I was wondering if I could get some advise on finishing a project i am working on?
I have designed and made a miniature toe pincher coffin. It is made out of Ambrosia/Wormy Maple and Padauk. The maple is my primary wood and the padauk is used for decorative molding and trim pieces throughout the coffin. The coffin is ~9in long ~5in wide and ~4 1/2in high.
I hadn’t worked with Wormy Maple before so i took scraps and tested out a lot of different finishes like Danish Oil, Tung Oil, Wipe on Poly, exc. In the end i liked how the tung oil finish came out and decided to go with that.
I sanded the entire piece down with 220 sand paper, wiped on a liberal coat of the tung oil, then waited about 5 min and wiped off the excess. After letting is set for a day i sanded it down with 320 grit sand paper and repeated the process. I have applied 3 coats so far. Unfortunately i did not do a sample with the padauk to see how it would turn out or give me some expectation of what to expect.
I like how the finish is coming out on the padauk, but the maple is absorbing more of the tung oil then the padauk. Its not drastic but right now the padauk looks and feels finished but the maple could take another coat. The difference right now is not that noticeable but i am afraid that if i apply another coat it will become noticeable.
I am wondering if their is a way to even the two woods out? Or how i should have handled it from the start?
Hello Michael, Sometimes people prefer the deepening you get with oil finishes because they initially penetrate the wood and that’s the ‘in-depth’ look you get. Subsequent coats ‘thicken’ that depth and can be disappointing because it ends up darker. Always remember that shellac is a must have finish used in wood finishing and especially when combined with other finishes. Shellac is a good secondary finish that is compatible with just about any and all finishes. It’s main advantage is that it can be used before or in between almost all of the finishes regardless of whether this is oil or water-based. It is best to get flakes and make your own unless this is just a one-off and you won’t be using the shellac very quickly. In that case, buy a proprietary brand ready mixed and ready to go. The important thing is to get bleached or blond shellac to avoid colour if that is an issue and also use dewaxed shellac, which means most of the wax, 99%, is usually removed. the wax can be a negative barrier in that it prevents subsequent coats from adhering. Shellac is one of the best sealer coats there is. it’s inexpensive and you can seal woods such as pine and cherry, two woods typically known for blotching, to prevent uneven absorption and even even out colour if dyes and stains are used.
Thank you for the quick response. I didn’t think about using a bleached shellac as my final finishing coat. I was planing on using a past wax for the final finish.
This coffin is a one off piece that is more like a jewelry box than anything else. I am trying to use the padauk for two different reasons. The first is to give a contrast to the wormy maple and the second is to try and color match the lining inside of the coffin.
Maybe i didn’t explain the problem in the right way. I understand what you are saying about the oil deepening the wood and each additional coat will deepen the wood further. When I did the sample on the wormy maple the 4th coat is where i liked the depth/color. Unfortunately I did not do a sample with the padauk and the third coat is where i would like to stop with it.
Padauk in raw wood is orange and when the tung oil is applied it changes to a deep red and each coat brings it closer to maroon. It will also deepen that red color over time. If i am not mistaken the final color of the padauk will depend on how dark/deep i make it now.
I would like to add another coat of tun oil to the wormy maple to get the look i am going for but if i do it will change the color of the padauk. Ii am wondering if i could deepen the wormy maple without deepening the padauk?
Could you seal the padauk with shellac and then add another layer of tung oil? Maybe even protect the wormy maple from the shellac with painters tape? I am thinking of the wax free SealCoat shellac from Zinsser.
if i could deepen the wormy maple without deepening the padauk?
Robin ... Richmond, Virginia, USA
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