finishing cocobolo - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 19 Old 08-25-2015, 12:43 AM Thread Starter
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finishing cocobolo

i have a beautiful slab of cocobolo abd everything i read says dont use oil.
use shellac.

or

use shellac then wax.

so heres my question............. spray the shellac on or wipe it on ? ive never sprayed before. whayts a good gun as my first ? how many coats of shellac do i apply ? whats the advantage/disadvantage to waxing it or not after the shellac ??
thanks guys

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post #2 of 19 Old 08-25-2015, 07:10 AM
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What is the project? It's hard to recommend a finish without knowing the application.

As far as applying shellac, it should always be sprayed if at all possible. Shellac dries so fast it can get pretty frustrating to apply by hand. Before you put any film finish on cocobolo it would be best to wash the wood down with acetone frequently changing rags to remove as much of the natural oil from the surface as you can.

One tip about working cocobolo be sure to wear a respirator cutting and sanding it especially if you have allergy problems.
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post #3 of 19 Old 08-25-2015, 08:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob sacamano View Post
i have a beautiful slab of cocobolo abd everything i read says dont use oil.
use shellac.

or

use shellac then wax.

so heres my question............. spray the shellac on or wipe it on ? ive never sprayed before. whayts a good gun as my first ? how many coats of shellac do i apply ? whats the advantage/disadvantage to waxing it or not after the shellac ??
thanks guys
Cocobolo is an oily wood, so you would want to use shellac or a vinyl sealer as a barrier coat prior to applying a final topcoat. If you was to use a poly over the cocobolo for example, it may never dry due to the oils leaking into the poly from the wood itself.

Zinsser shellac is good to use. I suggest a dewaxed shellac.
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post #4 of 19 Old 08-25-2015, 12:58 PM Thread Starter
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thanks guys. any reason i should or shouldnt wax it after the shellac ? how many coats of shellac should i be putting on ?

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post #5 of 19 Old 08-25-2015, 01:03 PM Thread Starter
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steve - its just the slab of cocobolo thats important here. the base of the table will be african mahogany or walnut and i like a minwax antique oil finish for that. thanks for the input.

ill clean it with acetone before i do anything. how do i know when to stop using acetone ? do i resand it after the acetone ?

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post #6 of 19 Old 08-25-2015, 01:19 PM
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If you buy shellac pre-made, make sure you buy it from a store with good turnover. Zinsser stopped putting an expiration date on their cans and it has a short shelf life (12 months iirc). If you are using it as a sealer, use the Zinsser sanding sealer shellac. It states wax-free. The regular "top coat" does not. My finishing instructor said that their regular shellac has some wax in it.

You can make your own from wax free flakes and denatured alcohol but if you are just doing this one thing, it's probably more cost effective to buy it pre-made.

As to brushing vs spray vs rubbing. You can do any of those but be aware that shellac coats are pretty thin so any sanding in between should be very light. You'll want a lot of coats (10 or so) if topping with shellac.
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post #7 of 19 Old 08-25-2015, 05:55 PM Thread Starter
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thanks everyone. this is a one time thing so its a lot more cost effective to buy the shellac from zinsser in a spray can.

does anyone have any thoughts on that ? i want the best for this piece as the grain is gorgeous

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post #8 of 19 Old 08-25-2015, 07:29 PM
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The use of acetone is if you are going to put a film finish such as shellac or varnish on the wood. If you are using an oil finish the acetone is unnecessary. If you do need to use acetone then it is used last after all the sanding is done. I would go over it with one rag with acetone and then do it again with another clean rag. Then just allow it to dry before finishing.

If you are going to use shellac any means you can get to spray it would be a help. You don't want to brush the stuff. It dries too fast on you.
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post #9 of 19 Old 08-25-2015, 09:36 PM
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First, if I'm interpreting your avatar correctly, thanks for you son's or daughter's service.

I've found cocobolo difficult to finish with oil. It's got so much oil of its own, it seems like just won't absorb it and you end up wiping most of it off. I have had good luck polishing it by sanding it with really high grits of sandpaper and waxing it with a wool bonnet on a power buffer. The resulting finish really feels cool a has a low sheen but of course almost no protection.
To get protection, you'll need a surface finish in which case follow Steve's guidance. Zinsser Seal Coat in the rattle can sprays nicely. A couple of coats of that followed by wax is also a really nice, tactile finish, but only slight protection. A topcoat of varnish would produce greater protection, but now you're building a finish and it didn't sound like that was the look you were going for. Decisions, decisions......
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post #10 of 19 Old 08-25-2015, 10:55 PM
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Speaking of wax, if it is used be sure to let any finish dry a month to fully cure before using wax. The stuff can penetrate the finish if it isn't fully hardened.
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post #11 of 19 Old 08-26-2015, 01:55 AM Thread Starter
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thanks for the help guys.

quickstep- my son just got out of army last week with medical discharge due to fractured vertibrae in hs neck sustained in combat.

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post #12 of 19 Old 08-26-2015, 05:48 AM
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Originally Posted by bob sacamano View Post
thanks for the help guys.

quickstep- my son just got out of army last week with medical discharge due to fractured vertibrae in hs neck sustained in combat.
Man, sorry to hear that. I praise all who fight for our country. Prayers sent for a speedy recovery.

Yes, you can do the spray cans of shellac if you wish, i would just make sure its dewaxed shellac. After applying the shellac, you can then put on basically any finish you want. It mainly depends on what kind of protection you want or need in the end.

Last edited by RandyReed; 08-26-2015 at 05:52 AM.
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post #13 of 19 Old 08-26-2015, 03:37 PM Thread Starter
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it doesnt need much protection. no water glasses or trafic. itll be a living room table agains the wall for pictures. its 12'' wide at its widest and 8'' narrowest. i have pics in my profile.
what if the can doesnt say dewaxed? what happens if its not dewaxed ??

this is turning into a bit of pain in the A$$ !!

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post #14 of 19 Old 08-26-2015, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by bob sacamano View Post
it doesnt need much protection. no water glasses or trafic. itll be a living room table agains the wall for pictures. its 12'' wide at its widest and 8'' narrowest. i have pics in my profile.
what if the can doesnt say dewaxed? what happens if its not dewaxed ??

this is turning into a bit of pain in the A$$ !!
You can still use regular shellac even if its not dewaxed. A dewaxed shellac is less prone to have problems going over an existing finish, but i also suggest dewaxed just for that reason.
For your purpose, a wax will be fine, but i would actually go with a poly in this instance.
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post #15 of 19 Old 08-26-2015, 10:18 PM
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The main purpose of a de-waxed shellac is to use as a sealer for another type finish to be applied over the top, especially polyurethane. There is so much adhesion problems with polyurethane it will peal off regular shellac. If old fashion varnish were used or lacquer it would adhere to regular shellac. In the old days when folks used a lot of knotty pine paneling the painters would seal the knots with regular shellac before finishing the walls with varnish. By putting shellac over the knots it was less likely bleed sap through the finish.
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post #16 of 19 Old 08-28-2015, 01:00 AM Thread Starter
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i used the zinsser shellac in a spray can. i liked it alot. i posted pics of the cocobolo before and after applying finnish.
im hooked on spraying now. i usually use minwax antique oil or a polyurethane. can those be sprayed ? if so what type of spray gun should i be buying ?

thanks everyone for your help !

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post #17 of 19 Old 08-28-2015, 07:36 AM
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i used the zinsser shellac in a spray can. i liked it alot. i posted pics of the cocobolo before and after applying finnish.
im hooked on spraying now. i usually use minwax antique oil or a polyurethane. can those be sprayed ? if so what type of spray gun should i be buying ?

thanks everyone for your help !
I spray everything including stain unless it's a really small project. For wood finishes most any sprayer would work. Spending big bucks for a sprayer won't really matter. I use Harbor Freight #97855 sprayers I get for a little over 22 bucks with a 20% off coupon. I use four of them. I consider a sprayer ruined for clear finishes if anything else is sprayed in them. It seems like no matter how much cleaning you do some paint stays in the gun. I had a sprayer that had a speck of light green paint stay in a gun for 10 years and waited until I was spraying a mahogany table top to come out. Now I have two guns for sealer and topcoat. One sprayer for wood stain and dyes. Then another for paint. The beauty of using cheap sprayers is if you have one that is a lot trouble getting to spray right you can just chunk it and get a new one. If you use the same make and model guns the extra sprayer cups come in handy.
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post #18 of 19 Old 08-28-2015, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve Neul View Post
I spray everything including stain unless it's a really small project. For wood finishes most any sprayer would work. Spending big bucks for a sprayer won't really matter. I use Harbor Freight #97855 sprayers I get for a little over 22 bucks with a 20% off coupon. I use four of them. I consider a sprayer ruined for clear finishes if anything else is sprayed in them. It seems like no matter how much cleaning you do some paint stays in the gun. I had a sprayer that had a speck of light green paint stay in a gun for 10 years and waited until I was spraying a mahogany table top to come out. Now I have two guns for sealer and topcoat. One sprayer for wood stain and dyes. Then another for paint. The beauty of using cheap sprayers is if you have one that is a lot trouble getting to spray right you can just chunk it and get a new one. If you use the same make and model guns the extra sprayer cups come in handy.
Steve, how do you clean your paint guns out?
In our lab, there are 5 guys and 2 sales reps who use the same gun most of the time. We spray everything from latex to CV to metallics. We clean out the gun with a 50/50 mix of thinner and acetone and never have a problem. We just keep a 1 gallon can of this mixture on the spray booth shelf and everyone pulls it through the gun when they are finished spraying.

We also use it in our pressure pots too. We just pull it through until it runs clean. One thing is, you have to do it right when you stop spraying, you cant wait. LOL.
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post #19 of 19 Old 08-28-2015, 04:24 PM
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Steve, how do you clean your paint guns out?
In our lab, there are 5 guys and 2 sales reps who use the same gun most of the time. We spray everything from latex to CV to metallics. We clean out the gun with a 50/50 mix of thinner and acetone and never have a problem. We just keep a 1 gallon can of this mixture on the spray booth shelf and everyone pulls it through the gun when they are finished spraying.

We also use it in our pressure pots too. We just pull it through until it runs clean. One thing is, you have to do it right when you stop spraying, you cant wait. LOL.
Very seldom do I completely tear a gun completely down. I mainly spray lacquer thinner through it and then take the nozzles off and clean them separately. The gun I mentioned spiting out the green paint I did break it down several times thoroughly cleaning it and for a while I used it for wood stain before changing it to my clear gun. I was very leery using it for clear coatings as I used the gun for three years with Promar Exterior Alkyd Flat in it. I probably used the gun for nine months to a year with clear lacquer in it before it spit out the speck. I made up my mind then it wasn't worth the risk. Two of the guns I use now have never had anything but a clear finish in them.

Cleaning a gun right when you get done is a luxury I don't have. I have more than one person could ever do.
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