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Thread: Finishing New Cherry Spinning Wheel

  1. #1

    Finishing New Cherry Spinning Wheel

    Greetings All:

    I have been told that you are the women and men who will sort out the best path forward for me. I am the happy new owner of a handmade spinning wheel made by one of the best craftsmen around for working, and not simply decorative, wheels (Gord Lendrum in Kingston ON) Once finished it will be in very regular use.

    I know nothing about wood finishing but after a fair bit of reading know that I want to finish it with tung oil and maybe, or maybe not, finish it off with carnuba wax. I would like a soft sheen to the finished product and not a gloss. I'm also happy if the wood goes darker over time.

    I have a few questions - and there must be questions that I need to have answers for that I haven't even thought of. I'd be very gratful for your help.

    The questions that I know....

    If I am using multiple coats of tung oil, how many coats should there be and with what ratios of tung oil / solvent (I pure oil and some orange solvent)?

    What prep to I need to do to the wood before I begin?

    Between coats of finish, how long to wait, and what prep before I apply a second coat? Somewhere else I read that I would need to sand, then use a 3M finishing pad and finally use 0000 steel wool. I'm ok to do this if necessary but I'm not clear how to sand the detail and small amount of ornamentation on this wheel.

    And the wax....helpful, unhelpful? How will it change the look, feel, and what about retouching on the treadles over time?

    And the ton of questions that I don't even know yet. ......

    Thanks so much for any help that you can provide. This wheel is a keeper - I want to do it right.

    Phil

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Thomasville, GA
    Posts
    5,992
    First things first. Welcome to our Family, Phil!

    As to a finish schedule for your spinning wheel, you'll probably get many answers with all of them being correct due to individual preferences.

    My preference for cherry is to start with an oil rub much as you describe. On much of the cherry furniture I've made, I start with a 1/1 mix of boiled linseed oil and naptha; in recent years, I've shifted to pure tung oil and naphtha since I'm doing smaller projects. I wait a couple of days between coats of oil mixture, flooding the surfaces with it, then wiping it completely clean, giving time for the oil to seep back out of the pores of the wood. A simple, protective top coat for an item like you have is rub-on polyurethane. When I have used that approach, I actually blend poly, oil and naphtha in a 2/1/1 ratio which is essentially a Danish oil. Apply 2-3 coats (or more) until you get the finish you want.
    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
    NRA Life Member and Member of Mensa
    My Weather Underground station

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    East Freeetown, Massachusetts
    Posts
    3,017
    Phil, Welcome to the forum.

    I have only done a few oil finishes. Most of my stuff has been Shellac, Lacquer or Poly. I have tried a few oils but the one I like best is Bush's oil finish. It's easy to use and gives a fantastic finish.

    Like Bill said, they will all be correct, and to the individual's preference.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    The Gorge Area, Oregon
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    4,698
    Hey Phil, that's a nice wheel . Loml has a cherry
    Lebdrum and out of the (I'm not counting because that's how we get in trouble) wheels it's her favorite.

    If you're going with the tung oil, put the first coat on a bit lean (say 6 parts orange to 4 parts tung or perhaps even thinner) and then go a bit more oil for the subsequent coats. Take your time between coats and put them on as thin as you can. The tung oil cures by oxygen reaction so putting it on thick makes it gummy cause it can't cure all the way through. Let it sit plenty between coats, letting each one fully cure before the next one helps a fair bit at preventing the gummy problem if in doubt give it a few more days longer won't hurt. You may need to lightly sand after the first one or two coats, use fairly find paper, around 320 or 400 should do the trick. By lightly I mean real lightly, just enough to cut back the fuzz but not enough to remove any of the wood. For the final cost the easiest way to get it nice and smooth is crumple up some brown paper bag and rub it out. The bag paper is just rough enough to knock off any dust nibs tapped on the surface. Make sure it's plumb cured before doing that though, several weeks won't hurt.

    Like bill said a poly top coat works fairly well, again thinner coats are better. In general if there is any real surface moisture it's too thick so wipe it back off.


    The treadle will wear, but spin in your socks and its takes a loooong time to make any noticeable impact on it. It's better to spin in your socks anyway because you get better feedback from the wheel. I wouldn't worry about that.

    IMHO in this case you can skip the wax. It will make the wheel smoother, whether that's desirable or not in this case is debatable. On our old Canadian production wheel I restored I did do just a wax coat over the remnants on the original finish and its dandy but I'm not sure it really buys you much on a new finished wheel.

    I would skip the steel wool, I used to use it but IMHO just fine sandpaper works better (and steel wool has some downsides in that it rusts and can leave little bits of steel to stick in things later). I wouldn't sand the wheel much unless it's rough except to cut back any raised grain from the first coat or two. If it is rough. I would gently sand with the grain just until smooth, from what I've seen of lendrum wheels it should be pretty good, maybe a little 220 and 320 grit touch up is likely all it needs.

    Good luck and enjoy your new wheel.

  5. #5
    Thanks for these helpful responses guys. I wakened this AM at 4:30 ready to go at the wheel. I small accident a month ago left me a little banged up with a couple of casts and three days later the wheel arrived. Staring at it sitting in the box was not my idea of a good time. Hand cast now off and I am considering the finishing as part of the rehab :-) Ryan I am thinking that Lomi's favourite would also be the Lendrum Saxony. I also have Gord Lendrums standard ( more like a castle style) which spins more like a sports car as opposed to the luxury flow of the Saxony. You're a good man Ryan...... never great to count the herd or measure the stash :-)

    Thanks again. Off to prep

    p

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    276
    Hope I'm not too late ... but if you've never applied tung oil (or is it PTO) before, you might consider finishing a piece of scrap first.

  7. #7
    Taking my time and appreciating your suggestion. I have worked with tung oil before but never diluted with a solvent like this and never on an article that I have waited years to own. A little light sanding today

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    The Gorge Area, Oregon
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    4,698
    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Joudrey View Post
    Ryan I am thinking that Lomi's favourite would also be the Lendrum Saxony. I also have Gord Lendrums standard ( more like a castle style) which spins more like a sports car as opposed to the luxury flow of the Saxony. You're a good man Ryan...... never great to count the herd or measure the stash :-)
    She only has the Lendrum Original, but runs it double drive mostly.. and yeah at double drive its definitely a sports car The old CPW is built more like a Buick but spins like a sportster - she can only run it when she's been spinning for a while, its somewhere around twice as fast as the Lendrum on the smallest whorl. We don't have a Saxony of any sort (yet), its probably on the "hey Ryan you should try making one of these" list (perhaps after I get done with an portable wheel design I've been thinking of.. or maybe before.. a saxony would be less daunting in some ways - I've never made a wheel before so it looks all complicated still I do have several books though ).

    I can't really get into talking about the spinning wheels because then she'll get into talking about the hand planes and we can't have that

  9. #9

    Blotchy!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan Mooney View Post
    Hey Phil, that's a nice wheel . Loml has a cherry
    Lebdrum and out of the (I'm not counting because that's how we get in trouble) wheels it's her favorite.

    If you're going with the tung oil, put the first coat on a bit lean (say 6 parts orange to 4 parts tung or perhaps even thinner) and then go a bit more oil for the subsequent coats. Take your time between coats and put them on as thin as you can. The tung oil cures by oxygen reaction so putting it on thick makes it gummy cause it can't cure all the way through. Let it sit plenty between coats, letting each one fully cure before the next one helps a fair bit at preventing the gummy problem if in doubt give it a few more days longer won't hurt. You may need to lightly sand after the first one or two coats, use fairly find paper, around 320 or 400 should do the trick. By lightly I mean real lightly, just enough to cut back the fuzz but not enough to remove any of the wood. For the final cost the easiest way to get it nice and smooth is crumple up some brown paper bag and rub it out. The bag paper is just rough enough to knock off any dust nibs tapped on the surface. Make sure it's plumb cured before doing that though, several weeks won't hurt.

    Like bill said a poly top coat works fairly well, again thinner coats are better. In general if there is any real surface moisture it's too thick so wipe it back off.


    The treadle will wear, but spin in your socks and its takes a loooong time to make any noticeable impact on it. It's better to spin in your socks anyway because you get better feedback from the wheel. I wouldn't worry about that.

    IMHO in this case you can skip the wax. It will make the wheel smoother, whether that's desirable or not in this case is debatable. On our old Canadian production wheel I restored I did do just a wax coat over the remnants on the original finish and its dandy but I'm not sure it really buys you much on a new finished wheel.

    I would skip the steel wool, I used to use it but IMHO just fine sandpaper works better (and steel wool has some downsides in that it rusts and can leave little bits of steel to stick in things later). I wouldn't sand the wheel much unless it's rough except to cut back any raised grain from the first coat or two. If it is rough. I would gently sand with the grain just until smooth, from what I've seen of lendrum wheels it should be pretty good, maybe a little 220 and 320 grit touch up is likely all it needs.

    Good luck and enjoy your new wheel.
    I have now applied four coats of a tung oil / citrus solvent blend (coats 1 and 2 1:3 coats 3 and 4 1:2) the treadles and one bar have gone blotchy. I was waiting at least 24 hours between each coat (applied - waited 40 minutes - wiped off). I did try an extra coat on the blotchy pieces to see if it would settle things down - Nope. HELP!! Thanks
    Last edited by Phil Joudrey; 01-10-2016 at 04:45 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    The Gorge Area, Oregon
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    4,698
    Hey Phil, first up don't panic

    You didn't say which tung oil product you are using but many/most of them require somewhat more than 24 hours to fully cure (think several days or possibly weeks depending on the product). That's unlikely to help your mottling problem significantly though.

    Two main probable causes of mottling come to mind.

    First and most likely is somewhat uneven absorption of the oil. You can reduce the problem somewhat by selectively hit the lighter spots 220 grit to open them up a bit and then give it another coat. I suspect this won't completely change the character but ought to tone down the differences a bit. Even if that doesn't entirely smooth it out though, don't panic because time is your ally here (more below).

    The second possibility is that they've been unevenly exposed to UV light and the oil is highlighting this. Cherry will continue to darken significantly over time (loml's wheel is stored in a room with only indirect light and ~3~ years in the walnut insert has lightened and the cherry has darkened so they are almost indistinguishable, in more direct light the changes can be dramatic in a few days). This would be mostly evidenced by the darker spots having straighter edges (essentially masking) although if they were exposed to mottled light it can be really hard to pick out. In this case exposure to UV (natural or artificial) will accelerate the natural darkening (but be careful to do it evenly or you'll end up with new dark and light spots).

    Judicious exposure to UV (uneven exposure will lead to light and dark spots) will also smooth out the blotching even if the problem is uneven oil uptake so patience and a gentle sun tan (natural or artificial) can help substantially there as well.

    Personally I would embrace the mottling on the treadle as highlighting the woods figure (some people go to great effort to get that effect - think of it as a bonus, you have figured cherry treadles, I'd personally have paid extra for that!) and focus on evening out the one bar a little (having the bars look different would be a bit annoying) but don't stress excessively and go overboard on it.

    This is a pretty good overview of dealing with cherry:
    http://news.thefinishingstore.com/in...ching-problem/
    they're pretty much in the "embrace, don't panic and wait" camp. I would still probably try to touch up the bar and see if I could even it out just because.

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