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Thread: Easy finish for coasters ?

  1. #1
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    Easy finish for coasters ?

    I’m running a batch of coasters for gifts. Plan to make each set out of 4 or 5 types of wood, including a stand/box. Have the first board carving in the cnc now which is mahogany. Will use maybe Purple Heart, zebrawood, bubinga, Jatoba, etc for the rest.

    mid like to finish these in something simple that doesn’t require tons of sanding later, so polyurethane and polycrylic are out unless I do a 50/50 type wipe on poly. Only other thing I have handy is teak oil but I haven’t ever tried it.

    Any thoughts on a quick finish that will compliment the wood, require minimal sanding after dry and not stay oily wet like mineral oils? Thanks.

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    Last edited by Greg Parrish; 12-18-2019 at 8:26 PM.

  2. #2
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    I just finished 40 sets of coasters, mostly maple and cherry. I used 2 coats of Minwax, Antique Oil and then buffed them with wax on the lathe.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Lilley View Post
    I just finished 40 sets of coasters, mostly maple and cherry. I used 2 coats of Minwax, Antique Oil and then buffed them with wax on the lathe.
    Thanks Jack. Out of curiosity, how did you do the wax buffing on the lathe?

  4. #4
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    Beal makes buffing wheels for woodturners to use on the lathe. I do a lot of turning and buff all of my bowls with the 3 step system and wax is the last thing applied. Any cloth buffing wheel would work to apply carnauba wax.

  5. #5
    I made ten or so sets of coasters as gifts last year with maple, lyptus, black walnut, padauk and purpleheart. I finished them with three (I think) light coats of spray polyurethane, rubbed with 0000 steel wool after each coat, and a paste wax at the end. That worked out very nice.

  6. #6
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    I personally would not use wax on coasters since you’d be likely to get rings from sweating glasses or other spills.

    I would first consider a seal coat of shellac since some of those woods are oily. Then you could brush on a coat or two of water based poly. Another option would be rattle can spray lacquer (Deft is my fave) but this might not be as alcohol resistant.

    The quick drying time of both those finishes will help avoid dust settling in all those crevices. If you do water based poly, I would maybe do an extra coat of shellac first to avoid grain raising.

    Here are some walnut coasters I recently finished with shellac then WB poly.

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    Last edited by Bennett Ostroff; 12-18-2019 at 11:47 PM.

  7. #7
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    Rattle can shellac (wax free) and then a quick hit with 600 grit by hand to get rid of any nubbies and then rattle can "poly" or whatever. Or just the shellac if they will not be exposed to a lot of alcohol. Honestly, I also use BLO or T&T polymerized oil for this kind of thing. They are drying oils and leave a nice look with minimal effort. Coasters are meant to be used. Touching up with BLO later is fast and easy, too.
    Last edited by Jim Becker; 12-19-2019 at 11:19 AM.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    Rattle can shellac (wax free) and then a quick hit with 600 grit by hand to get rid of any nubbies and then rattle can "poly" or whatever. Or just the shellac if they will not be exposed to a lot of alcohol. Honestly, I also use BLO or T&T polymerized oil for this kind of thing. They are drying oils and leave a nice look with minimal effort. Coasters are meant to be used. Touching up with BLO later is fast and easy, too.
    I’m with Jim on just using BLO- you really don’t need or want a film- forming finish as they might get damaged and repairs would be difficult.
    The BLO will give a nice look, add some liquid resistance and be easy to touch up.

    I recently replaced the redwood slats in my fence gate and treated them with BLO. They have held up very well and water just beads off the wood.
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  9. #9
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    I have made and sold lots of coasters and trivets using a CNC router. I have done a great deal of durability testing of readily available finish materials. For maximum water resistance, I use Minwax solvent based rattle can polyurethane. I normally apply three fairly thick coats in my heated shop and they are ready to sell the next day. I have had a couple made this way on my desk with sweaty tea glasses and water puddled up on them constantly for several years now and they still look pretty good. I am sure other brands of solvent based polyurethane will work too but Minwax is easy to get and is cheap. Here are a couple of examples.

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    Note: If you don't use a film finish, the coasters will swell up and warp within a few days, assuming they are actually used to keep sweaty glasses from damaging your coffee and end tables.
    Last edited by Art Mann; 12-19-2019 at 8:48 PM.

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