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Expert's Corner — resistant

TIP: Finishing over waxed wood

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It’s not all that common, but sometimes you come across furniture, cabinets or woodwork that has a wax finish, and nothing else. There may be cases where you want to coat over with a more water- and scratch-resistant finish. How do you do this without having to go to the trouble of stripping the surface? The first step is to remove most of the wax. Do this by washing with a mineral-spirits, naphtha or acetone solvent. Wash, don’t just wipe. That is, soak a cloth or paper towel with the solvent and wet the wood well. Then dry it quickly...

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TIP: Gun Stock Finish

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The most popular homeowner gunstock finish is probably Tru-Oil. You can get it at almost every store that sells guns. Tru-Oil is polymerized linseed oil. It is linseed oil that has been cooked at high temperatures in an oxygen-free environment (inert gases) until it just begins to gel, then rapidly cooled. The cooking causes the carbon atoms to begin crosslinking. So when the finish is later exposed to oxygen in the air during the finishing process, the finish cures very rapidly. After the cooking the oil is very thick so the manufacturer adds mineral spirits to make the finish easier...

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Rubbing a Finish: The Key to Quality

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Of all the steps in finishing the one that people seem most hesitant about is “rubbing.” Yet rubbing a finish is as simple as sanding wood, and rubbing is the only step in finishing that can raise the quality of your work from average to special. No matter how careful you are, you can’t apply a perfect finish. A brush always leaves brush marks, and a spray gun usually leaves some orange peel. Worse, there’s always some dust in the air that can settle and stick to the finish. Rubbing removes these flaws, and, in addition, improves the tactile qualities...

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TIP: Boiled Linseed Oil vs. 100% Tung Oil as a Finish

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There are two widely available drying oils on the market that can be used as wood finishes: boiled linseed oil and 100% tung oil. Both dry to a non-sticky, very thin film after several days when all the excess is wiped off. Here’s a comparison of the two oils. Boiled linseed oil has driers added to make it dry much faster than raw linseed oil, which can take weeks or months to dry. The drying is adequate only when the excess is wiped off after each application. Tung oil doesn't contain driers. It takes two or three days to dry...

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