Type of sealer and finish for furniture - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 18 Old 04-02-2013, 04:20 AM Thread Starter
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Type of sealer and finish for furniture

Hi, I'm fairly new to the carpentry/wood working world and was curious as to what y'all might suggest in terms of finishing/sealing a piece of furniture with. I'm building a cherry buffet cabinet and have used lacquer sanding sealers with a paste wax before but I wanted a longer lasting finish than I feel paste wax offers. Also I'm not a fan of the streakiness that the lacquer sanding sealer leaves if not evenly applied in the grain direction. Any suggestions for alternatives would be great. Thanks! I have included a picture of the my current progress.
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post #2 of 18 Old 04-02-2013, 07:19 AM
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Do you have the capability to spray a finish...compressor & gun?









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post #3 of 18 Old 04-02-2013, 08:55 AM
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It sounds like you are using brushing lacquer. Personally I think if you are working on a large project you need a slower drying finish than lacquer. Lacquer itself isn't a bad finish for furniture however the nitrocellolous lacquer isn't good for light colored woods. Over time the finish will yellow and alter the appearance. If you are wanting to work with lacquer I would recommend you use a vinyl sealer and use a cab-acrylic lacquer. It needs to be sprayed though. You don't have to spend hundreds of dollars for a sprayer to spray wood finishes either. I use a harbor freight sprayer I get with a 20% off coupon for about 16 bucks. All you would have to have is a compressor. For a project like the cabinet you have pictured you should have a compressor that delivers at least 7 scfm at 40 psi. If you are going to continue brushing the finish I would use polyurethane. For light colored woods I would seal with zinsser sealcoat and topcoat with a water based polyurethane. For med to dark woods I would use an oil based polyurethane. The oil based is a better finish however it will yellow a little over time and shows up on light colored woods. The water based polyurethane remains clear.
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post #4 of 18 Old 04-02-2013, 09:53 AM
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My favorite cherry finish has become garnet shellac. For a piece that large I would spray it on. I usually spray a fairly thin mix (1# cut) so I'd probably give it 2 (maybe 3) applications. The top would need a top coat of something else. For me that would probably be a non-polyurethane varnish (P&L 38), though a good waterborne would work, and change the color less. The P&L 38 is a soya oil/alkyd resin varnish, and has a lot less amber than the linseed oil based formulas most of the poly formulas use. I wouldn't spray the varnish, probably 2 brush coats, let it cure, sand smooth, than a last coat of wiping on a very thin coat (50/50 mix with MS). Nice piece, BTW. Should really look good.

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post #5 of 18 Old 04-02-2013, 10:24 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for y'all's input. I do have access to an air compressor. I'm building this as a senior project in college so I have a large selection of tools at my disposal. I'm not quite sure as to the size of the air compressor but its as big as me (6' or so) so I feel like it would keep up. I'm going to try spraying it like y'all suggested if my teacher allows it. Otherwise I'll be brushing it on. Unfortunately I live in a small college town and about the only place to purchase supplies is a Lowes or Walmart. I'll be headed to Lowes to see if I can find those types of finishes you recommended. Thanks again! This community is so helpful.
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post #6 of 18 Old 04-02-2013, 11:06 AM
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We would be lucky if there were a Lowe's or a Walmart or any other large chain store less than 100 miles from our small town. Only 9000 people in our town with the next small town, even smaller than ours, over 40 miles away. The largest store in our area is a Build Rite, which I don't like. I've learned that you can get anything on the Internet and driving 100 miles can be a fun activity. Our local stores always tell me, "we can order it for you off the Internet but you will have to pay for shipping and then tax afterwards." I can save the tax and order it myself.

Okay, to the point, if you want it, don't let your situation hold you back. If you want it, find a way.

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post #7 of 18 Old 04-02-2013, 11:45 AM Thread Starter
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I don't mind driving to buy something if it means not cutting corners on this project but I've already gone way over budget on this project and being a college student is tight anyways.

Let me back up by saying im staining the cabinet with Minwax Natural Stain first.

I just went to Lowes and here is what I found. Since I'm still learning the choices were a little confusing and overwhelming when trying to find something similar to y'all's suggestions. I couldnt tell a significant difference in these 3 options. I would like to spray the sealer on(depending on my teacher). If I can't spray it on then would these be fine brushing on? If y'all can help me pick one of these to use that would be great and save me gas money trying to drive home to get something better. But like I said I dont want to cut corners and if I need to order something else or drive and get something I will. But here is what I found.
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post #8 of 18 Old 04-02-2013, 03:22 PM
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All of these products are shellac and can be frustrating to apply with a brush. Every coat you apply melts into the layer you put on and if you brush it too long you will remove it all. If you intend to use it as a sealer for polyurethane than the sealcoat or the sealcoat sanding sealer is the correct product. The problem with shellac is it has a wax in it that polyurethane won't adhere to. The sealcoat is shellac that has had the wax filtered out. The Helmsman in the background is a spar varnish which is formulated to exterior applications. It's not suited for interior projects because it is softer than polyurethane.
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post #9 of 18 Old 04-02-2013, 04:24 PM
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You showed 2 cans of Seal coat, looked like one was a one gallon, the other a quart (they're the same product). Zinnser markets 3 flavors of shellac, the Seal cpat is dewaxed (use it under anything) and the other 2 (Bullseye clear and amber, I think) have wax. Like Steve said, they shouldn't be used under polyanything. But the canned shellacs can be sprayed, you might want to thin them a little using denatured alcohol. Steve also mentioned brushing shellac, that can be a real challenge. I've been using it for about 10 years and still can't brush it. But it can be padded very well if you want to learn that...but spraying is still the easiest. So pick one of those if that's what you want to use, and next to a topcoat (maybe just for the top?). For that, consider steering clear of the Minwax products, and look at the Cabot line of varnishes. They will still all be polyurethane at Lowes, but you get what you can get.

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post #10 of 18 Old 04-02-2013, 07:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Neul View Post
... You don't have to spend hundreds of dollars for a sprayer to spray wood finishes either. I use a harbor freight sprayer I get with a 20% off coupon for about 16 bucks. All you would have to have is a compressor. For a project like the cabinet you have pictured you should have a compressor that delivers at least 7 scfm at 40 psi. ...
Sorry to the OP for the thread hijack.

Steve, can you post a pic or a link of the type of sprayer you are referring to? It would be greatly appreciated by me. Thanks - Bob.

Now back to your regularly scheduled thread.
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post #11 of 18 Old 04-02-2013, 08:10 PM
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Dunno why you'd use shellac unless it's to seal a BLO grain enhancement for a top coat od a water based finish.
Shellac is not terribly tough stuff and when you buddy sets his scotch on it, any drips will attach the shellac.

My finish of preference is General Finished Enduro Pre Cat 181. Goes on like a dream, dries dust proof in mere moments, is tough as nails in service, when brushed on leaves no brush marks even though it's engineered to be sprayed, water clean up bright clean look with no muddying of the wood as alkyd urethanes tend to do.

Hey~!!! It's a hobby~!! It's not supposed to make sense.
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post #12 of 18 Old 04-03-2013, 12:33 AM
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Sorry to the OP for the thread hijack.

Steve, can you post a pic or a link of the type of sprayer you are referring to? It would be greatly appreciated by me. Thanks - Bob.

Now back to your regularly scheduled thread.
The gun is a harbor freight #97855. They work good and are so cheap I have 4 of them. I keep two for use with nothing but clear coatings, one for stain and one for paint. It appears they have gone up in price since I've bought any. 20% off they run 20 bucks now. A lot of folks say you can't use those cheap guns for automotive paint but I painted this tractor with a Dupont 2k urethane with one of them.

http://www.harborfreight.com/heavy-d...gun-97855.html
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post #13 of 18 Old 04-03-2013, 01:36 PM
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Designhip87 I got your message and my return message was too long so here it is.

I imagine the problem spraying a finish at your school pertains to liability and environmental concerns. It takes pretty expensive facilities to correctly spray paint in that environment. There is no reason you can't brush one coat of the sealcoat on. It's just when you try the second coat it becomes a problem. If it were me in that environment I would seal with the sealcoat and topcoat with a water based polyurethane such as minwax polycrylic. It dries fast and is non-flammable. What you have to understand about water based finishes is since it has water in it, it makes the wood rough as sandpaper because the water raises the grain. A coat of sealcoat will eliminate that problem A oil based polyurethane is a better finish but as it ages looks yellow on light colored wood. It also takes four to six hours before it's dry to touch and may get bugs or dirt in the finish while sitting. I assume you would be working around others and it's a overwhelming temptation to some to stick their fingers in the finish to see if it's dry.
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post #14 of 18 Old 04-03-2013, 10:22 PM
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That's a very good looking project you have going. I have been finishing cherry for over 45 years and have never sprayed a finish on any. You will spend more time figuring out how to mix, set up the gun and learn how to wield the gun.

Look into wiping varnish. It's the easiest most beautiful finish you can put on cherry wood. It requires very little equipment and will almost always come out perfect the first time. You don't even need a brush. You won't have to worry about dust or humidity.


This is my method.
1)Sand down to 220.
2) With a damp wet clean rag wipe down the wood and let it dry. This will raise the grain and lots of little fuzzies.
3) Sand again with 220. This will go very fast. You just want to knock down the grain and fuzzies.
4) Fold a cotton rag about 4"X4" and pour the varnish in the rag and wipe it on. Wipe it on and keep applying it until it stops soaking in. You can pour the varnish on tops and plow it around with the rag if you want.
5) At this point you can wipe off the excess or do as I do and wipe it down with your bare hands. Keep wiping until it feels dry when you glide your hands over it.
On tops and large surfaces. I sand in the first coat of finish with 320 or 400 while the finish is wet. Re wet if it gets dry until I'm finished sanding.
This will make a super fine slurry and fill microscopic pores.
6) Let it dry over night. If you rubbed it down with your bare hand. You wont need to sand before applying another coat.
If you really mop it on with the first coat and keep wetting dry areas. The first coat will soak well into the wood and and give you a very hard and durable finish. You will need to apply 3 more light coats to get the build you want. One coat a day.
7) After building the finish rub it out with non blooming oil and pumice in a clean cotton rag. This will give a satin finish with out the fillers they put in satin finish lacquer.

It really is a very easy finish that will give you great results.

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The first pic shows the finish better.
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post #15 of 18 Old 04-03-2013, 11:04 PM
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I wouldn't use a water base finish on cherry. I just haven't heard enough good about water base finishes.

Al

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post #16 of 18 Old 04-04-2013, 05:13 PM
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I wouldn't use a water base finish on cherry. I just haven't heard enough good about water base finishes
Whose water based finishes have you heard about?

I was late to the WB, club but a colleague who does commercial and residential kitchens turned me on to Enduro Pre Cat 181. They make a sealer too that you apply and then (of course) sand to prevent the grain from standing up on the top coats.

The stuff is like a gift from god. Seriously it solved so many problems.
I was planningn to build a spray booth ( ha ha ha who has the space for that?) and was designing a knock down version and was very unhappy about it. I'd played with xylene and alkyd urethanes trying to make a good fast dry wiping finish. Mineral spirits don't work very wel las MS doesn't dry very fast. Xylene and urethane 50/50 dries pretty fast but still - - - - - I don't like the muddy look of the alkyd urethanes I've used. I ended up always bringing everythign up from the shop into the house and erecting a huge tent of poly tarp every time I wanted to finish something.
All the contortions I went through: Rubbing out the dust laden urethane finish and waxing was a hateful thing. Oils and Wax was nowhere near tough enough of a finish for me. Shellac too was wimpy.

Not having a spray booth meant I was always fighting an uphiill battle. No more. Finishing is a joy now.



I tried Pre Cat 181 over BLO once and learned the hard way to NEVER apply a WB over BLO. Instead do a wash of shellac first, that seals the BLO in and then apply the WB and you are Golden.

And the stuff is BEAUTIFUL~!!!

And it is WATER CLEAN UP come on~!!

Now you couldn't get me to go back to anything else short of holding a gun to my head.

I hope this discourages you and any one else from ever trying a high end WB finish. I've said every horrible thing about them I could think of Don't use them, they are horrible. ( more for me moo-ha-ha )

Hey~!!! It's a hobby~!! It's not supposed to make sense.

Last edited by Cliff; 04-04-2013 at 05:16 PM.
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post #17 of 18 Old 04-04-2013, 06:52 PM
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I tried Pre Cat 181 over BLO once and learned the hard way to NEVER apply a WB over BLO. Instead do a wash of shellac first, that seals the BLO in and then apply the WB and you are Golden.
I must have better luck than you. Mix BLO 50/50 with VM&P Naptha. Wipe on, and wipe off excess. When completely and fully dry/cured, you can spray on thin applications of WB poly. No need for any sealers/shellac. Grain raising isn't that pronounced. I don't sand the first few applications.





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post #18 of 18 Old 04-04-2013, 06:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cliff

Whose water based finishes have you heard about?

I was late to the WB, club but a colleague who does commercial and residential kitchens turned me on to Enduro Pre Cat 181. They make a sealer too that you apply and then (of course) sand to prevent the grain from standing up on the top coats.

The stuff is like a gift from god. Seriously it solved so many problems.
I was planningn to build a spray booth ( ha ha ha who has the space for that?) and was designing a knock down version and was very unhappy about it. I'd played with xylene and alkyd urethanes trying to make a good fast dry wiping finish. Mineral spirits don't work very wel las MS doesn't dry very fast. Xylene and urethane 50/50 dries pretty fast but still - - - - - I don't like the muddy look of the alkyd urethanes I've used. I ended up always bringing everythign up from the shop into the house and erecting a huge tent of poly tarp every time I wanted to finish something.
All the contortions I went through: Rubbing out the dust laden urethane finish and waxing was a hateful thing. Oils and Wax was nowhere near tough enough of a finish for me. Shellac too was wimpy.

Not having a spray booth meant I was always fighting an uphiill battle. No more. Finishing is a joy now.

I tried Pre Cat 181 over BLO once and learned the hard way to NEVER apply a WB over BLO. Instead do a wash of shellac first, that seals the BLO in and then apply the WB and you are Golden.

And the stuff is BEAUTIFUL~!!!

And it is WATER CLEAN UP come on~!!

Now you couldn't get me to go back to anything else short of holding a gun to my head.

I hope this discourages you and any one else from ever trying a high end WB finish. I've said every horrible thing about them I could think of Don't use them, they are horrible. ( more for me moo-ha-ha )
We are talking to a beginner and recommending a finish for one of his first projects. Do you guys remember when you first started. I haven't heard a single person have a good first time experience with water base finish or stain.

Al

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