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  • #549235
    Mark68
    Participant

    I’m looking for a finish for my sawhorses and was looking at boiled linseed oil. Would you recommend this or is there something better? I’ve heard of Shellac and Danish but these are just sawhorses so I’m more concerned with preserving the wood than making it look nice.

    "Sawdust? I think you'll find that's man-glitter."

    #549237
    harry wheeler
    Participant

    Hi Mark. Wood itself doesn’t really need anything as a preservative assuming you aren’t going to leave it out in the weather. Be careful with that anyway – your plywood may not be exterior grade and even if it is it won’t hold up too well if it’s exposed to the weather for long periods unless it’s well sealed. BLO, Tung oil, Danish oil, or Shellac would all be fine as would polyurethane or any type of paint if you wanted to go that direction. My preference is either BLO or Tung oil for my benches and that sort of equipment. Both those finishes are fairly durable, very easy to apply and you can reapply them whenever you like. Just a couple of coats is enough. You don’t want to make your sawhorses slippery so go easy with the finish on the top surface of the bearing rail.

    Harry

    #549238
    btyreman
    Participant

    yes BLO will be fine for it, the ideal finish.

    #549239
    Mark68
    Participant

    Thanks again for the advice Harry – much appreciated

    "Sawdust? I think you'll find that's man-glitter."

    #549240
    Mark68
    Participant

    yes BLO will be fine for it, the ideal finish.

    Cool. I think I’ll try Shellac for the more refined projects like tables and stuff.

    "Sawdust? I think you'll find that's man-glitter."

    #549242
    Mark68
    Participant

    Never bought or used the product before, but it’s supposed to be quite flammable. One website was saying it should never be stored away in plastic containers, only the metal container it comes in. Yet the following site sells it in a plastic bottle.

    http://www.wood-finishes-direct.com/product/barrettine-boiled-linseed-oil

    That seems a good price though.

    It also said to dry any rags by laying them flat in a well-ventilated location (else a lack of oxygen can cause them to combust).

    "Sawdust? I think you'll find that's man-glitter."

    #549243
    harry wheeler
    Participant

    All the BLO I have in my shop came in a plastic bottle so I don’t know what’s up with that. In its fluid form, BLO is not much different than cooking oil or mineral oil from a standpoint of flammability. But rags soaked in it and piled up can spontaneously combust. Some people will tell you to take the rags and put them in a metal container filled with water, but I’ve never done that. I just lay the rags out flat on the concrete floor like you mentioned until they’re dry and I’ve never had any problem.

    Harry

    #549412
    Mark68
    Participant

    Can I use brushes with BLO or is it recommended to just use rags?

    Will any rag do are are some better than others?

    "Sawdust? I think you'll find that's man-glitter."

    #549417
    harry wheeler
    Participant

    I’ve smeared that stuff on with paper towels, brushes, foam applicators, old tee-shirts – pretty much anything handy and I can’t tell much difference. Some kind of applicator is good for getting in the corners though. Just a throw away foam brush works fine. I usually keep a sack full of those things around just because I hate cleaning up bristle brushes.

    Harry

    #549418
    Mark68
    Participant

    Thank you for the advice Harry

    "Sawdust? I think you'll find that's man-glitter."

    #549419
    Ed
    Participant

    I’m going to be the squeaky wheel here just to give a different perspective. I’ve invested a fair bit of effort learning finishing from a professional finisher that’s done this stuff as a career for many years. The first thing he taught me is to not waste my time on BLO. With one exception, it has no good properties. It takes too long to dry. It builds slowly. It can lead to adhesion issues. The list goes on. The one place where it can be useful is as the very bottom most layer in a finishing schedule where it is used to give depth and chatoyance to the finish. So, it goes onto naked or dyed wood and then a barrier coat of shellac goes on. But, even here, you must face the long dry times and there are modern oils you can use that do the exact same thing (visually), but will be dry overnight or sooner.

    If you are in the US and want alternatives, look into several things. For oils, I’ve had good look with Waterlox original and General Finishes Arm R Seal. Waterlox will have a medium to semi-gloss sheen. It’s challenge is that it really, really likes to run, so you must wipe quite a few thing coats. They offer a satin top coat, but I’ve been discouraged by what I’ve read and so have not tried the satin on furniture. The Arm R Seal has given me my most durable table tops, but in a recent project I had unsolvable problems with it that led me tos and it off. I don’t know if it was me or if Arm R Seal has changed. For water born options, I’ve done a number of projects with General Finishes products. I use their dye stains to get color. Ignore the name…they are close to pure dyes and do not have enough binder to be called a stain. So, you can apply as many coats as you like and get darker and darker (a curse and a blessing). Their stains are good too, but I just like to work with dyes. For topcoats, their High Performance product works well. I’ve brushed it and sprayed it. I just had my first problem with it last weekend, but right now think it is me, not it. One thing to be aware of is that, if you use water based dye, then the water based top coat will lift it when you try to brush the topcoat. The general plan of attack, then, if you cannot spray, is to put on the dye (it’s not that simple), let it dry overnight, and then wipe on a coat of gloss Arm R Seal. The Arm R Seal is an oil, so it will not lift the water based dye. Feed the stuff on until it isn’t absorbing any more and then wipe off the excess. Let it dry *72 hours* and the build your top coats with the High Performance water borne finish. If you want to keep going with the oil, you don’t need to wait the 72 hours, but you must deal with the properties of oils. You could use Waterlox instead of the Arm R Seal. For both the Arm R Seal and Waterlox, buy a bottle of Bloxygen or you’ll throw away most of your can of finish and buy the minimum size can that you need.

    All finishing oils are like BLO in the sense of being combustion and self-combustion hazards. There’s no free lunch there.

    Sorry for the monolithic paragraph. Have to get started with my work day and don’t have time to edit. Bottom line- If you talk to professional finishers, you’ll find BLO has very limited attractiveness to them, but it is like Magic Super Juice on the internet. This is when a bunch of people will jump in and say I’m nuts. That’s fine. For me, I can do more, better, faster using other materials in my shop. Traditional joinery is brilliant, timeless, and will have utility until the end of time, but chemistry has moved on since the 1600’s.

    #549422
    Ed
    Participant

    I need to clarify one thing. With the General Finishes products (and many others) it is okay to alternate oil and water based products, but they coatings must be absolutely dry between the transitions. So, while you might recoat the water borne with water borne after 2 to 4 hours, you must wait overnight if going from water to oil. Similarly, with oils, although you can recoat in a shorter time, maybe 8 hours, the oil must be really, really dry before putting water born on top. For GF Arm R Seal, that’s 72 hours per the manufacturer. Learning to use the two together can be helpful because you can establish barriers in the finish and those barriers allow you to do things that would be impossible otherwise.

    #549424
    Mark68
    Participant

    Thank you for the info Ed.

    I’ve just spent £10 on a 2L bottle of BLO so I’m going to have to persevere with it for the time being.

    "Sawdust? I think you'll find that's man-glitter."

    #550504
    Brian A
    Participant

    I think linseed is fine to give some moderate stain/water protection to sawhorses, but you may get tired of the yellow color after a bit. The surfaces will be semi-protected but not water/stain-proof, for which you could add a topcoat after it dries. It is easy to apply and most formulations don’t produce toxic fumes, the latter being a feature I’ve not yet found (but may exist?) in the better finishes.

    .

    #550505
    Mark68
    Participant

    The BLO I have used is ok at best. It still feels ever so slightly tacky even after six weeks. I only applied the one coat too.

    How do Shellac and Danish differ, I assume they are better than BLO?

    "Sawdust? I think you'll find that's man-glitter."

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