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How to fill small voids before finishing with mineral oil and wax mixture?

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Forum topic by Niuhi posted 07-09-2020 09:02 PM 1398 views 0 times favorited 26 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Niuhi

5 posts in 36 days


07-09-2020 09:02 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question maple finishing

Aloha -

I’m a brand new woodworker on my first project – a crib for our new grandson. The crib’s slats are hard maple and even though I made MANY extra slats, after planing and initial sanding I still have many with small voids or pits (most about the size of a dull pencil tip, but some with slightly rough edges). For both aesthetic and safety reasons, I would like to fill these voids before finishing.

My daughter-in-law was consulted on the finish (that’s her part of the project, in fact), and she’s selected a mineral oil and wax mixture as being a more natural and – in her mind – safe option. (Yes, I am aware and informed her that any wood finish is non-toxic after it fully cures, but….) Let’s assume that I won’t be successful in changing her mind.

I’ve searched the Internet and several forums for an answer to the question: what product(s) can I use to fill these voids that will either also accept the mineral oil/wax finish, or compliment the finish’s sealing of the wood? Additionally, assuming that it will get gnawed on by one or more babies, is non-toxic?

I was wondering if Rockler’s CrystaLac® Clear Waterborne Wood Grain Filler might be suitable?

Thanks in advance for any suggestions or advice!

-- Niuhi


26 replies so far

View LittleShaver's profile

LittleShaver

681 posts in 1428 days


#1 posted 07-09-2020 09:52 PM

What wood are you using? Might help get you a specific recommendation from the smart people here on LJ.

-- Sawdust Maker

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Niuhi

5 posts in 36 days


#2 posted 07-09-2020 10:03 PM

Hard maple. :)

-- Niuhi

View metolius's profile

metolius

178 posts in 1539 days


#3 posted 07-09-2020 10:37 PM

I am not sure of the best approach for your situation, but definitely don’t execute without first testing solutions on sample pieces so that you know exactly what to expect and how to get there.

Maybe adding a picture of the offending voids could help

-- derek / oregon

View CWWoodworking's profile

CWWoodworking

887 posts in 988 days


#4 posted 07-09-2020 11:00 PM

Famowood. I’m sure the have a maple.

What color/finish?

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Niuhi

5 posts in 36 days


#5 posted 07-09-2020 11:09 PM

Here are the offending voids. I can only do so much sanding without thinning the wood too much. I say that because eventually these would sand out I’m sure, but I just don’t have the thickness of wood to do that.

The maple is natural, and won’t be stained or otherwise colored: it will just get the mineral oil/wax finish (eventually).

Thanks for the reminder about test pieces…I need to set some aside to go with the crib when it’s ready for my daughter-in-law to finish!

-- Niuhi

View CWWoodworking's profile

CWWoodworking

887 posts in 988 days


#6 posted 07-09-2020 11:26 PM

Make a new slat.

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

5872 posts in 3118 days


#7 posted 07-09-2020 11:44 PM


Make a new slat.

- CWWoodworking

This. Something like slats I would have cut a few extras when you were first cutting up the raw blanks.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View farmfromkansas's profile

farmfromkansas

210 posts in 423 days


#8 posted 07-09-2020 11:48 PM

I use my sander to take lumber to finish thickness, as the planer leaves voids. My lumber is local grown, and gnarly grain, so the only way to make it smooth is a sander, not a planer. Helical cutterheads help but do not completely stop the pulling out of gnarly grain. You can use 60 grit to get close, then switch to 120 grit.

View CaptainKlutz's profile

CaptainKlutz

3374 posts in 2303 days


#9 posted 07-09-2020 11:58 PM

I do not know of any filler that is considered 100% safe for consumption?

The Crystalac has shellac which is ok to eat, but it also has silica. While eating small amounts of silica won’t hurt you, breathing in silica dust causes lung cancer and tuberculosis?
Most of the non-transparent fillers use talc or calcium carbonate as filler. The problem is not the filler, it is the impurities that come with it. Some mined filler deposits have been known to emit excess gamma radiation. No one publishes data for ‘edible’ fillers?

Another challenge is the mineral oil finish. Saturation of excess oil can de-bond most any filler. In order to test a filler, will have to soak your test sample for long time to ensure permanence?

Personally, I would just skip the filler? Would not use filler anywhere that can be chewed. Just sand smooth any defects and add the finish. If you want filler, then need to change the finish schedule.
IMHO – A crib is not fine furniture. It will get chewed, sprayed with water, defecated upon, disinfected, and generally abused. It is nothing more than half a cage to keep the monkey from getting hurt worse than if they get loose. :-0)

Highly suggest you avoid mineral oil finish on crib. It never dries, and the surface will always be greasy and waxy. Sister insisted on same finish for changing table I made as the ‘wive’s club’ said it was ‘safe’. She keep getting oil on her work clothes while changing the kid. It was sanded down and covered with polyurethane before the next birth.

Suggest you have your DIL investigate Tried and True Original Wood Finish. Used it for a couple of rocking cribs and it works well. Easy to repair after being chewed on. Just sand, re-coat, and gift to next lucky family. My bother’s kids have been passing one around for 2 decades now, and it still works/looks great.

Best Luck.

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

View CWWoodworking's profile

CWWoodworking

887 posts in 988 days


#10 posted 07-10-2020 12:28 AM


Make a new slat.

- CWWoodworking
This.

Something like slats I would have cut a few extras when you were first cutting up the raw blanks.

- AlaskaGuy

Not me. I get my boards from the perfect tree and I obviously don’t make mistakes. :)

OP, if you consistently get those results, you may want stop a 1/16 thick and finish it up another way. Drum sander, hand sanding, card scraper, etc.

View PCDub's profile

PCDub

190 posts in 1053 days


#11 posted 07-10-2020 03:28 PM

(doesn’t anyone read the initial posts? this isn’t the first time I’ve seen questions asked where the information was included in the ORIGINAL POST—such as OP said “hard maple” and “I made MANY extra slats” then was asked “what wood?” and told “make extras”...) ????

View CWWoodworking's profile

CWWoodworking

887 posts in 988 days


#12 posted 07-10-2020 04:32 PM



(doesn t anyone read the initial posts? this isn t the first time I ve seen questions asked where the information was included in the ORIGINAL POST—such as OP said “hard maple” and “I made MANY extra slats” then was asked “what wood?” and told “make extras”...) ????

- PCDub

I’m going to assume that the OP explored the option of the extra slats since he is asking about fixing this one.

If this is the best of the bunch, make a new one.

View controlfreak's profile

controlfreak

960 posts in 410 days


#13 posted 07-10-2020 04:58 PM

I can’t offer a idea on a filler but you could possible feather it a bit through sanding. After that build up with multiple coats of whatever finish is used sanding between coats.

That is tear out, what did it, hand plane or thickness planer? If both are sharp the only way I know to minimise is to increase the angle of the blade and close the mouth as much as possible on a handplane. It that falls short a scraper may be the weapon of choice.

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

5872 posts in 3118 days


#14 posted 07-10-2020 11:26 PM



(doesn t anyone read the initial posts? this isn t the first time I ve seen questions asked where the information was included in the ORIGINAL POST—such as OP said “hard maple” and “I made MANY extra slats” then was asked “what wood?” and told “make extras”...) ????

- PCDub

No.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Rich's profile

Rich

5720 posts in 1398 days


#15 posted 07-11-2020 12:01 AM


(doesn t anyone read the initial posts? this isn t the first time I ve seen questions asked where the information was included in the ORIGINAL POST—such as OP said “hard maple” and “I made MANY extra slats” then was asked “what wood?” and told “make extras”...) ????

- PCDub

Keep in mind that the OP can edit their main post after some comments have come in and often will update it to include some information that’s been asked for such as wood type or something else. It doesn’t mean that info was part of the post when the question was first asked.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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