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I read a nice article in Fine Woodworking about a simple foolproof finishing technique that looked interesting. But i don't know if my wood (cocobola) is a good candidate.

It is just the top of a builtin display shelf but I want a very nice and natural finish due to it being very visible at the entry. I tried just using Renasaince microcrystaline wax but that really didn't give it the shine or protection I want, just sort of vanished after a while.

I normally use ArmRseal poly on table tops and I like the richness imparted by the oil based finish. But given the very dark color of my cocobola piece maybe this FWW foolproof finish will look nice and natural.

Going by memory, they put on Sealcoat as a sealer, lightly sanded and put on a wipe on gel varnish. Then they finished with a dark wax. I guess you could skip the wax if the color was ok after the varnish??

What do you all think of the FWW finishing tips? I've never used shellac so I'm worried the Sealcoat won't give the wood that nice oil glow I am used to w/ poly.
 

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The first coat of any film finish is a sealer. You do not need a separate product. Any good varnish can be thinned with mineral spirits to a wiping consistantcy(30-60%) and applied with a rag. This will give you the amber coloring you want and it is a very simple finish to apply.

Regards

Jerry
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The first coat of any film finish is a sealer. You do not need a separate product. Any good varnish can be thinned with mineral spirits to a wiping consistantcy(30-60%) and applied with a rag. This will give you the amber coloring you want and it is a very simple finish to apply.

Regards

Jerry
So what is a good varnish? Is my ArmRSeal a good brand?

I know the first coat is a sealer, but I think the point of using the shellac is sort of as a grain filling sealer. At least I think that's what they were after int he FWW article, but I 'm not sure.

And I think the final wax coat just gives it a nicer shade, they were using a dark wax.
 

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I did a job where they had this alcove built into the bedroom wall, and it was about 6" deep x 4' wide x 5' high. We did this staggered shelving out of cocobolo. I hand sanded those pieces to 600 grit, and I'll tell you what, after the 600g, it was as though there was fire inside that wood. You know those thin bits of orangeish in the grain and in between? They just lit up brightly, and the wood took on a whole new depth. So I would never recommend putting ANY darkening agent on that wood. Ever. What I did was, I rubbed a bit of mineral oil into that wood, and rubbed it in good, then wet sanded with 600 Grit. Gods! Did it glow!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I did a job where they had this alcove built into the bedroom wall, and it was about 6" deep x 4' wide x 5' high. We did this staggered shelving out of cocobolo. I hand sanded those pieces to 600 grit, and I'll tell you what, after the 600g, it was as though there was fire inside that wood. You know those thin bits of orangeish in the grain and in between? They just lit up brightly, and the wood took on a whole new depth. So I would never recommend putting ANY darkening agent on that wood. Ever. What I did was, I rubbed a bit of mineral oil into that wood, and rubbed it in good, then wet sanded with 600 Grit. Gods! Did it glow!
I finished some table legs from Laos Rosewood and they polished great w/ plain wax. But I wasn't sure about a tabletop, if I should put something harder on it.

But this stuff is hard and beautiful on it's own, maybe it doesn't need anything. I guess that's why I paid $20/ft for it. We have a dresser made from Jacaranda but it has some type of sealer on it that is very beautiful & hard, I wish I knew what it was.
 

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I've used cocobolo a few times and have always found that french polishing shows the wood off wonderfully. I've read that it can be problematic to put varnish on because the very high oil content of the wood can inhibit the drying process. My recommendation: prepare the surface by sanding thoroughly with every grit from 150 to 1200 and then do a traditional french polish.
 
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