what their intended use and that means you can’t always get “the wood feel” if you have to build a top coating to protect the wood.

If it will get a lot of “hard” use like a salad bowl I use a salad bowl finish from General or Behlen’s. Four coats of that is as close to indestructible as you can get and to dull the gloss just burnish with 0000 steel wool and carnauba paste wax.

On very small items CA glue finish does a good and quick job while the item is still on the lathe…use the medium thick to slow the curing process and what I do is seal the wood first with the thin CA, sand lightly and apply the medium.

Another finish that goes on easily is Birchwood Casey Tru-Oil’s gun stock finish. It wipes on in thin coats and you can stop before a heavy surface film is created for more of a wood feel. Again you may need to buff it down to reduce the shine after several coats.

Other finish are Formbys low gloss finish and Watco danish oil.. Most of these finishes are processed oil (linseed and tung usually) with varnish or shellac added and some proprietary dryers, solvents, and waxes.

-- Les B, Oregon

View Drew's profile

Drew

355 posts in 3737 days


#3 posted 01-20-2020 06:58 PM

I love Tried and True Original, but it takes days/week to dry enough to use.
Osmo top oil is my go to. Easy to use, good protection, looks almost as good as the above.

-- TruCraftFurniture.com

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SMP

1779 posts in 542 days


#4 posted 01-20-2020 07:00 PM

For smaller turnings, CA glue and BLO are nice.

For larger pieces I like Minwax antique oil, sanded on.

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Rink

159 posts in 674 days


#5 posted 01-20-2020 07:08 PM

I’ve got to stop. I came up with two more choices.

Milk Paint “Half & Half” and General Finishes Seal-a-Cell. I’ve actually used Seal-A-Cell before, topped with Arm-R-Seal and I remember liking the resulting finish. I’ll have to look, but I think that might have been too hard a finish for something like a bowl.

Drew – have you tried any of the other Osmo formulations?

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OSU55

2545 posts in 2626 days


#6 posted 01-22-2020 04:08 PM

For “oil finishes”, read this.. Plain poly will do many things just depends on how it is applied. For bowls etc that will have knives and forks scratching them I recommend Mahoney’s walnut oil. Eventually polymerizes and cures after a few months and is food safe before and after curing. I dont use friction polishes much on the lathe, but use shellac/blo when I do. For small items and quick finish, I use CA glue. For fully filled glass like finishes I spray NC lacquer.

As for a “go to finish”, I use poly the most, thinned and applied like danish oil. I have several projects posted showing the results of different finishes.

View Manitario's profile

Manitario

2805 posts in 3520 days


#7 posted 01-22-2020 04:16 PM

Don’t overthink it. Try a bunch of finishes and find one that you like. I use a “Maloof” type finish on 90% of my projects. Gives a nice, even finish with a hint of shine. If I want more gloss (or more protection), I’ll wipe a couple of thin coats of poly on top after a few coats of the Maloof finish.

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

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Rink

159 posts in 674 days


#8 posted 01-22-2020 04:55 PM

Thanks guys. The thinned poly sounds interesting. But I’ve already gone through this bit of agonizing and have decided to give Osmo a try. Most furniture people seem to be using the 3054. I called Osmo to try to figure out the difference between Osmo Top Oil and Osmo 3054. The 3054 is thicker with more solids. The Top Oil is certified “food safe” in Europe (but the Osmo rep said that was only because that was the only product that they applied for food safe certification – he said it’s expensive to apply for the certification for each individual sku). What convinced me to try the Top Oil is that he said that, because it’s thinner, it’s easier to get into corners, nooks and crannies – and I think that could be helpful in many situations.

I’ll report back when I have an idea of how it works.

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

2545 posts in 2626 days


#9 posted 01-22-2020 08:39 PM

Just be aware that these hard wax oil products are not any more protective than blo with wax over it. Dont recommend their use on anything that will see sweating cans or glasses, or a dining table. Read many accounts of people re-doing furniture after experiencing these kinds of issues.

Most finishes are food safe after curing. I recommend the walnut oil where utensils are used because hard finishes scratch up. For just holding solid food – fruit, bread, cookies, etc – I use the thinned poly.

View them700project's profile

them700project

209 posts in 1655 days


#10 posted 01-22-2020 09:18 PM

I wouldnt set yourself up with only 1 finish. it depends on what the product is.Polyx is awesome but will eventually need to be reapplied from what i hear(havent got there yet) .

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Rink

159 posts in 674 days


#11 posted 01-22-2020 09:18 PM



Just be aware that these hard wax oil products are not any more protective than blo with wax over it. Dont recommend their use on anything that will see sweating cans or glasses, or a dining table. Read many accounts of people re-doing furniture after experiencing these kinds of issues.

Most finishes are food safe after curing. I recommend the walnut oil where utensils are used because hard finishes scratch up. For just holding solid food – fruit, bread, cookies, etc – I use the thinned poly.

- OSU55

I’m certainly not going to argue with you, as you seem to have put a lot of time and thinking into this subject. But I did find numerous instances on the web of people stating that there was excellent moisture resistance in the Osmo product. I’ll do a test and let you know how it goes.

What should I use to test… a glass of water with ice in it? a mug with hot water in it? bbq sauce?

David

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

4660 posts in 2024 days


#12 posted 01-22-2020 09:27 PM

My go-to non-plasticy finish is Tried and True Varnish Oil. It doesn’t have the wax that the T&T original finish has but has a varnish resin instead. Up until this week (more on that in a minute), it has always given me a fool proof super silky finish that doesn’t look like it is coated in plastic like many of the full poly finishes do. Presumably because of the wood choice and temperatures over the last several days, it isn’t working as well on the Doug fir under lathe tool cabinet I am building. The DF seems to be particularly thirsty, even after the third coat. and it seems to be taking forever to cure. So far it is a little more of a matte finish than I normally get. In fact, I applied the finish on the bottom when the temperature was in the 80s about a week ago and it turned out fantastic so it must be the temperatures that are causing my problems.

My second choice is the wiping poly finishes which you can buy ready to apply or making your own by thinning a regular oil based poly. The process for applying wiping poly and T&TVO are pretty much the same, though the T&T takes longer to cure, even when the temperatures aren’t an issue.

BTW, I didn’t do a great jot of showing the results of the finish but the 3rd picture of this project probably shows the results of the T&TVO the best. It is still hanging on my wall and the finish still looks awesome (to me anyway).
Click for details

-- 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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Rink

159 posts in 674 days


#13 posted 01-22-2020 09:51 PM

Nathan – I like your mirror! I gathered everything I needed to do hammer veneering for a project… and then I got seduced by a lathe. I’m still in honeymoon phase with my lathe and my veneer, hammer, hide glue, glue pot, etc are sitting neglected on a shelf. I do expect to get back to that one of these days.

David

View CaptainKlutz's profile

CaptainKlutz

2438 posts in 2131 days


#14 posted 01-22-2020 10:33 PM

+1 Tried and True Varnish Oil
https://www.triedandtruewoodfinish.com/products/varnish-oil/

It is lot easier than mixing a DIY BLO/poly blend, and resulting finish on hardwoods is gorgeous.
IMHO – is perfect ratio of oil and resin; it protects from water damage, but never a plastic look.

I use one coat of T&T Varnish Oil on my cutting boards to seal pores, before using the T&T Original Wood finish as top coat. With Varnish Oil pre-treatment, they don’t need to be recoated as often during use too. I use Beeswax/mineral oil blend for re-coat.

Used Varnish oil to seal my hand tool work bench too. My sweaty cold drinks never leave water ring.

Varnish oil adds very little color to wood, if you want darker tone, use the Tried and True Danish Oil. They both create a rich touchable surface with no thick plastic film.

I use both of them on various router bowls I have made over the years.
Here is an example of T&T Danish oil I made 6 years ago, and it looks same today, despite getting washed out in sink many times each holiday season:

Rarely turn stuff on lathe, occasional replacement chisel handle’s & plane knob’s mainly. Will use either thin CA finish, shellac friction polish, or T&T Varnish oil.

Hate to sound like a commercial, but:
Once I used the T&T oil finishes, I never been tempted to use Watco or any other oil blend again.
T&T finishes are my Go-To Oil options.

YMMV

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

View Rink's profile

Rink

159 posts in 674 days


#15 posted 01-23-2020 04:13 PM

Nice work, Captain and that finish has held up really well!

So, I don’t think I’ll ever get to try everybody’s go to finishes. What’s been mentioned so far is:

-Polymerized tung oil
-Maloof formula which consists of 1/3 tung oil,1/3 blo and 1/3 poly
-Birchwood Casey Tru-Oil’s gun stock finish
-Osmo top oil
-Minwax antique oil, sanded on
-Mahoney’s walnut oil
-poly, thinned and applied like danish oil
-Tried and True Varnish Oil

I’ve tried and like the polymerized tung oil. I have, and don’t love, Mahoney’s walnut oil. I’ve just ordered Osmo top oil. After that, unless I fall in love with the Osmo, I’ll try the Maloof or T&T finishes. I do want to get to the destination, but I’m enjoying the journey.

David

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