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Author Topic: Trying to decide on a finish for a table  (Read 1700 times)

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Offline Crusarius

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Trying to decide on a finish for a table
« on: March 05, 2021, 12:32:09 PM »
So my wife ended up getting a very nice new sewing machine. I figured a new sewing machine deserves a new table. So I happened to have some short pieces of spalted maple laying around and a bunch of walnut. My plan is to build the table with a walnut border and 2 walnut cross pieces then place three sections of spalted maple into the walnut frame.

I am confident the table is going to be pretty amazing looking when it is done. So I really need to find a finish to accentuate the beauty as best I can. What would you guys recommend?

I have some polycrylic that I was thinking of using but then started second guessing myself. I wonder if tung oil is a better option?

I would like to keep the colors as vibrant as I can and hope to not have it yellow.



The green legs will be walnut, the grey sides and cross pieces will also be walnut, the yellow will be spalted maple.

Offline Dan_Shade

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Re: Trying to decide on a finish for a table
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2021, 12:42:52 PM »
I like lacquer.  Easy to apply with a sprayer, easy to repair.... 
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Offline DonW

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Re: Trying to decide on a finish for a table
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2021, 12:58:28 PM »
I'll be somewhat emphatic, not to offend but as a warning, do not oil maple. It will cloud the grain - tung oil in particular - dull the appearance, and destroy maples unique light refracting character. Lacquer will have less effect on the color but can still end up looking all shiny and plastic. The best protection - against dust and grime etc... - I've found for this maple, that will not diminish its character is microcrystalline wax, a synthetic wax applied sparingly. And to preserve the spalting effect avoid exposing the table to sunlight. 
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Offline DonW

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Re: Trying to decide on a finish for a table
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2021, 01:03:42 PM »
You do have the issue of wood movement.  How will you accommodate that in this design?
Hjartum yxa, nothing less than breitbeil/bandhacke combo.

Offline Crusarius

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Re: Trying to decide on a finish for a table
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2021, 01:11:35 PM »
You do have the issue of wood movement.  How will you accommodate that in this design?
Hopes and dreams :)

I actually was talking to my wife about that and I explained to her this is going to be a mad science experiment and hope for the best. I know all the materials will move independently but I am hoping for the best. We will see what happens.

I ordered a lock dado bit for drawer boxes. The spalted maple is going to end up being somewhere from 3/8" to 1/4" thick So I am hoping I can use the lock dado bit to put a groove around the outside walnut and along the edges of the maple to hold it all together.

Once again, this is a full on mad scientist experiment.

oh yea, and to top it off this is the first real wood project I have ever done that is not pine. This entire thing is going to be interesting.

Offline Crusarius

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Re: Trying to decide on a finish for a table
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2021, 01:14:22 PM »
Don, thanks for responding. I didn't think tung oil would do that. great to know. 

Dan, I have never dealt with lacquer have no idea what to do with that. 

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Re: Trying to decide on a finish for a table
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2021, 04:03:48 PM »
I would like to keep the colors as vibrant as I can and hope to not have it yellow.
Oil finishes are yellow out of the can.  Some more than others.  Nitrocellulose lacquer yellows with age.

I use oils, lacquer, and shellac dependent on the project and the look I want to achieve. My favorite for light colored woods is Sherwin Williams Cab lacquer.  It goes on water clear and stays that way.  Has UV inhibitors.  Available in different sheen's.

Whatever you pick, try it on a test sample first.
Larry, making useful and beautiful things out of the most environmental friendly material on the planet.

We need to insure our customers understand the importance of our craft.

Online btulloh

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Re: Trying to decide on a finish for a table
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2021, 05:10:19 PM »
Do the top pieces run cross-wise as depicted?  If so there really is going to be an issue with seasonal wood movement unless thereís a gap between them or something. You may want to add a stretcher as well for stability. 

Just throwing it out there as things that should be considered. 

Another finish suggestion to consider is water based poly. Easy to apply and much clearer than regular poly. Canít say Iím a big fan of it personally but it fits your criteria. 

Personally Iíd go with pre-cat lacquer based on your desired outcome if you have the means to spray it. 

Good luck with the project. Looking forward to following your progress. 
HM126

Offline alan gage

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Re: Trying to decide on a finish for a table
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2021, 05:19:06 PM »
Lately I've been using 2 coats of dewaxed shellac under water based poly and it's working great. The shellac brings out the color, dries quick, sands easy, doesn't raise the grain, isn't supposed to yellow, and keeps the water based poly (which also dries fast) from raising the grain.

The only way I've found dewaxed shellac premixed semi-locally is as a seal coat sold by Zinsser. It's very thinned down (hence the 'seal coat' description) and I've found two coats of it helps bring out the color a lot more than one.

Alan
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Offline DonW

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Re: Trying to decide on a finish for a table
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2021, 06:17:27 PM »
You do have the issue of wood movement.  How will you accommodate that in this design?
Hopes and dreams :)

I actually was talking to my wife about that and I explained to her this is going to be a mad science experiment and hope for t
Yes, it's understandable, speaking (so to speak) as one experienced in the matter. Believe me it only takes once for perfect confirmation. 
Hjartum yxa, nothing less than breitbeil/bandhacke combo.

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Re: Trying to decide on a finish for a table
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2021, 06:31:55 PM »
Do the top pieces run cross-wise as depicted?  If so there really is going to be an issue with seasonal wood movement unless thereís a gap between them or something. You may want to add a stretcher as well for stability.

Just throwing it out there as things that should be considered.

Another finish suggestion to consider is water based poly. Easy to apply and much clearer than regular poly. Canít say Iím a big fan of it personally but it fits your criteria.

Personally Iíd go with pre-cat lacquer based on your desired outcome if you have the means to spray it.

Good luck with the project. Looking forward to following your progress.
yes. the top runs as shown. I already though about adding the stretcher, I probably will.

The polycrylic I was talking about is the water based poly. I like it, it works great. Just wasn't sure it was the right choice for this. I have used it on my pine countertops and its amazing how well it has held up and the pine is not dented either.

Offline Crusarius

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Re: Trying to decide on a finish for a table
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2021, 06:36:32 PM »
I do have a cheap HVLP gun. it may be worth getting some lacquer and trying my luck.

Thanks for all the ideas. I am really looking forward to this project coming to fruition. I already put the 2" thick boards I made for the top border in the save for another project pile and just finished prepping some 1" material for the edges. Ended up at 7/8 after planing.

Going to use a drawer lock dado all around to hold the maple. In a perfect world it will work great. I am concerned the drawer lock dado is not going to be deep enough and the boards will fall out. 

I have some pictures I need to post but I need to find my cord so I can transfer them.

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Re: Trying to decide on a finish for a table
« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2021, 06:58:40 PM »
Probably worth experimenting with the hvlp gun for the polycrylic and the lacquer. Good thing to have in your skill set for now and the future. Thereís some good water based lacquer available as well as the solvent based. 

I think either way, the zinnser seal coat that Alan suggested is a good base. One thing I hate about using water based finishes is it raises the grain so bad. The shellac sealer fixes that problem. Zinnser made using shellac a lot easier when they came out with the premixed stuff. Not as versatile as keeping a variety of flakes on hand, but sure is nice for quick use.
HM126

Offline 21incher

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Re: Trying to decide on a finish for a table
« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2021, 07:19:14 PM »
I use polycrylic on everything anymore. It's the only finish that doesn't outgas and make my wife sick with her chemical sensitivity syndrome. It keeps maple light, keeps walnut from fading in the sun and keeps cherry a mellow color. I use a HVLP sprayer for larger pieces and have learned to live with the results. Takes about 6 months to get hard enough to wet sand and polish out. Not perfect but I have no choice and make it work.
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Offline terrifictimbersllc

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Re: Trying to decide on a finish for a table
« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2021, 07:52:00 PM »
I would like to keep the colors as vibrant as I can and hope to not have it yellow.
Oil finishes are yellow out of the can.  Some more than others.  Nitrocellulose lacquer yellows with age.

I use oils, lacquer, and shellac dependent on the project and the look I want to achieve. My favorite for light colored woods is Sherwin Williams Cab lacquer.  It goes on water clear and stays that way.  Has UV inhibitors.  Available in different sheen's.

Whatever you pick, try it on a test sample first.
Larry where do you get the SW cab  lacquer? Thanks
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Offline Crusarius

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Re: Trying to decide on a finish for a table
« Reply #15 on: March 05, 2021, 09:24:31 PM »
does polycrylic need to be thinned to spray through HVLP gun?

I definitely agree with raising the grain issues. that might ruin this table. I will have to try as piece soon

Offline 21incher

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Re: Trying to decide on a finish for a table
« Reply #16 on: March 05, 2021, 09:52:54 PM »
I don't thin it. You need the proper  tip size. It does raise the grain first coat and l just use an orbital sander with 320 grit between  coats. Biggest issue is the heat from the blower turbine drys it almost instantly so it doesn't level out perfectly and if you try to spray it to thin you can get thread like very fine strings in the finish. I use a piece of cardboard to get the right settings depending on the temp and humidity before  committing to the final part.
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Re: Trying to decide on a finish for a table
« Reply #17 on: March 05, 2021, 10:05:20 PM »
Larry where do you get the SW cab  lacquer? Thanks
At Sherwin Williams.


Only comes in gallon and larger sizes.  I use more of the "dull rubbed" sheen than any of the others.  It's code is T75 F 18.  For a tougher finish resistant to food spills they recommend using their vinyl sanding sealer. 

When I use a sanding sealer this is the one I buy.  It has a higher solids content than the SW product and is the same price.  I get it at Pittsburgh Paints aka Spectrum.  For decorative stuff a lot of times I skip the sanding sealer.

Larry, making useful and beautiful things out of the most environmental friendly material on the planet.

We need to insure our customers understand the importance of our craft.

Offline Crusarius

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Re: Trying to decide on a finish for a table
« Reply #18 on: March 06, 2021, 09:31:27 AM »
I don't thin it. You need the proper  tip size. It does raise the grain first coat and l just use an orbital sander with 320 grit between  coats. Biggest issue is the heat from the blower turbine drys it almost instantly so it doesn't level out perfectly and if you try to spray it to thin you can get thread like very fine strings in the finish. I use a piece of cardboard to get the right settings depending on the temp and humidity before  committing to the final part.

are you using an airless sprayer? or does the turbine create that much heat from just the air and poly? What do you have for a tip size?

Offline 21incher

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Re: Trying to decide on a finish for a table
« Reply #19 on: March 06, 2021, 01:14:48 PM »
I am using an old Harbor freight HVLP setup. It has a gun and hot air blower to vaporize the paint at very low pressure with a big hose maybe15 ft long connecting them. I checked the website and they no longer sell the same one. No compressed air required.  I tried the purple air type what they call HVLP and had no luck because  it was made for thinner automotive type paints and they are great for that but not really HVLP.  It came with  a large nozzle rated for unthinned latex paint that I use and a smaller one. Don't  know the exact  size but I think it's  like a 1.8 or 2 mm. Works best in cooler weather that slows down the hardening time. When it's hot the Polycrylic dries instantly and doesn't  flow out. From what  I understand  Polycrylic should  never be thinned.
Hudson HFE-21 on a custom trailer, Deere 4100, Kubota BX 2360, Echo CS590 & CS310, home built wood splitter, home built log arch, and a logrite cant hook.


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