Michael Dresdner

straight talk about wood finishing

Archive for the 'seal' Category

Play musty for me

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Q: My old desk has a kind of musty smell. Can this be improved by treating the wood? A: Musty smells can come from mildew or accumulations of dust and dirt. Clean the desk, including the interior areas, and kill any mildew with laundry bleach. If you want, you can seal the exposed wood areas, [...]

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Monday, November 29th, 2010

Q: I purchased a 70s-era desk with an oak veneer. Much of the desk is constructed of heavy fiberboard. I’m worried about the formaldehyde and other chemicals off gassing. Is there a way to seal the exposed fiberboard? A: If it is from the 70s, anything that was going to off-gas has long ago done [...]

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Crisp masking lines

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

Q: How do I achieve a nice crisp symmetrical line when using two different stains? For example I want to stain a light triangle inside a dark rectangle. The stain has bled under the painter’s tape in my tests. A: There are a variety of techniques, but they depend on both the type of stain [...]

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Inked salad bowls

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Q: I want to color walnut sapwood on salad bowls with India ink, then seal it with shellac and salad bowl finish. Would this be safe for food? A: Yep. By the way, I would let the ink dry then go straight to salad bowl finish. In this case, adding shellac would weaken the finish.

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Auntie Oxidant

Friday, September 24th, 2010

Q: I made some replacement handgun grips of cocobolo. Realizing that cocobolo has a lot of natural oils in it I first sealed it with shellac, then filled the pores with a product called z-poxy. I then sanded and applied one coat of Minwax polyurethane. Three weeks later I can make a thumb print in [...]

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Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

Q: A friend told me that he used nitrocellulose sanding sealer on wood, and then finished it over with an automotive two part clear coat. Does this seem possible? To me it just sounds like the two different systems will not go together. A: You are correct in worrying about incompatible systems, but as luck [...]

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For once, no primer

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

Q: We’d like to coat our stripped metal furniture with hammer finish from Rust-Oleum. The local paint person stated this can be applied directly to the metal, but perhaps I am just being old school so I am questioning whether priming first would be better. A: Rustoleum’s hammer finish is in fact fine to use [...]

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To seal or not to seal

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

Q: Should I apply a sanding sealer after staining maple? I read that you cannot use sanding sealer under a sprayed precatalyzed spray lacquer which is what I was thinking of finishing with. A: That’s half true; stearated sealers, which are one type of sealer, are not compatible under most catalyzed finishes. You must have [...]

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Punky oak

Monday, July 19th, 2010

Q: I am making French doors out of red oak. I got to the sanding stage and I noticed pithy type areas, pithy veins. I sanded them but I was wondering if you had run into this and if so how you handled it? A: Certain types of red oak, including one we used to [...]

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Misguided advice?

Monday, July 12th, 2010

Q: I am finishing some beech and used Zinsser SealCoat in a 50-50 mix with denatured alcohol. After light sanding I applied tung oil but the result was some serious blotching. I’m planning on using shellac as a finish. A: Zinsser SealCoat is pure, dewaxed shellac, already reduced to exactly the right consistency. That implies [...]

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