Favorite bowl finishes - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 12-06-2011, 11:32 PM Thread Starter
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Favorite bowl finishes

Hey everyone. Christmas is coming soon and I have a couple bowl turning questions. What is everyone's favorite finish. I prefer finishes that don't take a long time. I have heard from everything from oil to wax to shellac. I am looking for something that is easy to apply quick to dry and not as messy on the clean up. What would everyone consider as the easiest finish to use on the lathe Are there different finishes for different types of Woods or do all finishes work just the same. My last question is involving turning the foot for the bowl I have used everything from friction chucks to using my cole jaw chuck. I guess it's me just being impatient but it takes so much time to switch to the cole jaws. I have always been confused about how a jam Chuck works. Maybe it will be another option other than the cole jaws.

I appreciate the input.
Thank you

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post #2 of 11 Old 12-07-2011, 12:07 AM
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I like Doctors Woodshop finishes...especially their shellac/wax/walnut oil combo. As for the foot, get a second chuck and leave your large jaws on them.

That bowl was perfect right up until that last cut...
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post #3 of 11 Old 12-07-2011, 06:39 AM
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For a high gloss and quick finish I use "Minwax" spray lacquer. I buy it from Walmart. It dries in about 15 minutes and after a few coats its done. No mess. Its good for fruit,candy or show. I probally would not use it for food.
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post #4 of 11 Old 12-07-2011, 06:50 AM
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Zinsser Bullseye SealCoat and Beal buffing system for a nice quick finish. as for the foot, jam chucking or recess chucking on a finished foot before hollowing was the way i did it. now vacuum chucking is the only way to go for me..


"Just because your not bleeding, don't mean your turning safely"..
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post #5 of 11 Old 12-07-2011, 07:05 AM
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I use beeswax and mineral oil
I put a liberal amount of oil on while it's spinning.
Then apply a coat of beeswax and work it into the wood.

I'll sometimes take the oil, and pour it all over the piece and just let it set for an hour or so then wipe off access.

Don't know if the veterans here approve but that's been working well for me.
I'd like to try other finishes sometime in the future.

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Last edited by tcleve4911; 12-07-2011 at 07:09 AM.
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post #6 of 11 Old 12-07-2011, 09:38 AM
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I like Minwax wipe on Poly for show bowls and mineral oil and wax for user bowls.

There are two methods for reverse turning that are very fast. I start all of my bowls between centers so there is a center mark left on the tenon for the chuck. when the bowl is finished I put a rubber sink stopper over the chuck and then bring up the tailstock to hold it in place. Then I turn the bottom all except the little tenon that I leave near the tailstock. That I just carve off and sand down.
The other fast method is vacuum chucking. I have an adaptor that fits in the tailstock that will hold my chuck. I put the vacuum chuck on the headstock and install the vacuum bearing connector in my handwheel. Then just push the bowl up, turn on the vacuum, remove the chuck and turn the bottom.
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post #7 of 11 Old 12-07-2011, 09:54 AM
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For finishing I do use oil on occasion but I normally use shellac. I can get almost any look from flat (burnishing with steel wool) to very high gloss.
For the turning the base I use a friction chuck and I always have left the original center point from the very first turning.
There seems to be differences in what a person is talking about when they say they use a “jamb chuck”. The way I learned is that you take a sacrificial plate and cut a recess in it to just fit the diameter of the bowl. The bowl is then jammed into the recess. This requires making a new jamb chuck for each bowl. Except in videos I have never seen anyone use one. Many people call a “friction chuck” a "jamb chuck". Where something (either turned or the jaws of your chuck) is covered and the bowl is placed over it and the tailstock brought up. With what I call a jamb chuck, you do not use the tailstock for support. I guess cole jaws would be a scroll version of the old jamb chuck.
Jamb chuck can fit either inside or outside so when making boxes many people use one section of the box as a jamb chuck.

I STILL haven’t made one but I think a donut chuck is probably the easiest for smooth rim bowls. There are lots of plans for making a donut chuck and you only have to remove one bolt to add/remove an item.

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post #8 of 11 Old 12-07-2011, 11:05 AM
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I've had reasonable success with Minwax water-based Polycrylic gloss finish.

Wipe-on-Polyurethane is giving me a really hard time, maybe I shouldn't have used Danish oil before starting with the poly.

Danish oil alone is nice if you want a non-gloss finish.

(Anyone who knows how Wipe-on-poly works, I'd love help ... just posted THIS over on the Finishing forum.)

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post #9 of 11 Old 12-07-2011, 01:56 PM
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Friction polish isabouut the fastest but I like a shellac seal coat then 3 or 4 coats of Tung oil. It has to dry a day before applying additional coats though.
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post #10 of 11 Old 12-07-2011, 06:07 PM
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I use several different types, the wipe on poly range are very good. friction polish is very fast and effective. But I find you need to have the prep done well. Currently I am using Danish Oil my own mixture with a light buffing.

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post #11 of 11 Old 12-07-2011, 07:01 PM
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Turning with a waste block.

Just layering paper towels on my sanding disk and using the tailstock. Turn it down to were I'm happy with it then break off what's left and finish it with the sander.
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