Finishing a chessboard with Aluminium inlay - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 10-25-2018, 11:14 AM Thread Starter
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Finishing a chessboard with Aluminium inlay

Hello oh knowledgeable ones! So, I have a finishing dilemma - I have just finished a chessboard in Walnut, Rosewood and Burr Oak. It is for a client's wedding anniversary and they asked me to inlay their family crests in various timbers including aluminium as it represents their 10th year.
I am struggling to decide what finish to give the whole piece. Danish Oil is my finish of choice usually but I don't think that will stop the Aluminium oxidising over time. So I looked into varnishing techniques on the Internet - I'm thinking either 'one coat shellac followed by many coats lacquer' or 'one coat Danish oil followed by millions of coats of wipe on poly' sanding between and polishing after (although I don't want a high gloss finish) The thing is I have read that some varnishes won't adhere to aluminium and will eventually flake off but can't find a definitive answer. Arrrgghhhhhh! I don't know what to do - penny for your thoughts, I'd be very grateful!
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post #2 of 13 Old 10-25-2018, 11:44 AM
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I wouldn't think that aluminum would oxidize if kept indoors. Let's see what others say.

A diamond is how coal reacts under pressure.
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post #3 of 13 Old 10-25-2018, 01:33 PM
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kind of confusing as to what you are actually asking . . . .
how large will the crests be ? how thick ?
how will they be inlaid into the wood ? (or timbers, as you call it).
some adhesives and finishes do not play well with aluminum.
a little more in depth info would help with accurate feedback.

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post #4 of 13 Old 10-26-2018, 11:34 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Smith_inFL View Post
kind of confusing as to what you are actually asking . . . .
how large will the crests be ? how thick ?
how will they be inlaid into the wood ? (or timbers, as you call it).
some adhesives and finishes do not play well with aluminum.
a little more in depth info would help with accurate feedback.
Hi John, sorry, I have a tenancy to waffle! Thank you for your time so far.
So the crests are approximately 3 inches square, the wood veneers and aluminium are about 1.5mm thick. The aluminium shapes themselves in the design are each no bigger than a 2p coin. I veneered the chessboard first and then cut/chiselled the shapes out of the board surface and glued and clamped them in piece by piece. I used veneer glue for the wood and a two part epoxy for the aluminium.

What I basically need to know is the best finish for the whole board - something that will adhere to the aluminium and stop it oxidising, but that will also look good as a finish for the wood.

Hope that's clearer? Would love to know your thoughts!

(I have attached a photo before final sanding, if that's helpful)
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post #5 of 13 Old 10-26-2018, 06:22 PM
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I have had several aluminum coins and other odds and ends
in a drawer for over 40 years with no oxidation issues.
so whatever you finish the board with will be just fine for the inlays.
don't over think it.

.

.

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post #6 of 13 Old 10-26-2018, 06:25 PM
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I would not put anything on the aluminum. There is more chance of you causing a problem than solving a potential, unknown one.


George
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post #7 of 13 Old 10-26-2018, 08:02 PM
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Anything will finish the wood. If you are going for a film finish you should concentrate on the aluminum. There is clear coatings formulated for aluminum such as Cerakote. Still after sanding I would wash the chessboard with acetone to remove any remaining oxidation of the aluminum before coating. The acetone should dry out of the wood in about a half hour.
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post #8 of 13 Old 10-27-2018, 08:17 AM
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Nicola - is there any paint on your inlay ?
looking closer at the item, it appears that only the four
little silver things are aluminum and the item is something else.
they are so small, that I think any oxidation at all would be negligible.
if there is any paint on it all, applying a hot solvent such as acetone
may wipe away any of the detail that contains a stain or paint.
excellent job on your craftsmanship !!!

just looking for a little clarification here.
.
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Last edited by John Smith_inFL; 10-27-2018 at 09:28 AM.
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post #9 of 13 Old 10-27-2018, 11:45 AM
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That's very pretty. Not being polished shiny is an advantage here, as any finish over metal requires some "scratch" for adhesion. And a matte surface on the metal will mask the effects of oxidation over time. My suggestion would be semi-gloss spray lacquer.

Dave in CT, USA
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post #10 of 13 Old 11-02-2018, 02:19 PM
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Danish oil sounds good to me for the wood but it probably wont stick to well to the alluminum. It might be worth painting a sealer on the alluminum first and flattening it off with fine paper before starting with the Danish oil..A clear sanding sealer would be good... (This is a concentrated shellac mix).
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post #11 of 13 Old 11-03-2018, 03:08 AM
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That's a pretty nice looking inlay you've made there mate, is that in just one corner or all four?


-T
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post #12 of 13 Old 11-04-2018, 06:12 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you EVERYONE for taking the time to help me with this! It is so much appreciated to hear some expert opinions. I think I've taken a bit of advice from everyone. I'm not going to worry about the Aluminium as I've come to understand that such tiny pieces (which are meant to look matt anyway, sanded to about 1200 grit) should be fine in normal indoor house conditions. John - I should have mentioned - the parts that look painted are in fact lazer etched, so I presume if I wipe it all down with acetone they should be fine. I have decide to definitely go with Danish Oil as it is a finish I am very familiar with and love, and the brand I have chosen recommendeds to not use a sanding sealer so I can even skip that stage! So, that's it. Fingers crossed I have made the right decision... Watch this space...
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post #13 of 13 Old 11-04-2018, 06:15 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WeebyWoodWorker View Post
That's a pretty nice looking inlay you've made there mate, is that in just one corner or all four?


-T
Thank you so much! And that's before sanding and finishing too! Maybe I'll post a photo of the board when I'm done.
Can't believe how long it took... There is a different Coat of Arms on the opposite corner - they represent the maiden names of the married couple. So they can battle each other - probably to determine who has to do the washing up!
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