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Thread: Finish for dry bowls

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Austin, Texas
    Posts
    1,448

    Finish for dry bowls

    I have seen several bowls I have given as gifts... and they are no longer pretty. The finish is pocked or even largely gone. These aren't "art" bowls, but ones that might be used for nuts or candy or fruit.

    I have tried HUT friction polish. I have tried shellac. I have tried lacquer (regular and catalyzed). I have tried water base acrylic lacquer. Even though these finishes are fine on flat work, they don't seem to last on bowls that someone else uses (out of my control).

    What finish do you recommend for "gift" bowls (that will be used improperly), so that it looks good, and is durable through at least modest abuse?
    Charlie Plesums, Austin Texas
    (Retired early to become a custom furnituremaker)
    Lots of my free advice at www.solowoodworker.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Goodland, Kansas
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    4,834
    Charlie I pretty much found the same thing. What I now use is Minwax Antique Oil about 3 coats. I put on the first coat and after it has soaked for about 10 minutes wipe off the excess. Let dry 24 hrs and put on a second coat doing just like the first. Then a third coat the same way. I buff after a couple of weeks curing. The other finish I like to use and have used it on 3 sets of salad bowls is General Finishes Seal-A-Cell followed by a top coat of Arm-R-Seal. It has held up real well on a cereal bowl I have used now for almost 2 yrs almost everyday. I have tried about everything in 3 yrs. and this is what I found that worked best for me. I e-mailed Ernie Conover and he told me he uses strictly Antique Oil. I use either antique oil or General Finishes on all my big turnings vases, bowls, etc. I use rattle can spray lacquer on most small turnings lidded boxes, ornaments, bells, etc. and that is about all I keep in the shop for finishes. Hope this helps.
    Bernie W.

    Retirement: Thats when you return from work one day
    and say, Hi, Honey, Im home forever.

    To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funnybone.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Remlik, Virginia
    Posts
    88
    A good penetrating oil finish as Bernie suggested is what I do with good results. Another suggestion is to print up some care instructions for each customer. I used to do this on the back of my business cards. I now use card stock. On the front I have my business name plus contact information. On the back I have care instructions. I make them about the size of a postcard.

    People in general are pretty ignorant about wood and how to care for it. Don't forget to include "not dishwasher safe".
    Last edited by Barbara Gill; 12-18-2008 at 12:00 PM.
    Barbara

  4. #4
    I use Wipe-on Poly for my gift bowls (except Salad bowls) and I am sure that none has chipped or worn away. You can go as glossy as you wish or dull down with Pumice & oil the finish soaks intot he wood and becomes imbedded in the surface. I know for a fact that it resists the scratches of long fingernails reaching for pieces of candy or nuts, the grit of salted peanuts doesn't seem to have an effect.

    I use Poly for most all my projects as it is so easy to have success.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    ABQ NM
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    30,020
    For bowls that I figured were going to be used and washed, I've simply used mineral oil, with instructions to the owner to hit it with more oil when it starts looking dry.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
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    I'm doing a small walnut box right now. This particular walnut is very dry and open grained. I put Mylands sanding sealer on and it soaked it up like a sponge. Had to put much more on to get a good surface hardness and let dry longer than normal. Today, I'll see if I can sand to a decent finish. Depends on the wood. Oil would be a disaster on this 'un.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
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    Finish for dry bowls

    Frank,I was wondering why oil would not be a good finish.I turn a lot of dry walnut and all I do is soak it in oil then let it dry a few days,then maybe put on another coat let it set aside for about a week or so,then use the beal buff on it,finish with carnuba wax and I get a great shine.Depending on how high of a gloss I want as to how fine I go in sanding.Usually about 800 then I'm done.

  8. #8
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    Nov 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Ward View Post
    Frank,I was wondering why oil would not be a good finish.I turn a lot of dry walnut and all I do is soak it in oil then let it dry a few days,then maybe put on another coat let it set aside for about a week or so,then use the beal buff on it,finish with carnuba wax and I get a great shine.Depending on how high of a gloss I want as to how fine I go in sanding.Usually about 800 then I'm done.
    Probably just ole impatient me. "Days?" I want it done now. Overnight is aggravating for me.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
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    Tampa & NC
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    432

    Finish for dry bowls

    Kinda figured that,know the feeling

  10. #10

    Wink Polyurthane { could be your answer }

    Charlie : I also have or had made some bowls in the past and I used high gloss spray Polyurathane and they are still looking great .The way I understand it Charlie is that theirs a certain test that the experts did and I can't prove it , They said that poly is the best in protection for wood projects in the long run . And ever since then this is about all I use when I can ..........This is my two cents ........ Marshall

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