Does wood need to breathe? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum

 
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post #1 of 7 Old 06-29-2013, 11:43 AM Thread Starter
GAF
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Does wood need to breathe?

When I refinish an antique my preference is to seal all the non viewed surfaces like the undersides of tables, inside and outside of drawers as well as inside and outside of dresser backs.

I read somewhere that the wood needs to breathe and perhaps this should not be done.

Comments please.

Gary
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post #2 of 7 Old 06-29-2013, 12:32 PM
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The purpose of a finish is to limit moisture exposure of the wood to control the amount of seasonal movement and prevent checking as well as making it look awesome. So the last thing you want to do is have one surface more susceptible to moisture than the other. This will cause warping. Just wet one side of a board and you will see what I mean. So to make a long story short, you should strive for a balanced panel, finished the same on all sides.
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post #3 of 7 Old 06-29-2013, 04:45 PM
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I try to get lacquer inside and out for the reason stated above. The less exposed wood the less chance of warping and swelling/shrinking.
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post #4 of 7 Old 06-29-2013, 05:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GAF View Post
When I refinish an antique my preference is to seal all the non viewed surfaces like the undersides of tables, inside and outside of drawers as well as inside and outside of dresser backs.

I read somewhere that the wood needs to breathe and perhaps this should not be done.

Comments please.

Gary
There is nothing wrong with what you are doing unless you are getting a finish on the sides of the drawers and the drawer runners. It might look nice when new and fresh but it's not long after the drawers are used the finish gets all scratched up and looks really bad. I finish the inside of a drawer with lacquer however the outside of the sides I only put paste wax on it. Of course if it has a center drawer runner or mechanical drawer guides the finish would be fine. I do finish the underside of tables. I normally start the finish with the table turned upside down. There are usually places on the legs and skirt you can't get the finish on otherwise anyway. To me finishing the back of a dresser is a waste of materials. I normally try to make sure there is no stripping residue on it and sand it clean but I stop short of putting a finish on it. If you like it though I would keep doing it. There is no reason you can't finish it.
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post #5 of 7 Old 06-30-2013, 09:27 AM Thread Starter
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Does wood need to breathe?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Mosher View Post
The purpose of a finish is to limit moisture exposure of the wood to control the amount of seasonal movement and prevent checking as well as making it look awesome. So the last thing you want to do is have one surface more susceptible to moisture than the other. This will cause warping. Just wet one side of a board and you will see what I mean. So to make a long story short, you should strive for a balanced panel, finished the same on all sides.

Rick, your logic makes good sense to me. Thank you.

Gary
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post #6 of 7 Old 06-30-2013, 09:30 AM Thread Starter
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Does wood need to breathe?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Neul View Post
There is nothing wrong with what you are doing unless you are getting a finish on the sides of the drawers and the drawer runners. It might look nice when new and fresh but it's not long after the drawers are used the finish gets all scratched up and looks really bad. I finish the inside of a drawer with lacquer however the outside of the sides I only put paste wax on it. Of course if it has a center drawer runner or mechanical drawer guides the finish would be fine. I do finish the underside of tables. I normally start the finish with the table turned upside down. There are usually places on the legs and skirt you can't get the finish on otherwise anyway. To me finishing the back of a dresser is a waste of materials. I normally try to make sure there is no stripping residue on it and sand it clean but I stop short of putting a finish on it. If you like it though I would keep doing it. There is no reason you can't finish it.

Steve, useful feedback - thank you. I do like to finish as much of the interior and exterior as possible but will heed your comments on drawer runners. Maybe I will start using lacquer so I can build up some skills applying it.

Gary
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post #7 of 7 Old 06-30-2013, 09:35 AM
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I learn something every day on this board. Thank you, gentlemen.
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