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Fine sanding. Sanding to finer grits, as on the underside half of this oak panel, which was sanded to #600 grit versus #180 grit on the highest half, doesn’t shut the wooden’s pores as is commonly claimed. It creates finer scratches that retain much less stain after wiping off the surplus.

Knowing which half to imagine is why ending appears so tough.

Many years in the past I coined what I name my “half-right rule.” That is, half of what you learn or hear about ending is true; you simply don’t know which half.

You might suspect that I developed this rule in response to all of the contradictory data revealed in woodworking magazines, however I didn’t. The rule originated from my expertise with the aged clerk, Glen, on the paint retailer down the road from my store, the place I purchased most of my provides.

I all the time loved my journeys to the paint retailer as a result of I used to be greeted warmly, and I knew I used to be going to be taught one thing. Glen had been round paints and finishes all his life, and he gave me many suggestions that helped me elevate the standard of my work. He additionally led me astray nearly as usually.

He wasn’t deceptive me on function, in fact. He was merely passing alongside suggestions and explanations he had picked up from painters and finishers who he got here in touch with. Numerous nonsense is handed round in these circles, and a few of it has turn into deeply embedded.

Here are a number of examples that will sound acquainted.

Thin the primary coat of end by half for a greater bond. On the opposite, full-strength finishes bond completely nicely. The function of thinning is to create a thinner construct that’s simpler to sand.

Don’t sand to too superb a grit otherwise you’ll shut the wooden’s pores and it gained’t take stain as nicely. You don’t “close” the pores with finer grits. You create finer scratches that retain much less stain while you wipe off the surplus.

Use sandpaper to melt sharp edges as a result of these will present put on too simply. The higher cause to melt edges with a few sandpaper passes is as a result of the end is more likely to peel away from sharp edges.

The longer you permit a stain moist on the wooden the extra it soaks in and the darker the coloring while you wipe off the surplus. This isn’t the best way it occurs. The stain isn’t soaking deeper; the thinner is evaporating, which leaves a better colorant-to-liquid ratio.

Notice that in all these examples the issue with the instruction is just not that you must or shouldn’t do it. It’s the reason of what’s going to occur or why it occurs or the way it occurs that’s incorrect.

When the “what,” “why” and “how” explanations are unsuitable, you might be left struggling to grasp ending. Which aspect of the half-right rule is right?

My Culpability

Stain will get darker. I wiped off an oil stain inside a minute (left) and after 30 minutes (proper). After 30 minutes the stain is darker, not as a result of it penetrates deeper however as a result of quite a lot of the solvent has evaporated, leaving a better colorant-to-thinner ratio.

In addition to nonsense explanations, mislabeling by producers and poor directions are additionally at fault. Here, I’ve to take some accountability for contradictions you must work via. Take these examples.

Manufacturers usually let you know to use stain inside two hours when utilizing a wooden conditioner to scale back blotching. I’m telling you that you must let the wooden conditioner, if it’s oil- or varnish-based, dry at the least six hours to in a single day to get good outcomes.

Watco and different producers of Danish oil, that are mixtures of oil, varnish and thinner, let you know to let the primary coat penetrate for 30 minutes then apply a second coat and let it penetrate 15 minutes. Finally, wipe off, and the end is able to use in eight to 10 hours. I (and others) let you know to let the primary coat dry in a single day after wiping off the surplus. Then sand calmly, apply a second coat, wipe off and let dry in a single day once more.

Manufacturers of just about all manufacturers of teak oil let you know that their end gives UV resistance for out of doors use. I let you know that this isn’t true. You want a construct (with UV absorbers added) to successfully present UV resistance, and there’s no construct with oil finishes.

Wood conditioner. Instructions let you know to use stain inside two hours of making use of the wooden conditioner. This doesn’t scale back blotching. In reality, ready for 2 hours will increase blotching as a result of extra of the thinner has evaporated. Here, I utilized stain on to the highest part of this pine board. Then I utilized wooden conditioner to the remainder of the board and stain instantly, stain after 10 minutes, stain after two hours and stain the subsequent day. After the wooden conditioner dried, the colour is lighter, however there isn’t any blotching.

Again, you must determine which aspect of the half-right rule is right.

Teak oils. Oils bought for preserving teak don’t work nicely, as proven by the fading on the underside half of this teak panel after lower than two months of exterior publicity. Excess teak oil needs to be wiped off, so there is no such thing as a construct. For UV absorbers to be efficient towards daylight, there needs to be a construct of end, as occurs with many coats of marine varnish.

What’s the Solution?

Tung oil. Clearly, the dried puddles of those two finishes are very totally different, but each are labeled “tung oil.” This labeling has prompted nice confusion for a few years. The end on the high is definitely thinned varnish (“wiping varnish”). It has nothing to do with tung oil (proven at backside).

Unfortunately, I don’t suppose there’s a simple resolution. Many individuals move on details about finishes, together with retailer clerks and lots of who write about ending who’ve by no means actually carried out a lot of it. These individuals usually don’t have the expertise to contradict what they hear from others or learn within the literature.

I can let you know from my very own expertise that it took me a very long time to really feel safe sufficient contradicting what I used to be listening to to really say or write that it was unsuitable. When everybody else is saying the identical factor, the inclination is to suppose that your individual expertise is mendacity to you, by some means. Sometimes, I simply put one thing “out there” to see if I received any push again.

For instance, I believe each producer of wooden conditioner says to use the stain inside two hours. It took me a decade of figuring out this didn’t work, as a result of the wooden nonetheless blotched once I adopted the directions, to lastly notice that the reason was drying time. My “washcoats” utilizing thinned lacquer labored nicely shortly as a result of lacquer dries a lot sooner. Varnish-based wooden conditioner simply requires for much longer to dry.

It additionally took me a very long time to contradict the prevailing declare that shellac is one of the best sealer. I lastly received the braveness to say this could’t be true after I realized that no massive cupboard store or furnishings producer makes use of shellac in any respect. (I ought to be cautious saying “none” as a result of there is likely to be an exception someplace.)

Maybe most tough of all was determining what tung oil was all about. Everyone knew there have been variations. All types of makes an attempt had been made to account for these: “resin fortified,” “modified,” “processed,” and so on. Finally, a chemist buddy instructed that I see what occurs once I let puddles of assorted manufacturers dry on glass, and he examined the manufacturers to see what was in them. Then it was clear. Many of the manufacturers aren’t tung oil in any respect. They are varnish thinned with paint thinner. They’re simply falsely labeled.

When merchandise are labeled accurately with good directions for utilizing them, and the what, why and the way mythologies are cleared up, ending gained’t be tough in any respect. The half-right rule will disappear.


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