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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I want to accentuate the spalting and the contrast in wood color. I want a hard surface that is semi gloss. The problem with spalted sycamore is that it takes on finish with different degrees of coverage, sometimes having dry spots. I have minwax wood finish that seals and the excepts polyurethane finish( does anyone know if The minwax will take lacquer, ) any and all suggestions are welcome. Project is done but I hear that spalted sycamore is hard to finish nice.
 

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Well, I use epoxy as a base coat on tables mainly for the durability and it's ability to spring out the grain.
Once 1 to 2 are on, I wait a week and go after it with a good sanding and the final finishes. But that is an extreme, and if you haven't done it before, there are a lot of surprises in the process.
 

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Minwax wood finish will stain more evenly and better than any stain I've ever used however it is not very permanent. Within ten years you can see a noticeable amount of fading in the color. For this reason I've suspended using it. I am currently using Sherwin Williams oil stains. After either of the stains are dry you can put lacquer over it. What would happen if you put lacquer over it too soon is the lacquer would have a chemical reaction with the oils in the stain and turn white in the crevasses. I wouldn't recommend lacquer for a hard finish. In my opinion an oil based polyurethane is a far better finish. If you do want to use lacquer, a better lacquer would be a catalyzed lacquer. You would seal the wood with a vinyl sealer first with that product.

 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Minwax wood finish will stain more evenly and better than any stain I've ever used however it is not very permanent. Within ten years you can see a noticeable amount of fading in the color. For this reason I've suspended using it. I am currently using Sherwin Williams oil stains. After either of the stains are dry you can put lacquer over it. What would happen if you put lacquer over it too soon is the lacquer would have a chemical reaction with the oils in the stain and turn white in the crevasses. I wouldn't recommend lacquer for a hard finish. In my opinion an oil based polyurethane is a far better finish. If you do want to use lacquer, a better lacquer would be a catalyzed lacquer. You would seal the wood with a vinyl sealer first with that product.

Thanks for the response , when using the minwax wood finish they suggest using a final Polyurethane finish over the top of it. I used it just by itself on a large grandmother clock and just left it it ,seems to be holding its own for about 10 years now. But I wanted a dry finish on the clock. I want a semi gloss on this table. When you used the Minwax wood Finnish dip you poly over it. My table has end grain spalted sycamore that I need to finnish. My research says that first sycamore is hard to finish doesn't go on evenly it'splotchy and end grain wood when finished can be splotchy even more. some suggest a seal coat to keep it more even. What I want to do is use oil based Polyurethane with a percentage of Linseed oil mixed with mineral spirits to make it a rub on finish and put as many coats as I need for the finish I'm looking for and blochyness I'll concentration more finish on those parts until it is even. but should I use the Minwax first is my concern.
 

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Rick Mosher
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Sycamore is a beautiful light colored wood when finished natural. What color are you staining it? I would never use Minwax stains on anything much less a table top. Steve says they told him they use dye in their formulation but I have my doubts. Every can of Minwax stain I have ever opened have a glob of pigment separated out in the bottom of the can. Dyes don't separate out.

I just posted a reply to another post that would partially work for you. Wet sanding the clear will seal off any variations in absorption in your wood allowing the finish to do its job in less coats.

If you are staining the sycamore I would only use a dye stain. Either Transtints, Lockwood, Sherwin Williams S61 or Mohawk NGR stains and I would only spray the stain on, no wiping. Obviously if you stain then you wouldn't be able to wet sand the clear stain base and would just wipe it on and wipe it back off.

I guess I would need to know if you can spray and have access to a good spray booth before I would recommend a finish.
 

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For Minwax to call their stain a finish is just marketing. The Minwax Finish is just a stain. There needs to be something more substantial to seal over it. You should at least put a tung oil or paste wax over the stain on your grandmother clock. Personally I think wood needs to be finished with a film coating. The only wood I've worked with that finishes well with a oil finish is walnut and teak.

As far as the Minwax stain, it doesn't retain the color as well as other brands of stain. If you had a sunny kitchen and you stained the cabinets with Minwax stain, in about 10 years if you replaced a door you better thin the stain or it would be too dark.

As far as the spalted sycamore, you can use a premade wood conditioner or make a homemade brew with any finish by thinning it down very thin. All it does is seal the soft part of the wood so when you stain it, it stains evenly. This should eliminate the splotchy spots. I've never had much luck modifying polyurethane or other varnish products. It works better for me to use it right out of the can and applied with a soft brush in as thin a coats as I can apply.
 

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I would never use Minwax stains on anything much less a table top. Steve says they told him they use dye in their formulation but I have my doubts. Every can of Minwax stain I have ever opened have a glob of pigment separated out in the bottom of the can. Dyes don't separate out.
I spent a weekend with George Frank, a famous finisher, who agreed with you. He had nothing but disdain for Minwax. He'd tried to get them to tell him exactly what was in their products, and they would not.
I use them, because for some things, they work, whatever they are, but I can say that over the years, they have muddied their pallet to the point where you can hardly tell their red mahogany from their golden oak, both of which, 40 years ago, were saturated and vibrant.
 

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I am making walking sticks out of beautiful twisted, curved branches of sycamore. I want to seal the stick with a non-shiny sealer but most importantly, maintain the white color of the sycamore. Any suggestions???
 
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