Michael Dresdner

straight talk about wood finishing

Archive for the 'durability' Category

Pen polish

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Q: I am new to pen turning. Can you recommend some finishes? A: It depends largely on the pen material. Obviously, cast acrylics need no finish and can simply be buffed. Ditto for very hard or resinous woods, like rosewood, ziricote, bocote, cocobolo, lignum vitae, ebony and even boxwood. For other woods, I tend toward [...]

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In and out

Monday, September 27th, 2010

Q: What makes an alkyd oil based enamel usable for interior use but not for exterior use? Can I tell from looking at the MSDS? A: There are three basic elements that make that difference, and unfortunately, that is not clear from reading an MSDS. They are the resin, the colorant, and the pigment loading. [...]

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Lacquer vs. oil based

Friday, August 20th, 2010

Q: You make a distinction between lacquer and oil based finishes. Why does it matter? A: Lacquer, which is a category that includes shellac, is an evaporative finish. It cures solely by the solvent evaporating. That means the molecules floating around in the solvent when it is in its liquid form are exactly the same [...]

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No fade, no shade

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

Q: We are in the process of making a dining room table out of solid padauk and purpleheart, and wanted to know the best way to finish it. We would love to be able to keep the colors of the natural wood, without ambering over time. A clear, durable finish would be great as well. [...]

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Fishy finish

Monday, June 7th, 2010

Q: I stripped an oak fish tank stand and applied two heavy coats of espresso colored Varathane oil stain, leaving it sit one hour before wiping it off. I then applied two heavy coats of Watco Teak Oil and left them overnight. I found a sticky, gooey mess in the morning. When I tried to [...]

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Apples to apples?

Friday, June 4th, 2010

Q: We want to do a comparison of the performance of a variety of solvents for shellac:Lee Valley’s Shellac/Lacquer Thinner; a lab grade of denatured ethanol and common hardware store methyl hydrate. We plan to prepare samples of blond shellac, mixed in each of the three solvents, apply them to wood samples and test the [...]

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Proof of the pudding?

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

Q: Is the resistance to strippers a sure indicator of a polyester finish or does it merely suggest it? A: It suggests it, but is not an indicator of polyester alone; it is merely an indicator that the finish is highly cross linked. Polyester is probably the most common of the highly cross linked finishes [...]

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Polyester problems

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

Q: Short of sanding it off, is there any way to remove a polyester finish from guitar sides? A: Yes, but it might be faster and easier to sand or scrape it off. For guitars with solid sides, you can make the job easier by working it off with a heat gun. When heated, polyester [...]

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Hold on there, finish!

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

Q: What finish will stand up to New York winters? Sometimes the windows sweat on the inside and my finish comes off in a year or two. A: Part of that my be your choice of finish, but it may also be the preparation. You must start with clean, sanded wood to get good adhesion, [...]

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Sometimes two is worse than one

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

Q: Is an oil/polyurethane mixture a good choice for a dining table? A: Oil alone is a fairly poor choice. Oil based polyurethane is an excellent choice. A mixture of the two will fall somewhere between poor and excellent.

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