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Expert's Corner — water

TIP: Correcting Stains from Rain Water Spots

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TIP: Correcting Stains from Rain Water Spots

If you transport unfinished wood or an unfinished wooden object through rain or sprinkling, the water drops will raise the grain, and wood stains will show up darker over these spots. The cause is the rough raised grain retaining more of the stain. The accompanying picture shows an example of what can happen. There are two ways to avoid the spotty staining, both involving sanding (even if the wood has already been sanded). The first is to sand the wood thoroughly to remove the raised grain over the spots. The second is to wipe over all the wood with a...

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Aging and Antiquing Wood Part 2

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Last month we featured an article by extraordinary woodworker, Charles Neil, showing how to create antique finishes. Below is the second part of the article. Before reading the article, take a look at Charles’s latest project, a gorgeous coffee table made from “junk wood.” It looks so far from being “junk” and is really a stunning piece of sculpture. We love the “bird’s nest” below the table. Charles loves to experiment with finishes, and use his knowledge to play with techniques, wood and coatings. We can all learn from his ideas. Here are some great tips from a great finisher: This...

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TIP: Water-Based Finish on White Woods

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TIP: Water-Based Finish on White Woods

There are a number of considerations when choosing the type of finish you want to use. These include durability, ease of clean-up, odor, etc. But one consideration doesn’t seem to be fully appreciated, and that is the color the finish imparts to the wood. The accompanying picture shows water-based finish on a pine floor. The pine will darken some as it ages, but for a number of years the water-based finish will give the floor a unique and attractive look. This same look can be achieved with all white woods such as maple and birch. And these woods won’t darken.Most...

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TIP: Murphy's Oil Soap

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During my career refinishing furniture, Murphy’s Oil Soap has morphed from a regionally-available natural soap made with potassium hydroxide (similar to lye) and vegetable oil to a nationally-available furniture-care product. I watched this transformation happen and find the story fascinating. I find it fascinating because furniture and woodwork don’t get dirty very often and washing them with soap and water when they aren’t dirty can only cause problems. Water gets under a finish through cracks and splits and causes the finish to peel. Everyone knows this at some level (just look at the peeling paint on building exteriors) so how...

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TIP: Basic Understanding of Solvents

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Following is a basic understanding of the common solvents available in paint stores and home centers. Mineral spirits (paint thinner) and naphtha dilute and clean up oils and varnishes, including oil-based polyurethane varnish. Neither of these solvents damage any fully dried finish, so you can safely use them for cleaning—that is, removing grease or wax. Denatured alcohol thins and cleans up shellac. This solvent will damage a dried shellac finish almost instantly and lacquer and water-based finish fairly quickly, so be very careful if you use alcohol for cleaning. Lacquer thinner and acetone thin and clean up all solvent-based lacquer...

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