How to preserve the wood and the lovely, light color of this table at the same time? - Page 3 - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #41 of 47 Old 07-30-2012, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by dglevy View Post
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.
Seriously dude? You got riled up over being called paranoid? Is your skin made of rice paper? Toughen up a little bit and get over it. I explained why I believe you were merely cowering to heightened paranoia.

I'm not hiding behind anonymity. I'm communicating via the medium at hand. I would gladly tell you to your face the same things because I honestly believe it to be true. I can't help that your tree-huggery has you in such an overly sensitive state that rational observation puts you into a frenzied tizzy. What are you, four?

I don't think I was mean nor rude to you. But I was frank.
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post #42 of 47 Old 07-30-2012, 01:12 PM
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I detest impolite posts on the Internet.

I know with me....and I can only speak for myself....the things that bother me the most are exactly those upon which I need most to work.
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post #43 of 47 Old 07-30-2012, 10:47 PM Thread Starter
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[....]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. This book, 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.
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-[...]felling a conifer [...] puts more turpentine into the air than most of us do in a lifetime of amateur wood finishing.
[...]-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.
hi bob,

thanks for your post. it's nice to get back on topic. and i also appreciate the opportunity for reasoned, evidence-based discussion.

as i said, my opinion is evolving regarding the use of products that contain VOCs. the flexner book was fairly convincing, overall. but i'm still a bit wary. i'm not so much concerned about VOCs polluting THE air as i am concerned about VOCs polluting MY air. my girlfriend is pretty sensitive to chemical odors, and i have a friend who can't handle any off-gassing from plywood and the like--he had to retire early after working in a 'sick building' for several years.

since VOCs have a half-life, a product never stops emitting VOCs. but, at some point, the emissions get so small that they are no longer an issue. the question is WHEN, and that depends on a lot of factors--product type, temperature, humidity, physiological sensitivity. i'm probably going to buy a bed made with untreated wood and finish it myself. are we going to sleep in that bed with VOCs coming out, however mild the odor? i don't think so.

yes, shellac is an attractive product b/c it's dissolved in alcohol, which seems to be fairly harmless and evaporates quickly. the problem with shellac, apparently, is that it doesn't cover pine knots, and this bed will be pine...

yes, wax, is not a great solution b/c, as flexner points out, it doesn't protect much against scratches, and it has to be re-applied regularly.

linseed and tung oil last longer but also do not protect against scratches, nor against liquid stains. but tung oil may be the best solution for the aforementioned bed b/c i'm not worried so much about scratches or stains; the main concern is smudges and dirt.

--David

"Man's most valuable trait is a judicious sense of what not to believe." --attributed to Euripides
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post #44 of 47 Old 07-30-2012, 10:51 PM
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Many of my own pieces of furniture and built-ins have no finish on them at all.
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post #45 of 47 Old 07-30-2012, 11:11 PM
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Shellac is the best material for sealing in pine knots. The VOCs AKA turpentine in pine knots sends to bleed thru varnish and most paints. Shellac is used to prepare the knots to resist the bleed.
-
http://diyguides.dremel.com/seal-pine-knots-20198.html
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The shorter the 1/2 life the quicker the level is below significant levels. Most of the VOCs in finishes have very short half lives. Some of the glues used in paneling last a bit longer but are almost completely sealed in by the finish. Ironically the half life is made so long that the levels are again insignificant.
I try to do much finishing in the garage or outside on a breezy day and have installed exhaust fans in my shop and paint room to mitigate the brief problem. Projects left for a week or two before use rarely have odours.
Buy expensive finishes. The cheep ones have more solvents per solids than the expensive ones.
Alcohol and acetone used in shellac and lacquer evaporate very quickly. After the initial solvent evaporation, most of the finish polymerises into inert materials ( its called drying making it sound like the solvent keeps coming off)
The sizing and plasticising agents in upholstery like a new car are more of a problem than wood products.
Hope it's not too boring.-dry stuff
Bob
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post #46 of 47 Old 07-31-2012, 06:50 PM
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I forgot the scratch issue.
The oil based finishes shine in that dept. . Small scratches that accumulate in wear areas can be rubbed out with a bit of the oil and the result is a gradual development of part of the attractive patina of wear. The refreshed finish does adhere to the prior finish. Most of the finish is in the wood so there is not a gouge in the finish.
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Film finishes like poly are mostly on the surface so the scratches are less attractive and difficult to repair as added finish does not adhere to the cured plastic finish.
Urethane floor scratches are more prominent than those in an oil varnish finish of old.
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The plastic finishes are more resistant to water spills but oil finishes do well if wiped promptly. A sheet of glass on a desk has and can be used if a truly scratch and liquid resistant surface is needed. Arbourite , cement or even granite are often used in kitchens. Shellac needs coasters but alcohol or water marks can be repaired.
To be more complete, lacquer like shellac dissolves in its solvent so can be repaired easier than poly.
There is a lot to finishing; enough to write books. - lol
Bob
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post #47 of 47 Old 08-02-2012, 11:36 AM Thread Starter
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Hi Bob,

Thanks for your posts.

I was mistaken about what Flexner said about shellac and pine knots. He also says that shellac does well in sealing them.

Interesting that your experience is that oil finishes do well if water spills are wiped promptly. Flexner's book deprecates pure oil finishes (as opposed to oil/varnish finishes). I think he dislikes them, IIRC, because (a) they don't seal the wood as effectively as other finishes, allowing for more wood movement; and (b) water/liquids will stain if left on the wood for "a while", but he doesn't say how long "a while" is. That's not so much of a concern for me since, if I ever spilled something, I'd wipe it up immediately.

And thanks for passing along your experience with oil vs polyurethane/plastic. It's quite a contrast with Flexner's appraisal. I think a summary might be: Hard finishes like poly and varnish protect better against scratches but, when they do get damaged, they're harder to repair.

As it turns out, I made a goof and the bed I thought I was buying does not exist in the size I need.

So I'm going back to plan A, building one myself. I'll post again when it gets more clear what I'm doing. I don't want to waste people's time asking for advice unless I'm sure I'm moving forward with the project.

--David

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