Sunday, September 08, 2013

Well, That Went Well Fail

     Every time I try some off-the-shelf* "shortcut" to wood finishing, it goes badly.  Last night was no exception: I bought some stain-wiping cloths pre-soaked with super-super all in one stain and finish.

     Yuck.  Not only is it not the promised color -- more of a nasty chocolate-milk hue rather than the rich golden-brown it was supposed to be -- it also dries too quickly to smooth out and the result looks like an amaturwoodgraining job on top of the nice grain the wood already had.

     I'll have to sand it off and start over with a decent linseed-oil finish.  Luckily, it's just a single shelf, about 11" x 48".
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* I've used one finishing shortcut that works: paste-type shoe polish!  Brown or light brown for general use, oxblood/cordovan to approximate mahogany or cherry, black for ebony, black and brown together for dark finishes.  It's a bit slow to dry and you want a coat of furniture wax on top.  It's not as durable as a real varnish or shellac but it works.  There are genuine color wax finishes for wood and based on my experiences with shoe polish, I wouldn't hesitate to try them. 

6 comments:

Brigid said...

The floor you did in your office is incredible looking. Don't get discouraged, it will be beautiful when you're done.

Wolfman said...

I'm always disappointed in the various 'super' finishes I try. The ones I HAVE gotten to work, the tinted poly finishes, look good but I end up with just as long or longer a process to finish them, so they aren't shortcuts anyway. Good luck with your shelf!

Stranger said...

Shoe polish works but being wax based makes it hard to get varnish to stick. If you want a varnish finish...

It is a lot easier to start with a thin wash of stain, and add coats until you like it than to sand everything off and start over. A splash of stain or varnish stain in a pint of the appropriate thinner works, and if it's not dark enough, give it another splash of well stirred color.

So does dying the bare wood with alcohol based leather dyes. An old rag dipped in dye and the excess squeezed out has worked quite well for me, with a 3:1 mixture of thinner and Varethane for the finish coat.

Stranger

Roberta X said...

...The office floor came out okay (many-many coats of polyurethane) but, alas, it now needs patching: I used 3/4" oak-veneer plywood and the top layer of oak has worn though in spots. I'll have to use the tiny router to chew out the bad spots 1/8" or 1/4" deep and glue in thicker oak.

libertyman said...

I have had fabulous results with MinWax Wipe on Poly. You have to have the staining done as it is essentially clear. But it saved a cherry dresser I had.
Try it, I think you will be pleased.

Gewehr98 said...

Boiled linseed oil is a gift from the woodworking gods, for sure. I refuse to do a rifle stock or piece of furniture without it.