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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Is there a web site where we can check the various finishing products for their chemistry. This has come up for me with regard to Sanding Sealer and Wood Hardener by MinWax.

The usage descriptions seem strangely alike, but of course the two act quite differently on the wood. Still, I find myself wondering if Sanding Sealer isn't just a diluted version of the Wood Hardener. I had occasion to use the latter diluted with 25% acetone as an experiment alongside Sanding Sealer. The two applications seemed to be very much alike. A full strength application of Wood Hardener seems to act more like clear lacquer, with little of the penetration that MinWax claims.

Incidentally, I recently wanted to find a good treatment for my wife's cutting board. Tung Oil was not an option because of its surface build up, but there with it were two surface preps with two entirely different application descriptions. One was labeled as "Cutting Board treatment," and the other has a totally different implication for its purpose. A quick look at their labels and their composition revealed that BOTH were mineral oil.
 

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The mineral Oil is OK. It isn't Pennzoil 5W40. I bought a bottle of it in the drug store to use as a finish on some kitchen things. Label says it's a "mild laxative."
Been using olive oil for years as a finish. No, it doesn't go rancid. Maybe at the back of the cupboard after 60 years.

The Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) should tell you what's in it but possibly not the actual proportions.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
When I was a H.S. Freshman, my wood shop teacher made a point to tell us that we shouldn't use Elmer's Glue; Borden's white casein wood glue product. He told us that Leech Glue was better, and he had an arm-long list of reasons.

Fast forward 5 years:
I was attending Community College in the headquarter town of Leech Products, and working at Leech on the packaging line.

I'd bet you could never guess who our bulk supplier was.

Surely not Bordens, you say????

Guess again. It WAS Borden's.
 

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Wood hardener is intended for wood borderline of being rotten. It into the wood to prevent it from going completely rotten. They don't tell you what's in it. Functionally it would be like soaking the wood with super glue. The wood hardener isn't intended to be a finish and shouldn't be used for one.

Sanding sealer is a interior finish very similar to the topcoat that has an additive, usually zinc which softens the finish and makes it easier to sand. Functionally it's a clear primer. You build the finish with it and smooth it out and level the finish and then topcoat it. It would otherwise take a lot of elbow grease to sand and level a finish. Which sanding sealer are you using? Minwax makes three and none of them you thin with acetone. A finish is made with a resin and if you mix the wrong or too strong a solvent you can ruin the integrity of the resin and finish.

Mineral oil is the most common finish for a cutting board. A lot of companies package it in a fancy bottle and maybe add another ingredient and charge a whole lot more money.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I would quickly comment that I am not seeking to use Hardener or any other product as a finish in itself.

At present I am repurposing a very old recessed, raised panel residential entry door into a coffee table. I didn't realize at the time I took the door and started working on it that the wood was cottonwood, which is extremely soft and generates excessive and extremely fine dust. You can hardly touch it without putting a new dent or scratch in it. Even the boards of douglas fir I am using for added design are much softer than I would like. They tend to raise grain especially along beaded edges, and they are tending to split a lot.

What I am after is something to soak in and strengthen the wood at the surface to a few thousandths depth; hopefully 1/32 to 1/16 inch. I have tested the various chemicals on my scrap pieces in various dilutions from full strength to 50/50. 50/50 dilutions of Hardener/Acetone haven't worked as I have expected. Of course full strength hardener leaves too much above the surface and is nearly impossible to sand. I'm not sure how 5050 sanding-sealer/mineral spirits would be better.

So far, I've kind of actively avoided an old option offered by my instructor 50 years ago in my College Wood-shop class. He advocated a 10% solution of wood glue and water. I have avoided that at this time because our newer glues seem to doing a much stronger surface bond than a penetrating bond. The glue tends to stay on the surface.

Perhaps that offers an explaination of what I am looking for.
 

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The usage descriptions seem strangely alike, but of course the two act quite differently on the wood.
There are no websites that will give the public formulas for their products for "confidentiality" reasons. Most MSDS sheets will not give the entire raw materials used, and most of the time only list the stronger solvents in case of emergency's or spillage of products so cleanup can be done.

Im not sure how the descriptions of each are alike, nor usage descriptions as all/most products can be applied to wood in the same manner.....spray applied, hand applied, or brushed on.

Sanding sealer:
Minwax® Professional Formula Sanding Sealer is a clear sealer formulated for application over bare wood. Its quick dry feature allows for sealing and topcoating your project in just one day.

Wood Hardener:
Minwax® High Performance Wood Hardener is a quick drying liquid formulated to strengthen and reinforce decayed or rotting wood.

A sanding sealer will penetrate raw wood just like the wood hardener will, but will not reinforce the rotting wood as a hardener will because of the different resins, solvents, and driers used, so of course the chemistry between the 2 products are different.....but you will not find the products used in each because of what I said earlier....Confidentiality.

A sanding sealer is higher in solids and is meant to "build" a finish.
 
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