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Discussion Starter #1
Newbie here, but long time lurker. I've dabbled in small projects throughout the years, but never undertaken anything major until now. I'm in the process of building a crib for my future tax credit. I normally deal in oak and pine, but for this I decided to venture into unknown territory....namely wormy maple.

Being this is a wood I have never worked with, I'm hoping to get some guidance from the pros here.

First, I want to highlight the natural grain and contrast of the wood. I don't want to drastically change the color of it.

Second, after the finish, I'll need to seal it. I'm thinking a shellac, but I've never worked with it before and don't know how it will work with the maple.

Finally, I don't know what is baby safe. According to the latest news report, everything on the planet is unsafe for a baby. So I need to figure out how to finish it properly, while maintaining some sort of concern for the little crumb snatcher. ;)

So if you had to put a finish on wormy maple, what would you use?
 

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I think you would be better off with a polyurethane especially if the finish is to be brushed. Shellac is a natural product and it's possible a baby may have an allergic reaction to it. It also doesn't brush very well because the second or more coats will melt into the first coat and you could remove about as much finish brushing as you are applying unless you apply it really fast. Shellac is just a lot easier sprayed.
 

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Steve, thanks for the info. I have a full HVLP setup for spraying if needed. I've got a fair amount of experience with paint, but never a finishing product on wood. I understand that spraying shellac is fairly easy, but that the shellac can be corrosive to your gun if not cleaned immediately. Is this correct?

I had not thought about allergies. What I was most concerned with is a kid eating the finish. I've never seen a crib that wasn't chewed on by a teething kid. This is my concern with poly finishes. Is this something to legitimately be concerned about?
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Fair enough. In that case, I'll go with what I know and leave the shellac experimenting to smaller projects.

Is there a stain that you guys would recommend for wormy maple?
 

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All finishes produced and sold in the US since the mid-1970' have been required to be non-toxic when cured. However, Shellac is not a good choice. Shellac will not stand up to baby saliva or to supermarket cleaning products that contain ammonia or other chemicals. The best choice, as already said, is to use an oil based varnish or poly varnish. To apply it easily, thin it 50/50 with mineral spirits and wipe it on. Three coats should be fine.
 

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I really don't know about what paints, shellac or poly to use but info know babies will chew on the edges. They sell a plastic cover for the rail of the crib. So if the baby chews on it, they won't be chewing on the rail.
 

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Steve, thanks for the info. I have a full HVLP setup for spraying if needed. I've got a fair amount of experience with paint, but never a finishing product on wood. I understand that spraying shellac is fairly easy, but that the shellac can be corrosive to your gun if not cleaned immediately. Is this correct?

I had not thought about allergies. What I was most concerned with is a kid eating the finish. I've never seen a crib that wasn't chewed on by a teething kid. This is my concern with poly finishes. Is this something to legitimately be concerned about?
I'm the worst about keeping a gun clean. I think almost any finish I've ever used has stayed in a sprayer for a week or more at one time or another and I've never noticed any corrosion. I have had aniline dyes corrode a gun a little leaving it for days. If you clean the gun in a more reasonable timeframe I'm sure you have nothing to worry about.

The resin shellac is made from is secreted by an insect, the lac bug. It is a product more than likely from India. I just really don't know what the effects would be from ingesting this resin. A polyurethane on the other hand I think would be harder and less likely to chew very much off and what was ingested would be a plastic and would just pass through the body.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I do know that ingesting shellac is perfectly fine. It is a commonly used food ingredient. "Confectioners glaze" is actually shellac. Take a look around your kitchen and you're likely to find it in jelly beans and other candy products. It is also used to coat ice cream cones, and even apples.

I'm definitely going poly. I picked a up some satin wipe on poly last night. I can't seem to find a stain that does the wormy maple justice, so I think I will leave it unstained and just poly coat it.
 

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I figure I might as well post up a pic of the finished product. I ended up using a wipe-on poly. I did a good job of bringing out the character of the wood.

This was done entirely with a Kreg jointer, a crappy table saw, and a drill.

 
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