Michael Dresdner

straight talk about wood finishing

Archive for the 'varnish' Category

Jewelry finish

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

Q: What would be the best non toxic finish I could use on jewelry made from wood? A: I’m not sure what you mean by non-toxic, as that is a term used typically for things we ingest. If you mean that the finish itself is edible or drinkable in its liquid form, that would include [...]

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Circa 1920

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Q: I have a circa 1920 chiffarobe I would like to refinish. I stripped it with alcohol and sanded to 220. I have never been very successful with shellac. What would you suggest for a finish what would give a reasonable look and protection? A: What I would suggest is what it had originally, and [...]

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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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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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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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Bartley gel it is

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Q: The Rockler gel urethane I used to use is no longer available. Any suggestions? A: The Rockler gel was a private label product made by Lawrence McFadden. They went into bankruptcy and their formulas and remaining product was purchased by Seagrave Coatings. Peter Teppermann, the president of Seagrave, assured me that they will continue [...]

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Bubbles? Champagne, not varnish

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

Q: How do you prevent bubbles in spar varnish? I have tried bristle brushes, sponge brushes, and even putty knives. A: In real estate the adage is location, location, location. With brushing oil based varnish, it’s technique, technique, technique. A few basics come first. Start with the softest natural bristle brush you can find; ox [...]

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The right size

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Q: Here in my country there is only one kind of gold size; a waterbased size which is white in the can and cures colorless and gloss. We have to thin it with water and apply it with a little cotton ball. This process of applying the size takes a lot of time and sometimes [...]

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We don’t need no stinkin’ scratches

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

Q: There’s a method I want to try; waterbased dye, seal, gel stain left dark in corners and wiped to simulate wear, top coat. How can I brush top coat using varnish without screwing up the gel, since varnish needs scratches to hold to? A: No it doesn’t. Just let the gel dry thoroughly so [...]

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Glazed over

Friday, December 18th, 2009

Q: Would Mohawk Finisher’s Glaze be safe to use over shellac, spirit varnish and oil varnish, considering it contains methanol? A: Yes. The amount of methanol in the mixture is very low, and you would probably have no problems at all. About the worst that would happen is that it would bite more aggressively into [...]

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