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Discussion Starter #1
I am working on a slab of wormy maple (for a coffee bar top) that is pretty punky and rotten in certain places. I am going to be finishing it with Arm-R-Seal and am worried about wasting a bunch that soaks deep into the punky parts of the grain. The slab has a lot of character (and filled epoxy sections) so I'm not worried about blotchyness necessarily, but my question is will wood conditioner help the finish from soaking too deep? Or are there any other benefits to using a wood conditioner on a piece that won't be stained? I always use it on pine that will be stained but I've never used it on something like this. I've attached a photo of the piece before an epoxy for reference.

Thanks for the help!
 

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The wood conditioner would help a little preventing the finish from soaking in as much. A sanding sealer would do the job easier and better.
 

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I've epoxied all of the voids and sanded them back down but I prefer to not have a high-gloss finish like what pouring epoxy over the whole thing would do if I can help it.

I looked into the sanding sealer and it seems to be just what I need. Thanks, Steve! I'd never heard of the stuff.
 

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Sawing against the Wind
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I know a guy that uses epoxy BUT to get the dull sheen he poly's with sheen of choice OR sands with a grit to match the sheen desired.

I've used 2 different products for filling the soft wood....BOTH require time/multiple layers. With MOST finishes that are thinner the soft areas absorb it as fast as you can pore it BUT each one HAS to dry prior adding next coat. I've learned to put first coat on bottom and top to get it starting to seal and also lets you know where the soft spots are for future filling. Then a s each coat has dried per specs I add the layers/coats and use the thinner recommended by manufacture soaked in a rag to remove from the glossy/puddling/nonsoaking areas over onto the soft ones. This usually takes 3-4 before you see the soft not soaking up anymore then you're at ground zero to start the # of coats you desire.
I've used Waterlox original and also Heritage Natural Finishes. I have success with both, the waterlox to me fills a little quicker BUT I love the Heritage look. Both are easily added to to repair IF needed without stripping or bonding issues. I've also filled with waterlox and finaled with Heritage as from what I was told they both have the same basic ingredients that will cross over and not clash. I've seen both be finished as dull/low sheen or as polished/high sheen as one desires.
There are a few more natural "green" epoxies BUT I'm not familiar enough to recommend or reference. Jay Whitecloud would be able to help you there....he's very familiar with Heritage finishes also.

I hope this helps.....PLEASE post pics of progress...WE love to see the transformations through the stages of reviving and keeping wood ALIVE!!!

I'm adding a link of mine regarding the slab finishes....THE majority of these pieces have Heritage Natural Finishes on them. https://photos.app.goo.gl/lvRqPJjr6LbAO6at1
 

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I'm not keen on epoxies in general accept for very specific work, usually of a very modern nature.

I use it in the design and building of aquarium and vivarium, but never really in furniture work at all. Frankly I don't use any modern "plastics" for such work because it simply can't develop a traditional patina as we find in all our loved and coveted antiques.

In your case, if you do have some seriously soft punky wood, there are a number of wood solidifies designed specifically for this. Abatron makes some, but I prefer a more sustainable and plant based product for such work. Ecopoxy for...just those soft areas...that need to be solidified, then I sand/plane the surface back to natural bare wood.

For achieving a long term (centuries or longer) finish that is capable of developing a traditional rich patina. I use a blend from Heritage Finishes...The grain of such wood will have a depth of color and grain that you really can not achieve with modern plastic finishes...

Good Luck!!! That's a beautiful piece of wood!!!
 
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