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Alan Sweet
163 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
its a question on finishing on a lathe.

I am making some ornaments. The young lady I've been married to for the better part of my life has a couple requirements for ornaments that will hang on the Christmas tree.

1. They need a mirror finish. The globes and the finials.
2. They need to be about 9 inches long. (so globe 3 inches, 2.5 inches for top and 3.5 inches for icicle.

I am having a problem getting a consistent high gloss finish across the entire ornament.


WTF. Sand to 600, compressed air blow off, 8-10 coats. Let each dry for about an hour. Buffing compound and Carnuba wax. The globes are ok; on a scale 1-10 they are a 8+. Finials and icicle, 7+.

Waterlox. Sand to 800, compressed air. 3-4 coats. Steel wool between coats. Buffing compound and Carnuba wax. Globe 9. Finials and icicle vary; not consistent, but around 7-8.

CA. Globe & finials. sand until 600. Blow off. 6-8 coats of CA. Wet sand MIcro mesh ligthly until 15000. Wet clean off then One Step finish. Buffing compound and Carnuba wax. Globe 10. Finials and Icicle 8+, but ca build up in decorations.

Personal mix. (1/3 mineral spirits, 1/3 shellac (w wax), 1/3 Walnut oil). Globe & finials sand until about 600. Blow off. 6-8 coats of finish apply like fiction finish. Buffing compound and Carnuba wax. Globe 9. Finials and icicle vary; not consistent, but around 7-8.

Going to try Clear Gloss lacquer next. Sand until 600, Blow off. spray Deft. Lightly sand spray again.

Ok. Somebody has to have a better approach than I.

Does anyone have blue magic they can rent or sell? :)


Senior Member
7,222 Posts
My local woodturning club has a person who frequently brings in some of his bowls for "Show and Tell". They all have a smooth glossy finish, since he says that it what his customers want.

He uses Minwax wipe on poly. Several coats. Before each coat he buffs with the Beall buffing wheel and Tripoli compound (first of the 3 wheels). He said this gives him the smoothest surface and glossy shine without sanding.


After seeing his projects, I purchased the Beall buffing system. It is terrific.

I use the Tripoli compound to buff my pieces before I apply any finish. It is amazing how many small scratches can still be present, but do not appear until finish is applied, then too late.

Now I can find any problems, re-sand and re-buff.

For a hard coat finish I use either Minwax Wipe-On-Poly (***) or General Finish's Salad Bowl Finish.


The Salad Bowl Finish goes on thicker, but still hand applied with lint free cloth. I get few dust spots. Very light sanding between coats, mostly to get the next coat to adhere.

After the final coat I re-buff with the Tripoli compound.

If you want to send me one of your pieces, I will be happy to buff this for you to be able to compare against your present method.
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