Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: Finishing help for Walking Canes

  1. #1

    Finishing help for Walking Canes

    I've been producing some walking canes for friends and family, with Brazillian Cherry-Walnut laminate shafts, and handles made from Walnut crotch, highly figured Maple, Desert Ironwood, and even a piece of Gaboon Ebony I found in a box of wood that I inherited from a childhood neighbor who passed away in 2007.

    For the first time, someone wants to pay me to make one, which I'm only doing to help fund our pending adoption from Ethiopia. Because it's for someone who's paying, I want to make sure the finish is durable, and will look good for as long as possible.

    I've been using Tung oil, up to 9 coats, sanding between, and it's giving them a great glossy finish. I don't know, and then worry about how long the gloss will last, and how they will hold up to daily hand-contact and occasional outdoor exposure to the elements.

    Any thoughts on the Tung oil, or advice on what I should be using?

    Thanks so much,
    Andrew

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Shoreline, CT
    Posts
    2,921
    What brand of tung oil? Pure tung oil isn't likely to give a glossy finish, and shouldn't be allowed to build into a film on the surface since it wouldn't be very hard or durable. But, if you are using Formby's Tung Oil Finish, it isn't tung oil, it's a varnish. I don't think tung oil is the major oil used as an ingredient in the varnish. That will make a pretty durable finish, though it's an awfully expensive varnish if you use a lot. Waterlox varnish or Behlen Rockhard will give you a little tougher varnish service. You can thin them to what ever consistency works well for you.

  3. #3
    It's actually Minwax brand. So Behlen would be a good, durable finish? Would I be able to get a good gloss? Thanks for the advice!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Shoreline, CT
    Posts
    2,921
    The Minwax Tung Oil Finish is an oil/varnish mix, if you are getting a gloss finish, you have a film rather on the soft side. Behlen Rockhard is a varnish made with phenolic resin which is very tough. For wipe on application, thin about 50/50 with the Rockhard Reducer. I suspect mineral spirits would work too, but have a lingering suspicion that using the proprietary solvent is of benefit in this case.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Tomball, TX (30 miles NNW Houston)
    Posts
    2,721
    Behlens Rock Hard is indeed a HARD varnish. Thinning it with the Behlen's thinner seems to work better than thinning with plain mineral spirits.

    Formby's is an alkyd resin/soya oil varnish thinned 70% + with mineral spirits. WAY overpriced.
    Scott

    Finishing is an 'Art & a Science'. Actually, it is a process. You must understand the properties and tendencies of the finish you are using. You must know the proper steps and techniques, then you must execute them properly.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Shoreline, CT
    Posts
    2,921
    Formby's is over priced if you use lots of varnish. But, if you are only going to use one of their small containers for a given product and not use varnish again for long enough that an opened can wouldn't be usable, then you could be better off buying the small quantity than buying a quart and letting most of it go to waste.

  7. #7
    If canes are actually used rather than being collectors items then a durable finish is essential as few items take the abuse of a cane. I like wiped on polyurethane with many layers and 0000 steel wool between every other layer, then wax. I have not tried Rock Hard.
    Mike Null

    St. Louis Laser, Inc.

    Trotec Speedy 300, 80 watt
    Woodworking shop CLTT and Laser Sublimation
    Evolis Card Printer
    CorelDraw X5

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Tomball, TX (30 miles NNW Houston)
    Posts
    2,721
    Hi Mike,

    IMHO, steelwool between coats of poly is a bad idea. 3 reasons...

    I say never use steelwool between coats.

    Reason #1 you will leave shards of steel wool behind; then you will top coat it. Now you have steelwool IN your finish when water vapor gets to it, and it will, it will RUST - IN YOUR FINISH.

    Reason #2 Many steel wool products have oil to keep them from rusting so now you have oil on your surface... bad idea. (Poly already has trouble sticking, see reason #3).

    Reason #3 Poly does not stick well to itself or anything else for that matter that is why they tell you to sand between coats. Steelwool abrades the finish; it does not give enough "tooth" for poly to adhere well. 220 sand paper 320 at the finest.


    If these walking sticks will be used outside then... Poly will not do well outside; it is very susceptible to UV damage.
    Scott

    Finishing is an 'Art & a Science'. Actually, it is a process. You must understand the properties and tendencies of the finish you are using. You must know the proper steps and techniques, then you must execute them properly.

  9. #9
    Thanks for all the info everyone! I am sure glad that I asked before I started finishing the next one! Sounds like I need to get ahold of some bemoans rock hard? These are definitely "users" and will be subjected to outdoor exposure as well. Is behlens available in any retail stores, or do I need to order it?

    Thanks again,
    Andrew

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Tomball, TX (30 miles NNW Houston)
    Posts
    2,721
    Woodcraft Stores and Rockler Stores and partner stores carry Behlen's.
    Scott

    Finishing is an 'Art & a Science'. Actually, it is a process. You must understand the properties and tendencies of the finish you are using. You must know the proper steps and techniques, then you must execute them properly.

  11. #11
    Hah! Bemoans! I guess my wife's Ipad doesn't think that Behlens is a good product, and tried to throw my text off!

    Looks like I need to browse over to Rockler - thanks again everyone!

  12. #12
    Well I obviously late on this post but I use, and highly recommend, Penofin Marine Oil finish. This product is designed to withstand harsh marine weather so it's a natural finish for a cane. I have also used Waterlox Marine Finish but the Penofin is my first choice.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •