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Thread: Finishing question

  1. #1
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    Question Finishing question

    I make small crafty items to sell and when I make cedar crosses and put a lacquer finish on them the heat here in Texas causes anything to stick to it and ruin the finish. I have tried wipe on poly with similar results. I have tried using cardboard, cloth, plastic and paper (waxed included) and they all stick. I have tried putting a wax over the finish but still have the problem. Does anyone here know of a finish that I can use that will not "melt" in the heat?
    No PHD, but I have a DD 214

  2. #2
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    I use spray polyurethane on carved trivets and coasters. I usually use Minwax polyurethane in rattle cans because it takes too much work to clean up my HVLP gun after just 10 minutes of use. I have tested the finish on a trivet with a dish that was heat soaked in a 400 degree oven and then placed on the trivet to cool. It was not sticky or damaged in any way. I built some trivets like that for myself and they have been in service with hot dishes for over a year now and the finish is still looking good. I live in Alabama, which has similar weather to Texas. Something else must be going on. Are you brushing the material on? If you are then that could be it. Brushed on lacquer or varnish stays sticky much, much longer than sprayed material. That allows more time for dust to accumulate on the work piece.

  3. #3
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    Conversion varnishes like ML Campbell Krystal by definition are irreversible chemical processes creating a very durable and hard finish. They require spraying and disposal of catalyzed material, and are typically available only in larger quantities. Epoxies - another catalyzed finish - can be brush applied and then use heat for penetration, flow, and breaking down surface tension (bubbles). Catalyzed processes tend to like to be done in warmer environments so that might be a plus. Epoxy is available in smaller quantities making it suitable for testing. But anything mixed (two-part) like this tend to create more waste. Should you consider an epoxy use one of the thinner products such as West #207.
    "the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools. Confucius

  4. #4
    If you don't want a film finish, then oil-varnish blends that are in-the-wood a) don't show imperfections as readily and b) are easy to repair.

    If you want a film finish, consider Waterlox. I've found it to have very good resistance to 'stuff sitting too long on it'.

    The key is letting the surface cure for a good long while before putting it through its paces. Like a month.

  5. #5
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    Thank you for your response. I will try that.
    No PHD, but I have a DD 214

  6. #6
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    Just rereading your original post, I think I need to add one more comment. I use spray lacquer almost exclusively for products like plaques that don't need to be heat or water resistant. It will dry to the touch in about 5 minutes and cure completely in a few hours. I think it looks better than varnish and won't yellow over time. I can make a custom ordered piece and deliver it the next day.
    Last edited by Art Mann; 12-18-2015 at 10:56 AM. Reason: grammer correction

  7. #7
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    Maybe try a dewaxed shellac on the cedar. It's possible the cedar oil is causing the problem.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Conrad Fiore View Post
    Maybe try a dewaxed shellac on the cedar. It's possible the cedar oil is causing the problem.
    I have used shellac under the other finishes.
    No PHD, but I have a DD 214

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prashun Patel View Post
    If you want a film finish, consider Waterlox. I've found it to have very good resistance to 'stuff sitting too long on it'.
    +1 to waterlox original, I finished some beer taster trays with it and they've survived almost 4 years of daily bar use including dips in sterilant and hot water and still look pretty all right (I'm probably going to do a refresh coat on them this winter sometime). I figure if it can survive that its good for most things mere mortals can throw at it.

    I've had some luck with quicker turnaround on the finish by putting on multiple thin wipe on coats, but that drops it down to maybe 10 days to 2 weeks to fully coated from a month at the expense of some effort. Usually what I do is a flood coat where I keep smearing more on the dry spots for ~10-15 minutes and then wipe clean. Let that cure for a few days then to another thin wipe on coat, repeat every 3 or so days (depending on the weather) until its built up enough.

    You can certainly do one thicker coat but the thinner wipe on coats are more idiot proof which is good for me.

  10. #10
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    Seal the cedar with de-waxed shellac (Zinsser - Seal Coat) then you can finish with what ever film forming finish you would like to use.
    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
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    If the wood is plain old Eastern Red cedar, I don't see any benefit to putting shellac on it first. Polyurethane or lacquer will stick to it just fine without this step. I know because I carve and finish exterior cedar signs with polyurethane from time to time. Polyurethane won't hold up very long in the weather but it isn't because the material won't stick. I suspect the OP's problem is he is trying to brush or wipe on the material and is getting lots of dust nibs and other problems from the slow drying sticky varnish in a less than ideal painting environment.

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