Pinholes and slab finishing - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 Old 05-25-2018, 12:50 PM Thread Starter
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Pinholes and slab finishing

I am new to the site and to wood working so my apologies if this has already been addressed. I am finishing a walnut slab to use for a bathroom vanity. I understand that the deep cracks and checks are recommended to be filled with epoxy. I intend to finish with Waterlox. My questions are:
1. Do all the tiny pinholes also need to be filled with epoxy(there's a bunch) or will Waterlox do the trick?
2. Should I do all the sanding first before any epoxy and then sand the epoxy areas OR do the epoxy first and then do all the sanding?


Thanks in advance for any opinions and advice!
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post #2 of 10 Old 05-26-2018, 03:08 AM
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In my opinion, if you are sealing the slab from moisture, then you will want to seal the pinhoes, too. I prefer to do the epoxy work before sanding, otherwise you will often sand uneven spots into the wood surrounding the epoxied areas because the epoxy is harder than the wood, and each time you pass over it with the sanding, you will remove more wood than epoxy. I generally tend to prefer scraping off the excess buildup of epoxy with a very sharp scraper before sanding, or a block plane, or even a sharp chisel, depending on the size and proximity of it. This helps prevent that gouging during sanding.
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post #3 of 10 Old 05-26-2018, 08:07 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply. That is pretty much what I was thinking. The thought of filling every last tiny hole seems daunting but I want to do it right. Any opinion on Waterlox as a finisher?
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post #4 of 10 Old 05-26-2018, 09:40 AM
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I think what you are describing is the grain texture which walnut has. If this texture is unacceptable then you should use a pastewood grain filler prior to using the waterlox. Most come in a natural color which any paint store could tint for you to a walnut color. You could purchase a grain filler here already tinted. http://www.mohawk-finishing.com/cata...asp?ictNbr=105

The waterlox finish would be as good as any for what you are doing.
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post #5 of 10 Old 05-27-2018, 07:47 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks, I haven't heard of that. I'll check it out. Definitely want it to be as natural as possible but sealed. Any tips in how to scribe the edges to the not so straight drywall?
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post #6 of 10 Old 05-29-2018, 02:52 AM
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First off, I was assuming you had meant beetle holes, If you are simply referring to the wood grain, then Steve is correct. You do not need to fill the grain with epoxy. Personally, I am not a fan of waterlox. For bathroom and kitchens where moisture is going to always be a factor, I prefer spraying a satin polurethane. Personal preference, though.


As for the scribing, back edge or sides? If your piece is 1 1/2" thick, that's a lot of wood to have to scribe. I will often use a router and undercut the hidden edge a little bit so that the portion I am scribing is only about 3/8" thick. It's a lot easier than trying to scribe 1 1/2" of thickness, but you obviously cannot do that on the sides, at least not all the way to the front edge. You don't want that undercut to be visible in front.



Another thing you could do is to take a large piece of cardboard, as big as your slab, and cut that pretty close to the size, then scribe that to fit as exactly as you can. Then place it on top of your slab and trace the scribe lines onto the slab. Carefully plane to the outer edges of your pencil lines, then finish the last minute amounts by shaving or sanding a little at a time.
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post #7 of 10 Old 05-29-2018, 06:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dhawk View Post
Thanks, I haven't heard of that. I'll check it out. Definitely want it to be as natural as possible but sealed. Any tips in how to scribe the edges to the not so straight drywall?
Walls are almost never straight. You could set the splash in place and use a pencil holding it against the wall and drag it across the top to mark a line. If it were me I would leave the gap and make back splashes. Without a backsplash you will be plagued with the caulk between the top and the wall cracking. Every time the weather changes or the house shifts the wall will pull away from the cabinet and leave a small crack which will having you caulking the counter over and over. Even if you make the splash out of wood it would help you a lot preventing this.
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post #8 of 10 Old 05-30-2018, 09:58 AM Thread Starter
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I assume they are some sort beetle holes. I should have made that more clear. I have since filled them with epoxy, however, when trying to smooth and scrape the excess, most are popping out altogether. I guess I need to slow down and sand them. As for the edges, there are only two, one side and the back. See the attached pic of the mock up. I understand the back splash concept but wasn't really planning on having one as I don't think it would look good with the minimal design. I'll reconsider my options. Would the spray poly be shinier than a waterlox finish? I don't want it to be too shiny or plastic looking.
Thanks!
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post #9 of 10 Old 05-31-2018, 12:24 AM
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Interesting. No cabinet beneath it? Well anyway, that's actually a lot easier to do. I think we were mostly picturing a standard bathroom vanity with a long back edge, and maybe one or two sides in between walls. This is pretty small. Just hold it in place and measure the gap at the back. If it's 1/8", then mark it at 1/8" at the front edge. That's how much you need to take off there. Measure every 2" from the back and make corresponding marks from the front. It's not very much to take off, so you're probably just going to have to plane it. Or you could take some off with a jointer and finish with a block plane or sanding block.


I spray satin polyurethane, thinned 10%. Multiple light coats, dry 24 hours between coats, light sanding between coats. Not a completely matte finish, but it looks comparable to lacquer if you do a good job, not too glossy. You want to make sure that you do the drain hole, edges, and the bottom, too. So you want it to be completely ready to install before finishing, i.e. cutouts, faucet holes, etc. They all need to get the finish. I usually do 5-6 coats for this type of thing.
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post #10 of 10 Old 05-31-2018, 02:13 AM Thread Starter
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Yep, it's a small piece /space. Thought not having a cabinet under would help make the space feel bigger. The gap is not the same all the way across as some spots touch others not so much so your every two inch measurement makes sense. Thanks again!
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