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Thread: PL-Buffing Questions & Vaughns Comment

  1. #1
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    PL-Buffing Questions & Vaughns Comment

    I was reading the threads and noticed Vaughns comment on Don Pencil's PL buffing compound (copy below).
    "buffed with Don Pencil's new "PL" compound, then Renaissance Wax. The PL compound it pretty cool. It's marketed for poly and lacquer finishes, and you use it on a relatively slow (700 to 800 rpm) heavily-charged flannel wheel. Based on the way it behaves, it's like an extra-fine tripoli compound, but more abrasive than white diamond. You can get pretty heavy-handed with it without burning through the finish. Don told me that it can be used instead of tripoli and white diamond, so that's what I did on this piece. (However, I used the PL compound then white diamond on the eyeshadow bowl, and it did shine up even more.)"

    I also have the PL system and have used it the following way:
    1 - Oil soaked some mesquite and pine bowls in Linseed/Mineral/Varnish mixture for 5 days (sanding lightly with wet/dry and letting it dry for 8hrs or so between soaks). Then out and let dry for a week or more in open air. Lightly sanded with 600grit to make smooth and 4-5 coats of Gloss Laquer. Then used his PL and buffed according to Don's directions.
    The Pine bowl turned out very smooth but the finish didnt seem to change much. I am going to try the Renaissance Wax in the future because I didnt see a dramatic difference in the buffing with it.....Thoughts ??

    2- The larger mesquite bowl i did the same except this time I hand rubbed in a couple coats of DO on it. Then i just buffed really well with Tripoli. Then i went to the WD and Carnuba and finished it up.
    It turned out smooth and nice to touch but the look is satin at best and dull in color (no matter how much i buffed it).
    I may take the finish back off with mineral or laquer thinner and apply laquer as i am not really that happy with the dull looking finish but so it goes........pictures later when in can...........anyone else thoughts???

    Comments: Yes you can charge the wheel good with the PL and you can use it heavy handed as Vaughn mentioned. I read comments on another forum where it was supposed to put a incredible shine to your work when using the PL. I have not noticed that much of a difference in the buffing with it but then again i have only tried it on this one turning. It was also mentioned that you should put on 5-6 coats of Laquer (which i did) before using the PL.
    I am not passing judgement and i own the other buffing set up from Don also. I am just stating my experience from the first turning i have tried it on.
    I suppose it is one way to buff Laquer and poly as the traditional way with tripoli or WD would cut and ruin the finishes for sure. Hopefully thoughts on this will improve my perception.....................Thanks Dan

  2. #2
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    Dan, I've added my comments in-line...

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Mosley View Post
    I also have the PL system and have used it the following way:
    1 - Oil soaked some mesquite and pine bowls in Linseed/Mineral/Varnish mixture for 5 days (sanding lightly with wet/dry and letting it dry for 8hrs or so between soaks). Then out and let dry for a week or more in open air. Lightly sanded with 600grit to make smooth and 4-5 coats of Gloss Laquer. Then used his PL and buffed according to Don's directions.
    The Pine bowl turned out very smooth but the finish didnt seem to change much. I am going to try the Renaissance Wax in the future because I didnt see a dramatic difference in the buffing with it.....Thoughts ??

    I don't think the Renaissance Wax will change things much. When you say the finish didn't seem to change much, I'm guessing you mean it didn't get glossier. Is that correct? Is there any "orangepeel" texture to the lacquer finish? The buffing should be able to remove it, although I found that wet sanding the lacquer with 600 grit first made things go much faster.

    2- The larger mesquite bowl i did the same except this time I hand rubbed in a couple coats of DO on it. Then i just buffed really well with Tripoli. Then i went to the WD and Carnuba and finished it up.
    It turned out smooth and nice to touch but the look is satin at best and dull in color (no matter how much i buffed it).
    I may take the finish back off with mineral or laquer thinner and apply laquer as i am not really that happy with the dull looking finish but so it goes........pictures later when in can...........anyone else thoughts???

    No experience here with Danish Oil. I'm guessing that you needed more coats to get a high gloss, but I also think lacquer will get you there faster.


    Comments: Yes you can charge the wheel good with the PL and you can use it heavy handed as Vaughn mentioned. I read comments on another forum where it was supposed to put a incredible shine to your work when using the PL.

    The one review I saw elsewhere was by a guy who admitted he hadn't used a 3-wheel buffing system much, so I believe some of his amazement was due to actually buffing his poly finishes instead of just wiping or spraying them on and calling it good.

    I have not noticed that much of a difference in the buffing with it but then again i have only tried it on this one turning. It was also mentioned that you should put on 5-6 coats of Laquer (which i did) before using the PL.
    I am not passing judgement and i own the other buffing set up from Don also. I am just stating my experience from the first turning i have tried it on.
    I suppose it is one way to buff Laquer and poly as the traditional way with tripoli or WD would cut and ruin the finishes for sure.

    The standard 3-wheel routine (tripoli, white diamond, wax) works great on lacquer. You just need to be careful not to go through the finish, especially with the tripoli. (That's where the PL compound seems to have an advantage over the tripoli.) I'm assuming poly would behave in a similar manner.

    I'm still experimenting with the PL compound myself, but so far it seems to be more like I said -- a regular compound that's bit less aggressive than tripoli -- than a magic elixir of gloss.


    Hopefully thoughts on this will improve my perception.....................Thanks Dan
    Question...you mentioned your Linseed/Mineral/Varnish mixture. I'm assuming "Mineral" is mineral spirits, not mineral oil. Is that correct?
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

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  3. #3
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    Talking Vaughn and questions

    Vaughn: - I don't think the Renaissance Wax will change things much. When you say the finish didn't seem to change much, I'm guessing you mean it didn't get glossier. Is that correct? Is there any "orangepeel" texture to the lacquer finish? The buffing should be able to remove it, although I found that wet sanding the lacquer with 600 grit first made things go much faster.
    *** I didnt notice any orange peel and both were soaked for 5-7 days as i mentioned before applying the laquer - I used gloss on the one and the other i just buffed.

    Vaughn: - Question...you mentioned your Linseed/Mineral/Varnish mixture. I'm assuming "Mineral" is mineral spirits, not mineral oil. Is that correct?
    *** In a 5 gal bucket i put 1 gal of mineral spirits - 1 gallon of boiled linseed oil - 1 quart of varnish. This is what i use to submerge the turned pc's in. I have found that it works well on green turned to finish pc's and does not warp or crack if i soak and sand well for a period of time. It does add depth of color into the wood and will dry to a dull finish. At that point i go one of many routes :

    1). 2-3 coats of DO then dry well then buff
    2). Dry out out well then Laquer spray several coats or more until im happy with what it looks like and buff lightly with WD and Carnuba
    3). Same as #2 but i use 600 or OOO0 steel wool between coats and leave the last coat alone and call it done or buff it.

    I have to be real careful about WD and poly or laquer finish as i think it is very easy to glide thru the finish - sometimes i just hand steel wool it on the lathe and Carnuba buff..............I am always experimenting with the way i finish the projects as i suppose im searching for that outstanding finish we all are trying to get.

    Picture 1 - soaked and not buffed at that point
    picture 2 - soaked and several coats of gloss laquer not buffed with PL at that point
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Large-1 (600 x 450).jpg   Large-6 Finish (600 x 450).jpg  
    Last edited by Dan Mosley; 07-03-2009 at 04:19 AM.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Mosley View Post
    Vaughn: - I don't think the Renaissance Wax will change things much. When you say the finish didn't seem to change much, I'm guessing you mean it didn't get glossier. Is that correct? Is there any "orangepeel" texture to the lacquer finish? The buffing should be able to remove it, although I found that wet sanding the lacquer with 600 grit first made things go much faster.
    *** I didnt notice any orange peel and both were soaked for 5-7 days as i mentioned before applying the laquer - I used gloss on the one and the other i just buffed.
    I suspect we may be thinking of different definitions for "orangepeel". Here's a fairly extreme picture of what I'm talking about:

    http://www.finishwiz.com/orangepeel.htm

    Often, spray-can lacquer will leave a bit of orangepeel texture, but not nearly as bad as that picture shows. You can remove it several different ways, but each method involves removing the bumps in the lacquer while avoiding removing too much of it. In rough order of abrasiveness, you have:

    Dry sanding
    Wet sanding (actually, the same abrasiveness as dry, but easier for me to control)
    Tripoli compound
    PL compound, which I suspect is an intermediate tripoli (at least that's my perception after using it only a little bit)
    White diamond compound

    Here's a pretty good breakdown I found of the various compounds:

    http://www.sydneywoodturners.com.au/.../buffing2.html

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Mosley View Post
    I have to be real careful about WD and poly or laquer finish as i think it is very easy to glide thru the finish - sometimes i just hand steel wool it on the lathe and Carnuba buff..............I am always experimenting with the way i finish the projects as i suppose im searching for that outstanding finish we all are trying to get.
    If you're burning through poly or lacquer with white diamond, I suspect you might be running your buffing wheels a bit fast or using too much pressure, causing excessive heat. I know when I slowed my speeds down to 800 to 1000 rpm, I stopped melting as many finishes.

    Also, I don't have any experience with the oil soak like you're using, but I can't help but wonder if the linseed oil is not getting a good chance to fully cure. It can take weeks with normal application, so I wonder if the soaking process is stretching out the cure time even longer. Especially when you then cover it with Danish Oil.

    There are some knowledgeable folks with lots of experience like Bill Simpson who've told me applying lacquer or poly over oil will eventually fail. So far, I've not had a problem using film finishes over Minwax Antique Oil or Formby's Tung Oil Finish, but I have no idea how much actual oil either of these wipe-on varnish products have. Keep in mind my oldest lacquered pieces are maybe three years old at the most, so it's not like they've withstood the test of time yet. (Wouldn't be the first lesson I've learned the hard way.)

    Like you, I've done a lot of playing around with finishing experiments, but from what I've seen, the KISS principle seems to really apply. The more basic I keep the finishing routine, the better and more consistent (and predictable) my finishes have become.
    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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    I agree and am going to try to buff slower on the next bowl/project - I have been maybe going to fast i usually use a speed of 1000-1100 and a lighter pressure but im just going back and forth several times over the same area - overlapping.

    I am also going to try letting the bowls dry longer as you suggested. I have been letting them dry for one week or so. I thought this would be enough living here in the desert area with hot temps but i could be wrong so drying longer could help. The DO may be slowing down the drying time more as you suggested but it does add a nicer top finish.

    I have some AO and Formby's and I have used them both with good results but the purpose of the oil soak really is to stop the checking and cracking and it seems to work very well. I have not tried to apply the formbys after soaking but it is a idea i would like to try.

    Question: Are you finish turning and applying the oil you mentioned ? or are you roughing/drying/finish turning and then applying it ? Maybe a better way to ask is how are you drying your bowls etc- and applying the AO and Formby's ?????

    Anyway thanks for the tips i will put them to use - Dan

  6. #6
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    Dan I rough turn mine and either dry with the DNA method or I will coat the whole bowl with anchorseal like Mike Mahoney does and let them dry for 90 to 180 days. When these are dried I then return them to the lathe to finish. I then apply my antique oil off the lathe and flood the surface till it won't take anymore. I let this sit for 15 minutes or so then wipe off the excess. I let that dry for 24 hrs and then apply a second coat the same way. Most times I don't go more than 3 coats wait for 2 weeks or more then buff. I am assuming that when you say you soak your bowls to stop them from cracking you are turning them to finish green.
    Bernie W.

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    Like Bernie, I rough turn, DNA soak, dry for a month or so, finish turn, then apply finish off the lathe for 90%+ of my bowls and hollow forms. If the piece is getting AO or TO, I wipe it on as thick as it'll take it, let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes, then wipe off the excess. I'll do two, maybe three coats this way. At that point, if it needs more gloss or evenness in the sheen, I'll hit it with spray lacquer, usually at least 4 light coats, but often twice that many. If I start seeing orangepeel in the finish, I'll typically sand it out once or twice as I build up coats of lacquer.

    The other 10% or so are dry from the start, so I turn to final dimensions and finish. The only things I finish on the lathe are small pieces like potpourri bowls and weed pots that are getting a friction finish like Myland's.

    I also wait at least a week before buffing anything with a lacquer or oil/varnish finish. (I don't think I have Bernie's patience to wait two weeks.)
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

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  8. #8
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    Vaughn if I was doing production type turning I probably would not wait two weeks but for now I am in no hurry. I guess I have learned patiences working on clocks and watches the past 21 yrs. I don't work on watches anymore. To small for these old eyes.
    Bernie W.

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    and say, Hi, Honey, Im home forever.

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

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    Bernie..........Yep your right......I will finish turn and sand to 320 or so and submerge the turning. With some ill pull it out after a couple days and wet sand it with the same oil soak and let dry for 8hrs or so and then resubmerge and repeat the sanding over 5-7 days.....see above for how i finish them in the end........
    Hard to answer because like i said i may change or experiment with the process for the heck of it to learn other ways of finishing. However, i am going to try some of the suggestions Vaughn mentioned to see if i can improve on my buffing opinion......PL included - have only tried it once or twice so need more practice with it......and at the lower speeds 700-800.....Vaughn is right as i do get some orange peel but again ill keep playing with it.
    Last edited by Dan Mosley; 07-04-2009 at 04:53 AM.

  10. #10
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    I figured that what was happening. I haven't had any luck at all with soaking for days. I just can't get the shine like people want or that I am satisfied with. I couldn't buff enough shine. Every once in a while I get one that wants a satin finish Then I might soak. So now unless I turn a very thin walled bowl down to a 1/4" or a little less I don't soak. I really don't have any idea how to get a better shine except to spray it with gloss lacquer or poly.
    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.

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