Michael Dresdner

straight talk about wood finishing

Archive for January, 2010

Sealer vs. sealer

Friday, January 29th, 2010

Q: I’ve been using cellulose sanding sealer on my woodturnings. What’s the difference between it and Zinsser SealCoat, and which is better? I normally use wipe on polyurethane as my finish. A: Better is a personal judgment you must make, but I can certainly tell you the differences. Cellulose sanding sealer is lacquer laced with [...]

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Lawrence McFadden update

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Q: Any word on the Lawrence McFadden Seagrave deal? A: The decision of the bankruptcy court that must approve Seagrave’s purchase of Lawrence McFadden has been postponed until February first. I will get back to you via this blog once that is finalized, but in the meantime, I spoke at some length to Peter Tepperman, [...]

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Pshaw, you make me blush

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Q: I sprayed a very thin final coat of lacquer on a guitar when it was cold and humid, and the finish blushed. I had to spray another coat of thicker lacquer and the blushing went away. I think I understand the reason why blushing forms, air trapped, but what I don’t understand is why [...]

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Oil over water

Sunday, January 24th, 2010

Q: Can I put an oil based urethane on top of waterbased Varathane? A: Yes. Varathane is polyurethane, and oil based urethane can go over waterbased, provided the waterbased is fully cured and all the water is out of it. Do bear in mind that one of the reasons for using waterbased polyurethane is that [...]

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A jewel of an idea

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

Q: I want to make jewelry out of glued twigs and have it be durable. I need to glue the shape together with PVA glue and then coat the entire piece with a sealer. I have read about cyanoacrylate and epoxy resin. Any advice? A: There are a wealth of good sealers that will work [...]

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Figure or blotch?

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

Q: I’m having some problems getting dye to take evenly on soft maple. A: I’m not surprised. Soft maple is notorious for growing with twisted and wavy fibers. That means when you cut a flat surface, you are actually getting flat grain interspersed with end grain. When you stain, whether with pigments or dyes, the [...]

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Raising grain without raising Cain

Monday, January 18th, 2010

Q: Do I need to raise the grain before using water soluble dye? A: You don’t need to, but it is certainly a good idea. When you get done sanding, the wood cells on the surface are shredded. These shreds will generally stand up once water hits them. If you are lucky, the tiny fibers [...]

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Dyes 101, a primer

Friday, January 15th, 2010

Some recent questions about using dye prompted me to post this very basic introduction to dyes and their use. Dye is a crystal that dissolves in a particular solvent. Many are sold in powdered form; others are pre-dissolved and sold in highly concentrated liquid form. There are also further diluted, ready to use, already mixed [...]

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Even maple likes even color

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

Q: I built a dresser with soft maple. I am ready to apply the finish which included a dye stain under a polyurethane top coat. I have been testing pieces to ensure that the wood will all look uniform and it does not. I have sanded everything to 220 and certain boards look like they [...]

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A sensitive issue, chemically speaking

Monday, January 11th, 2010

Q: I am chemically sensitive and am renting a house where some perfume has embedded itself into the wood doors of a closet. I am looking for a clear sealer with no vocs and no fungicides or harsh chemicals to use to seal the odor in. A: The very best odor sealer is shellac or [...]

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