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Expert's Corner — brush

Caring for Natural Bristle Brushes used with Water Based Paints

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Caring for Natural Bristle Brushes used with Water Based Paints

1. Always wash a new brush before you use it.  I use Dawn Liquid Detergent in the shop, but you can use most any detergent that doesn’t contain bleach.  Bleach will dry out your bristles, just like your hair. I squeeze the detergent into the palm of my hand and then carefully mash my brush bristles into the soap. Rinse with cool water. This will help remove any loose bristles before you begin to paint.  This step will prevent those pesky hairs from ending up on your canvas, chair, or trim.  Once you have washed your brush smack it on the...

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TIP: Two tricks to successful French polishing

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There are two very useful tricks to getting good results when French polishing. The first is to achieve a one-foot-or-less “comet’s tail” trailing the pad as you move it over the surface—as shown in the accompanying picture. This tail is made by the alcohol in the French-polishing solution evaporating through the oil (also in the solution). If the tail is too long, the pad is too wet, and you’ll probably damage the surface. When the tail gets really short, just a couple of inches, this is the signal that you need to add more shellac, alcohol and oil (I use...

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TIP: Two tricks to successful French polishing

alcohol brush marks mineral oil rag shellac the finishing store tracks wood woodfinishing woodwork woodworking

There are two very useful tricks to getting good results when French polishing. The first is to achieve a one-foot-or-less “comet’s tail” trailing the pad as you move it over the surface—as shown in the accompanying picture. This tail is made by the alcohol in the French-polishing solution evaporating through the oil (also in the solution). If the tail is too long, the pad is too wet, and you’ll probably damage the surface. When the tail gets really short, just a couple of inches, this is the signal that you need to add more shellac, alcohol and oil (I use...

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Ebonized Finishes

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Ebonize is a fancy word for “make it black” To be honest, when I read all the concoctions that folks use to achieve a black color onwood, I get a chuckle, it’s amazing. I think the most popular one is using vinegar and 0000 steel wool. The process is to put the steel wool in a jar of vinegar and allow the acid in the vinegar to rust and eat away the steel wool forming a black liquid. My experience with this is that it’s inconsistent. The acid in the vinegar can also alterthe color of the wood and a...

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TIP: Finishing Over Waxed Wood

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It can be difficult to get a finish to flow out and stick well to bare wood that has been waxed. Here’s how to proceed. Wash off as much of the wax as possible with mineral spirits (paint thinner). You can use odorless mineral spirits if you want. Keep turning and changing your cloths or paper towels so you are lifting off and removing the wax and not just spreading it around. I’ve seen cases where the wax is so hard that mineral spirits doesn’t dissolve it easily. For these instances, you can try naphtha, acetone or lacquer thinner, and...

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