How to preserve the wood and the lovely, light color of this table at the same time? - Page 2 - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #21 of 47 Old 03-13-2012, 11:16 PM
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Im with Steve on this one. I have never had much luck with the non- tox stuff. Besides with one volcano eruption we lose 100 years worth of the non- tox savings.

But please understand I don't mean to offend.

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post #22 of 47 Old 03-14-2012, 01:27 PM Thread Starter
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Just to explain why I chose a non-toxic finish: My policy is, when I have to choose b/w something that's potentially harmful to the environment and something that's not, if convenient, I choose the low impact path. In this case, walnut oil was convenient: It is cheap (I've used about $1 worth of oil thus far); it will seal the wood for some period of time; it's fun to use--I don't have to leave my tiny apartment to apply it; it has a nice smell; there will be no toxic can lying around the house for the next decade until I am forced to figure out how to dispose of it--in fact, I can eat the remainder when I'm done...I enjoy "the fruits of the earth", that's why I got interested in wood in the first place.

I'm not going to start a flame war about who did what and who said what. I find flame wars to be of no interest to anyone except the participants and quite boring for everyone else.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Midlandbob View Post
....Walnut oil is not many peoples choice of finish for a side table. A mixture of beeswax and walnut oil is liked by some but mostly I thought for utensils and bowls. I've used it on bowls but it has to be refreshed often and is generally a "dull" finish. Walnut oil does polymerize with oxygen and will provide some protection with minimal yellowing.
Thanks for your comment. If someone had posted with instructions on how to apply beeswax and assurances that it would not darken the wood (or would darken it less), I would've gone that route. But it's nice to be assured walnut oil will eventually polymerize. It's pretty slow to dry. I'd say it took about 48 hours (maybe more) b/f the first areas did not rub off oily.

I'm also glad to hear about walnut oil not yellowing. That's why I wouldn't use linseed oil. (I read somewhere that a version of linseed oil called 'stand oil' does not yellow. But I have not yet seem a confirmation of that elsewhere.) I could've used tung oil and maybe should've used it. We'll see after a few more coats how protective the coating is.

I've applied the walnut oil on about 70% of the surfaces, thus far. Yeah, the finish is so dull, I wouldn't even call it a finish. It basically just looks wet. But it definitely 'pops' the grain, which is nice. One thing I've learned, though: It also heightened the contrast in color b/w the top shelf and the bottom shelf. The bottom shelf was darker b/c I didn't have to sand so deeply into it to get rid of stains. (I will post a picture, if people request one.) If I were to do it over again, I would sand the bottom more deeply to match the color shades.

One thing that I liked a lot about using the oil: Since the table was already assembled, I couldn't reach some end grain surfaces directly. Pouring the oil into the cracks b/w pieces seemed to work pretty well in soaking those inaccessible areas. I'm hoping hitting all the surfaces will stop the splitting that had already started in one or two spots.

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Originally Posted by sgtrunningfool View Post
If you do some research on method used by Amish you will find some all-natural options.
Thanks for the suggestion. If you happen to know of some sites that describe Amish methods, I would definitely love to check them out.

Last edited by dglevy; 03-14-2012 at 01:31 PM.
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post #23 of 47 Old 03-14-2012, 04:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dglevy View Post
i wouldn't paint too broad a brush regarding non-toxic finishes. after all, people have been using linseed oil and tung oil for many centuries, with fine results, not to speak of other natural substances too. they've been superseded by products that have certain advantages but, in my opinion, the new products have one big drawback, as far as i know: they're all toxic and usually bad for the environment too.

but back to my little problem. i haven't been able to get specfics from anyone here or in web searches about the technique for hand rubbing carnauba or beeswax. so, i've decided to go with walnut oil. it may darken the wood more than tung oil, but the great advantage of food-grade walnut oil is that one can actually eat whatever's left after the project is done. now that's efficient!
I did not paint them with too broad a brush I explained my experience! And I think you're confusing non toxic and the meaningless " all natural" linseed oil makes me sick I'll even though it's natural.

Last edited by Lostinwoods; 03-14-2012 at 04:22 PM.
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post #24 of 47 Old 03-14-2012, 05:05 PM Thread Starter
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Just some further info adding to my last post, for those who might be interested: In my web peregrinations, I learned that there are lots of "drying oils", not just linseed, tung and walnut. The Wikipedia entries on drying oils and semi-drying oils were very helpful. A full list of them I've found thus far:
linseed, poppy seed, safflower seed, walnut, soybean, oiticica, sunflower, perilla.
The speed with which they dry varies, and depends on something called
the "iodine number". I assume the ones we always hear about are preferred b/c they dry fastest, yield best results, etc., but that's just an assumption.

About beeswax, this site (link here) says, "Beeswax ... is a huge sticky molecule that cannot penetrate wood and remains on the surface and does not dry. Beeswax alone is not a finish but can be applied over a finish to provide a wax sheen and protection from water damage." So, as it turns out, it probably was good luck that I hadn't used it. This may be why people prefer carnauba over beeswax.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lostinwoods View Post
....I've tried some non toxic sealants that have no voc's but they all left a white film that could be seen in certain lighting conditions....
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lostinwoods View Post
I did not paint them with too broad a brush I explained my experience! And I think you're confusing non toxic and the meaningless "all natural" linseed oil makes me ill even though it's natural.
Are you saying that you've used linseed oil and "it left a white film that could be seen in certain lighting conditions"? That would surprise me. Or maybe you applied it in high humidity conditions or something else affected the way it dried? People have been using linseed oil for several centuries and this would be the first I've heard of it leaving a white film. (See the excellent article "Traditional Oil Finish" on the site mentioned here above.)

I would also be surprised if pure linseed oil made you ill. It may have been solvents that were added to make it easier to use. As far as I know, linseed oil is just flaxseed oil that has been boiled. At least with tung oil, one has to be skeptical of any product unless it specifically says "100% Pure Tung Oil". Nevertheless, of course, in general, I agree. There are all kinds of 'natural' substances that can kill one, e.g. turpentine.
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post #25 of 47 Old 03-14-2012, 09:30 PM
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I cannot speak for the quality of these products but they do say

Environmentally Safe
Solvent free - Zero VOC
Food Safe
No Heavy Metal Driers



http://www.triedandtruewoodfinish.com/default.htm
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post #26 of 47 Old 05-14-2012, 04:31 PM Thread Starter
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Just a follow-up in case other people are interested in using a non-toxic finish. The walnut oil took a long time to dry -- 8 weeks until a newspaper laid on the surface with weight on top of it would stay completely dry. Also, the legs are still releasing a bit of oil on the bottom, where the end grain is, but that's easily taken care of by placing the legs on plastic squares. I assume that oil will dry after a year or so.

Overall, it was an interesting experiment. The table looks great! The smell of walnut oil in my apartment was nice until it faded. But 8 weeks is a long time to wait. Next time, I'll probably try pure tung oil, or maybe 'butcher block treatment' (mineral oil, carnauba wax and beeswax) -- I've used that on my cutting boards and like the look and feel.

p.s. thanks for the link to the 'polymerized linseed oil' finish, but everything i have seen indicates that linseed oil yellows with age, so i think tung oil would be better.

Last edited by dglevy; 05-14-2012 at 04:36 PM.
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post #27 of 47 Old 05-14-2012, 08:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaincarver Steve View Post
Not necessarily. Pine has a beauty all its own. "Quality" and durability aren't the only factors to consider when choosing the right wood for a given project.
I agree. There is certainly a interesting quality to good quality pine of either of the three subspecies.

I also agree I have never seen it quarter sawn.

George
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post #28 of 47 Old 05-15-2012, 10:37 AM
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First thing, all finsihes manufactured in the US since the mid 1970's are non-toxic once fully dried or cured. However, being non-toxic does not mean they are without VOC's. In fact, almost all finishes emit some amount of VOC's. It's a question of how much they emit and whether they exceed the regulations in the area used.

The closest you will get to "no" VOC" are certain waterborne finishes. As already suggested, get a copy of the formulators Material Safety Data Sheet and read it carefully. Oh, on a related point, low or no VOC's does not mean there is no odor. Some finishes can have quite an odor but not be emitting VOC's.

Howie..........
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post #29 of 47 Old 05-15-2012, 11:11 AM
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>>>> I would also be surprised if pure linseed oil made you ill. It may have been solvents that were added to make it easier to use. As far as I know, linseed oil is just flaxseed oil that has been boiled.

"Boiled" linseed oil was originally heated to a certain temperature with the result that it polymerized partially and therefor dried faster. For the past 50 or more years, the "boiling" process was accomplished by the addition of heavy metal chemicals. It's no longer "boiled".

While linseed oil and flaxseed oil have the same origin (flaxseeds), flaxseed oil is extracted from the seeds with a pressing process. When extracted using chemicals, it it called linseed oil. In general, flaxseed oil contain no dangerous additives. Linseed oil contains some residual chemicals from the extraction process but not enough for it to be labeled as dangerous if ingested.

Howie..........
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post #30 of 47 Old 05-22-2012, 06:15 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeC View Post
I agree. There is certainly a interesting quality to good quality pine of either of the three subspecies.
I also agree I have never seen it quarter sawn.
George
hi george, i have attached four pics of the table. the first two are pics of one leg so that you can see all four sides. the second two are of the end grain of that leg and another leg. the other two legs, not shown, are similar.

i may be mistaken, but my understanding of quarter sawn wood is that, if the grain is straight (i.e. no 'tangential' [arched] grain), then it's either quarter sawn or rift sawn.
Attached Images
    

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post #31 of 47 Old 05-22-2012, 09:38 PM
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>>>> I may trying dissolving some shellac flakes with vodka (vodka being so pure it can has been given in IV's)

Even 100 proof vodka is 50% water. You don't want to have water in your shellac.

Howie..........
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post #32 of 47 Old 05-22-2012, 09:42 PM
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Originally Posted by dglevy View Post
hi george, i have attached four pics of the table. the first two are pics of one leg so that you can see all four sides. the second two are of the end grain of that leg and another leg as representatives of all four legs.

i may be mistaken, but my understanding of quarter sawn wood is that, if the grain is straight (i.e. no 'tangential' [arched] grain), then it's either quarter sawn or rift sawn.
The pictures show a form of cutting called "rift sawn". Rift sawing results in the grain running at a 45 degree angle to the edges and gives the appearance similar to quartersawn.

Howie..........
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post #33 of 47 Old 05-24-2012, 07:43 PM Thread Starter
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Well, that's great. Rift sawn is even higher quality than quarter sawn, isn't it? Not bad for a table I found next to the dumpster of my apartment building. All it had was a couple of stains on it that sanded right out... [bit of an exaggeration. it took a lot of elbow grease...]
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post #34 of 47 Old 07-27-2012, 03:08 PM Thread Starter
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Just to complete the story on this, in case other people are intrigued by using a finish that is non-toxic throughout the process:

I ultimately used walnut oil, two coats. It took 8 weeks until a newspaper laid on the surface with weight on top of it would stay completely dry--maybe another 4-6 weeks on top of the 8 weeks. And, if I remember correctly, it took much, much longer for the oil to stop seeping out of the end grain at the bottom of the legs. Ultimately, the finish had a whitish tinge and was unsatisfactory. I added a coat of butcher block treatment (mineral oil, carnauba and beeswax), and now it looks nice.

If one doesn't mind the yellowing, the suggestion here above for 'polymerized linseed oil' is a good one. It is simply linseed oil that has been processed in such a way that it dries much faster. It does not contain metallic driers. 'Tried & True' brand is an example. You can get it at a Woodcraft store or online.

As Howard said here above, "...all finishes manufactured in the US since the mid 1970's are non-toxic once fully dried or cured." This is true, but obtaining 'fully dried or cured' is the challenge.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0762101911/sr=1-1/qid=1343400830/ref=olp_product_details?ie=UTF8&me=&qid=1343400830&seller=&sr=1-1, by Bob Flexner is da BOMB. It has changed my attitudes about natural vs synthetic wood finishes. I'm not as hostile to synthetics as I was before. But VOCs remain a concern. From the Wiki entry VOCs, it appears that they are a significant health hazard. Off-gassing has a half-life, so in theory, it is never completely done. But, assuming that the levels get extremely low, it appears that at least some products are so safe that the gov't allows them to be used in situations where children could actually chew on wood that has been treated with them. Flexner has a strong opinion about this and thinks that using 'food safe' as a criterion for selecting a product is a waste of time.

"Man's most valuable trait is a judicious sense of what not to believe." --attributed to Euripides
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post #35 of 47 Old 07-27-2012, 04:15 PM
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Two things...

Pine pickles nicely and appears to stay lighter longer with a pickling-stain/lacquer finish.

I use quarter-sawn white pine quite often, though it was not deliberately quarter-sawn; it is part of run-of-the-mill plain-sawn stock my sawyer cuts for me.
Hand-planing true quartered (radial) pine reveals a very sparkly surface as the rays reflect a lot of light.
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post #36 of 47 Old 07-27-2012, 11:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dglevy View Post
I don't dignify rude, biting, sarcastic posts with replies. If you care to re-post using polite language -- as one would expect in the real world when addressing a stranger or newcomer -- I will be happy to have a civilized exchange with you regarding our difference of opinion.
I'm confused - your post stating "I don't dignify rude, biting, sarcastic posts with replies" - is that not a reply? Just wonderin....

Alexis de Tocqueville was a very smart man.
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post #37 of 47 Old 07-28-2012, 12:42 AM
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I'm confused - your post stating "I don't dignify rude, biting, sarcastic posts with replies" - is that not a reply? Just wonderin....
Almost oxymoronic, replying to that which is implied to be unworthy of reply, meaning it is not.
Certainly a "whew, where did that come from?" moment.
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post #38 of 47 Old 07-28-2012, 01:47 PM Thread Starter
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I meant, I don't reply to specific points made in rude, sarcastic posts. This just encourages a flame war. Sorry for the seeming contradiction.

You think being called a paranoid, among other things, by a complete stranger is not insulting? And he himself admitted that his post was sarcastic.

I detest impolite posts on the Internet. It's a real drag, people hiding behind their anonymity to say things they wouldn't say in person.

Thanks, btw, for your comment on quarter sawn pine. I"m really enjoying this table. And to think someone threw it out just b/c it had some stains on the surface. I rescued it from the trash pile.

Actually, we are all assuming it's pine but it may not be.

"Man's most valuable trait is a judicious sense of what not to believe." --attributed to Euripides

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post #39 of 47 Old 07-28-2012, 02:19 PM
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I bet Chaincarver Steve would say it in person.
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post #40 of 47 Old 07-29-2012, 09:45 PM
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Not to pick at or open a sore but to try to add some perspective on the topic.

"plants release more than just oxygen into the atmosphere as a result of photosynthesis: They also release a variety of gases that contribute to air pollution. In fact, the planet's vegetation accounts for about two-thirds of the pollutants known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted globally."

http://www.epa.gov/ord/sciencenews/s...-pollution.htm
-
-that is 2/3rds of the VOC in your air.

No one suggest felling a conifer that puts more turpentine into the air than most of us do in a lifetime of amateur wood finishing.
-
-Most /all of the best finishes (maybe milk paint is an exception) are organic compounds and only dissolve in organic compounds. Industry has done an amazing job of using emulsions etc to get finishes onto wood but they are still mostly inferior to the VOCs.
Alcohols like used for shellac are part of normal biochemical processes even in our bodies and should not be grouped with the hydrocarbons like varsol or paraffin wax.
-
Bleached/blond shellac is probably the least colouring finish with almost no VOCs. Wax is not a finish with significant protection of the wood . It does add a bit of luster to the finish and reduces friction.
-
The best finish for the job should be the quest.
Bob
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