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Rustic Furniture from the log - Glass Top Tables - Tree Table Sculpture P.O. Box 413, 2608 Ave. E, Wilson, Kansas, 67490, US
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More about finishes
In preparing finishes we put practicality of maintenance as a number one priority. Most folks do not wish to spend undue amounts of time maintaining a finish. Some of the oil finishes in history of wood working require more maintenance, and are not as resistant to water or alcohol staining as today's urethanes and varnishes.
For this reason, you may see upon this web site "hand rubbed oil finish, topped with satin urethane". The top dressing (finish) is to provide modern protections of today's urethanes while,the applications of hand rubbed oils are to enhance the characteristic traits of the wood. Hand rubbed oils bring OUT (towards you) the minute details of wood graining.Details that would not otherwise be visible to the naked eye. This is due to the penetration of the oils down into the wood grain. (more)
Urethanes and varnishes, on the other hand are what is called a "build" or "build up" finish. Meaning, they do not penetrate. Rather, they set on top of the wood as sort of a protective shield. Which is a good thing. However, this shield is not entirely clear and multiple coats create translucency (not clear) and will start to hide the detailing of the wood grain.
Do you notice this? No, not really. You can't notice what you don't see. So, in furniture stores, you see the beauty, as presented. You do not see what is not presented. Even though it is there. It lurks below the surface of today's build up finishes. Mostly this is done for competitive cost reasons. The mfg's live in a cost competitive world and sales are related to this issue. Thus, they cut time out of finishes by going to fast drying laquers and other build up finishes. Is this bad? Not necessarily. There are many pretty wood grained tables or other items with build up finishes.. Millions of them.
It is really more of a matter of "the best" or having the "best of the best". The fine detail that arises from hand rubbed oils is incredible and better than most have ever seen. (more on hand rubbing)
Over the course of my study in this area I made some comprimising decisions. I like the detailed graining that is brought out by hand rubbed oils. On the other hand, I like for it to be maintainable by my clients without, a lot of monthly or semi annual maintenance.
Thus the following proceedure evolved.
My Oil finishes topped with urethanes sounds a bit counter productive as it would seem I am working hard to bring out the detailing by using the hand rubbed oil ( it also requires SUPER fine sandings) just to turn around and cover it up with urethanes and hide the work I just achieved. Such is not the case and here is why.
First of all, not all oils can be successfully covered with urethanes. The urethanes will not adhere. The oil that works is "teak oil". Teak, after drying for 72 hours, may be urethaned on top of.
Secondly, not ALL urethanes are totally "build up"finishes as described, above. There is one, which is called "Min Wax hand rubbed poly". Min Wax does not really mean for you to hand rub it.They refer to it as hand rubbed beauty. However, donning latex gloves, one can hand rub this urethane in TO the grain. That is exactly what we do.
The result: best of the best! Spectacular beauty of detailed grain of the wood, and protection of today's finishes.. wa la!! Another narrative on "BEST OF THE BEST" finishes (here).
Care and Maintenance of the finish.
I'll keep this real simple. Use "Old English" brand, furniture oils.