Cart 0

Expert's Corner — varnishes

TIP: Durable Finish for Enclosed Spaces

air cabinet humidor lacquer the finishing store varnishes wood woodfinishing woodwork woodworking

TIP: Durable Finish for Enclosed Spaces

A key factor in choosing a finish for an enclosed space such as a drawer, cabinet interior, humidor or a small room such as a wine or liquor cellar is residual odor. All types of varnishes and lacquers outgas smelly solvents for many days or weeks depending on the thickness applied, the temperature, and the air movement. If you can’t allow that much time, you need to choose another finish. The two that will leave the least residual odor are shellac and water-based finish. Both contain solvents that evaporate fairly slowly (alcohol in shellac and glycol ether in water-based finish),...

Read more →


TIP: Tung Oil and Varnish Sold as Tung Oil

linseed oil paint resistance soya soybean the finishing store thinner tung varnish varnishes volunteer wood woodfinishing woodwork woodworking

Finishing is hard enough even without the mislabeling that is so prevalent on the part of many manufacturers. The mislabeling makes it difficult for us to know what we are buying and using. The accompanying picture shows dried puddles of two commonly available products both labeled “tung oil.” These two products could hardly be more different. The tung oil on the left is real tung oil, the oil produced from pressing the nuts from tung trees, which are native to China. A puddle of the oil dries wrinkled, and it never really hardens. You can always scrape it off with...

Read more →


The Beauty of Waterborne Finishes

Charles Neil furniture furniture-care lacquers solvent solvents the finishing store varnishes woodfinishing woodworking

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...

Read more →


Minimal Finish Odor

finish finishes finishing lacquers odor oil oils shellac the finishing store varnish varnishes woodfinishing woodworking

If you want as little finish smell as possible—for example, on cabinets in a house or office that is occupied, or on the inside of a box or chest—there are two finishes to choose between: water-based finish and shellac. Other finishes, including oils, varnishes and lacquers will require days and maybe longer for all the residual odor to dissipate. There are two major differences between water-based finish and shellac. Water-based finish is more scratch resistant and imparts no coloring to the wood. Shellac will scratch easier and add a warm yellow-orange tone to the wood. Both dry rapidly, so you...

Read more →


TIP: UV Varnishes Only Give So-So Protection

damage damages finish finishing flexner object panel slow sunlight the finishing store ultra-violet light uv uv-resistant varnishes woodfinishing woods woodworking z-spar

TIP: UV Varnishes Only Give So-So Protection

Normally, I use the accompanying photo to show that mass-marketed varnishes sold in home centers and most paint stores for exterior finishing don’t contain any more UV resistance than common interior varnishes. But the panel also shows that even the much more expensive varnishes sold in marinas still aren’t perfect at resisting UV light. I stained the panel with red dye (because red dye fades faster than most other colors) and coated the panel with five coats of four different varnishes. From left to right, a popular boat varnish from a marina, two common varnishes sold in home centers for...

Read more →

-->