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Expert's Corner — Charles Neil

The Beauty of Waterborne Finishes

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It’s a rare finishing class that I don’t get someone who has been a die-hard user of solvents, such as lacquer, conversion varnish and the like, who is reluctant to try waterborne. There is certainly nothing wrong with those finishes, after all they have been around for years and have stood the test of time. Waterborne finishes are the new kid on the block, right? Well sort of. Ever used latex paint, either interior or exterior? Well, that is basically a waterborne finish and it too has stood the test of time. Now, thanks to some creative chemistry we have...

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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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Finishing Nightmares

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Ironically I just finished making a DVD by the same title, but that is not what this is about. I get a lot of emails from folks who have tried to get a good finish by following poor advice, but usually it is the result of poor products, they just don’t know it. There is an old cliché, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” and nowhere does this prove truer than in finishing. I got an email from a guy who was trying to get a fully filled, high gloss finish on a red oak...

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A Winning Finish

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A Winning Finish

Recently, I was involved in a “Woodworking Throw-Down” on the forums. In just a few days, I needed to create a table-top box to store remote controls and ‘stuff’ in. So I pondered on it a bit, then settled on a “Bombe” style, with a contemporary flair, and maybe a little Asian influence. Not what most would expect from me, I do a lot of period work, but I also do a lot of contemporary, so this should be fun. I used 6/4 Tiger Maple and a piece of Curly Claro Walnut. Now, the rest of the story. I...

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