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Discussion Starter #1
Recently started playing around with my new (to me) mini lathe. I've been watching a lot of YouTube videos...mostly because I couldn't actually go out to the garage and play on the lathe because I also have a new knee...But now, finally, I have been able to get out and be upright for more than an hour at a time and I'm having fun making "boxes".
Anyways, I saw a couple guys on YouTube who had some type of really simple finishes that they applied while the project was still on the lathe (each of them used a different product). They wiped it on, and it was done (after drying I assume).
I watched so many YouTube videos, I can't remember which ones were the ones with the finish so that I can go back and find the name of the product they used. Anyways...I figured some of you guys would probably have some favorite products that I can try. Not looking for a stain, just a clear finish....and if it makes it shiny, that would not hurt my feelings either.
For now, I want "simple". Just wiping the product on is about as simple as it gets. I don't think I want tongue oil, but I can be talked into it. Eventually, I might lacquer some of them, but that's also not what I'm looking for. I know that there are lots of products out there...all with their own attributes....but I'm hoping you guys will be able to help me nail what I'm looking for without having to buy 87 different things, and sorting them all out through trial and error...which is what I normally do (mostly error!).

Thanks in advance!

Brad
 

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Ask 10 different woodturners what their favorite finish is, and you'll get 20 answers.

One consideration is whether your turned project needs to be food safe. Another consideration is the durability of the finish. If you are turning pens, you may want a more durable finish.

Here are a few finishes that are common among woodturners:

IMPORTANT - Use very SMALL rags and cloths or paper towels. If the lathe grabs it, you don't want it to injure you or take a finger.

* Friction Polishes are usually a combination of alcohol, shellac and a wax, usually carnauba wax. You apply it on the turning with a SMALL rag, then buff it. The heat friction of buffing evaporates the alcohol, leaving the shellac and shining up the wax until it reaches a glossy shine. Mylands, Shellawax, and Hut Crystal Coat are examples. I have Hut Crystal Coat - it is okay, but I will try something else when it runs out.

* CA (super glue) finishes are good for small turnings, like pens, bottle stoppers, and small handles. Crystal clear and very tough, they take a little practice to get it right.

* Wax - Some woodturners take a block of beeswax or carnauba wax and touch it to the turning on a lathe, they spread it around with a small cloth before buffing it out.

* Boiled Linseed Oil (BLO, not food safe because it has metallic driers) and similar oil finishes, sometimes in combination with other finishes. Some oil finishes take a long time to cure.
-> I have Tried and True, an expensive linseed-oil based finish that is food and baby safe. I use it on bowls and also used it on a baby rattle.

* Shellac

* Lacquer

* Homemade finishes - Lots of recipes on the internet.

* Etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks T A

For now, I'm not worried about food safe, but that is a consideration for down the road.

"Friction Polishes are usually a combination of alcohol, shellac and a wax, usually carnauba wax. You apply it on the turning with a SMALL rag, then buff it. The heat friction of buffing evaporates the alcohol, leaving the shellac and shining up the wax until it reaches a glossy shine. Mylands, Shellawax, and Hut Crystal Coat are examples. I have Hut Crystal Coat - it is okay, but I will try something else when it runs out."


This is probably closer to what I am looking for. What is it that you are considering to use instead of the Hut Crystal Coat?

(By the way, thanks for the reminder about the SMALL rags. That was the plan, but when dealing with a total newbie to turning, it's always a good idea to make that point. I'm still really timid about anything that is spinning, and it will take me a while to get comfortable with even sandpaper!)
 

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Thanks T A

For now, I'm not worried about food safe, but that is a consideration for down the road.

"Friction Polishes are usually a combination of alcohol, shellac and a wax, usually carnauba wax. You apply it on the turning with a SMALL rag, then buff it. The heat friction of buffing evaporates the alcohol, leaving the shellac and shining up the wax until it reaches a glossy shine. Mylands, Shellawax, and Hut Crystal Coat are examples. I have Hut Crystal Coat - it is okay, but I will try something else when it runs out."


This is probably closer to what I am looking for. What is it that you are considering to use instead of the Hut Crystal Coat?

(By the way, thanks for the reminder about the SMALL rags. That was the plan, but when dealing with a total newbie to turning, it's always a good idea to make that point. I'm still really timid about anything that is spinning, and it will take me a while to get comfortable with even sandpaper!)
I bought the Hut Crystal Coat at the recommendation of a knowledgeable friend who uses it in his turning classes. He gets better results than I do, and it is relatively low cost compared with other brands.

The problem with the Hut Crystal Coat is that I get a modest gloss, but not the "high gloss" that it promises. Occasionally I get a very high gloss, but I can't explain why it happens nor have I figured out how to make it repeatable. It is frustrating, but I keep trying.

Several of my friends swear by EEE polish, followed by Shellawax. Both are made by the same company in Australia. Maybe I will try that. Until I try them myself, it is hard to give useful advice to you. Sorry.

With wood finishes, it is hard to separate the hype from the truth. There are a lot of overhyped, overpriced finishes on the market. The sky is the limit - check out the price of "Odie's Oil." Some people are "true believers" and swear by a certain finish. Many woodworkers mix their own cheap ingredients in an old jar and do as well or better. I buy commercial products out of convenience.

Hopefully others here will chime in with their favorites.

The friction polishes are fast, easy, and yield a nice shine. Because they are shellac and wax, they are not super durable for woodturning objects that get a lot of handling, like pens or the handles for bottle openers and pizza cutters. I use a CA finish on those.

The trick to effectively applying friction polishes is to flash up the friction heat quickly after applying it. That's easier said than done. If you leave the friction polish to sit or increase the friction heat gradually, the alcohol will evaporate before you reach that "polish temperature." I apply it with the lathe set to the slowest speed on the knob, smooth it so it won't fling off, then twist the speed knob to full-on fast while pinching the tiny fold of cloth on the turning to bring up the heat. Be careful not to burn your fingers, and keep the cloth moving. It happens quickly.

In addition to remembering to only very small rags, be sure to cover the lathe ways (bed) before applying finishes. I use plastic grocery bags, weighed down with pieces of scrap wood to make sure that there is no chance that anything could get sucked into the spinning lathe.
 

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Tool Agnostic is right about getting 20 favorites from 10 people.

I really like General Finishes Salad Bowl Finish and General Finishes Woodturners Finish.

I've just started using the Salad Bowl Finish, but I absolutely love it. It dries slowly enough to flow out, but fast enough that it doesn't collect dust.
It doesn't look "thick" and the gloss is sensational.

Here's a picture of a recent Peppermill that has General Finishes Salad Bowl Finish on it.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Wow. That came out nice.
Thanks for the advice from both of you! I've got a couple of ideas to try now.
 
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