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Thread: table top finish

  1. #1
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    table top finish

    I'm about to start making a small table that is going to live in the bedroom. It's primary purpose will be to serve as a desk (and, in fact, it may grow up to be a desk someday) for my laptop computer while my mother-in-law is here for a semi-extended stay. She's going to be probably alternating between living with us and my wife's sister's family a couple hours away until the waiting list ends at some sort of senior living facility (I think it's more like an apt. with extra accessibility features than a nursing home - I'm limiting my question to when is she here and for how long at this point). Anyhow, my wife wants me to have a place to retreat to, so that is the main purpose of the table.

    Wow, I'm getting long winded here.

    Anyhow, my finish of choice is Bush Oil, which is a one third each blend of BLO, tung oil and urethane. Will this hold up well to the heat of extended laptop use and sweating beverages?

    The top is going to be Merlau walnut - I'm sure everyone here knows that this is one of the fancier, more select kinds of walnut that one can find.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    If you are worried, you can throw a few coats of lacquer or poly over the oil. This would add the protection needed.

  3. #3
    I had, (gave it to my son) a 100+ year old Oak Round table with that finish, When you cleared the table after dinner, there would be circles where the glasses swetted. But by the time you cleaned everything the rings were gone. I loved the finish, after we got used to the ghosts rings.

    BTW Dare not put Lacquer over the oil. Never put a solvent based finish over oil, as the oil needs to "breath" solvent finishes doesn't breath so .... Failure will insue. There re those that say but I always.... Blah Blah Blah. but Chemestry and science will prevail.

    If you like the color the BLO and Poly provides then you can top off with Poly if you don't want to play the circle game.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Simpson View Post
    ...BTW Dare not put Lacquer over the oil. Never put a solvent based finish over oil, as the oil needs to "breath" solvent finishes doesn't breath so .... Failure will insue. There re those that say but I always.... Blah Blah Blah. but Chemestry and science will prevail...
    How do finishes like Antique Oil do it? It's an oil, presumably BLO, mixed with a solvent-based finish (varnish) and thinners (solvent). Pretty similar to the homebrew Mark's using.

    Granted, I don't have as many years of experience pushing wood as you do, but I've yet to see a failure putting a solvent-based membrane finish over a cured oil finish. Plus, there are a number of oil and solvent-based finish blends, too.
    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

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn McMillan View Post
    How do finishes like Antique Oil do it? It's an oil, presumably BLO, mixed with a solvent-based finish (varnish) and thinners (solvent). Pretty similar to the homebrew Mark's using.

    Granted, I don't have as many years of experience pushing wood as you do, but I've yet to see a failure putting a solvent-based membrane finish over a cured oil finish. Plus, there are a number of oil and solvent-based finish blends, too.
    I'm using a commercial product that seems to be limited to the Greater Albany, NY region.

    Here's a link to the page from the supplier I bought my first quart from: http://www.lakeshorehardwoods.com/untitled1.html

  6. #6
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    Ah, I see...you're using real Bush Oil. My mistake. My questions to Bill still stand. I really am curious how the oil/varnish products work.
    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

  7. #7
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    It's ok, Vaughn - I've just gotten too many questions here about what Bush Oil is that I've started tossing out the approximate mix whenever I talk about it.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn McMillan View Post
    How do finishes like Antique Oil do it? It's an oil, presumably BLO, mixed with a solvent-based finish (varnish) and thinners (solvent). Pretty similar to the homebrew Mark's using.

    Granted, I don't have as many years of experience pushing wood as you do, but I've yet to see a failure putting a solvent-based membrane finish over a cured oil finish. Plus, there are a number of oil and solvent-based finish blends, too.
    Those are Oil based solvents. the Solvent based finishes such as Shellac and Lacquer are sealing finishes that will not bond to Oil Based finishes and will not allow the "breathing" or off gassing that continues for long periods of time.

    Often appearance is concealing the fact that the Solvent based finishes do not Bond to the Oil based (similar to the lack of bond between unsanded Poly to the next coat, if it is allowed to harden too long), However when Oil is applied over Solvent Based materials, the oil will bond. This is created by the Off-gassing of the Oil (which may last years) and is why shellac and other finishes are often used as sanding sealers, not as top coats.
    Last edited by Bill Simpson; 05-25-2009 at 04:24 PM.

  9. #9
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    I tread lightly here, not going to offer you any advice other than before you put anything over an oil, you gotta really let it dry well.
    Humidity in a shop that isnt controlled, can really delay dry time, just my thoughts, others here have forgotten more than I know about finishing, but thats been my limited experience, alot of drying time before anything else over anything with blo in it.

  10. #10
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    Is your concoction about the same viscosity as Danish Oil? If so, i think it would take a lot of coats to build up a wear resistant surface. On the other hand, i'm always resistant to adding a thick coat of poly or two because it buries the grain under a relatively thick coat of plastic. What i've found works really well is to use two or three coats of the oil/varathane mix to get the uniform oil penetration and preserve the color variations within the wood. Then, for durability, i like a gel varnish or gel urathane. Wipe it on, wait 15 minutes or so, and wipe it off. Let it dry overnight and repeat. The last table i did (black walnut) i used two coats of Danish Oil followed by 5 coats of gel urathane.
    I like oil based products because they are durable, yet very repairable. I don't like lacquer because of how fragile it is. It scratches very easily.
    This is one of those questions that has as many different answers as there are woodworkers. Good luck with it. Post a pic or two of the finished product when you can. We'd love to see it.
    paulh

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