Waxing Painted timber surfaces
I recently completed a notice board for my daughter to hang her copious amounts of drawings and general tweenage girl stuff. The board is big, measuring around 1 metre by 1 metre and features offset corners for a bit of added interest.
I knew from the beginning that the piece would end up being painted so instead of using stock from the good rack I had a good fossick and ended making the noticeboard frame from some long off cuts of 90 x 35 framing pine that I had in the workshop. The idea of using bog standard timber to make a high end decorative piece has always intrigued me and I was looking forward to the challenge of seeing how good I could make this fairly pedestrian timber end up looking.
When the frame was complete I filled all the imperfections and sanded the entire frame up to 1500 grit. I used the interface pad described in part 1 to ensure that I didn’t flatten any of the rounded edges on the piece.
When all the sanding was complete I gave the entire frame its first coat of paint. The paint I used was the leftover acrylic matt ceiling paint that I used when painting my daughters room. The paint was tinted to a light ivory tone which gave the piece a nice warm feel.
You may be wondering why I used matt paint ? Well, firstly, I had it and I suppose I was being a bit of a cheapskate and didn’t want to buy more paint and secondly, the flat surface of the paint provided an excellent key for the wax finish.
When the first coat had had a full 24 hrs drying time I gave it a sand back with 800g Vlies abrasive to de-nib the surface and prepare it for the next coat. It’s important to sand slowly with minimal pressure and have the sander set to speed 1 in the Rotex mode. We need to avoid building excess heat which can affect the paint surface.
I always use Vlies during this stage of the process as it is a soft abrasive which minimises the risk of sanding through the paint surface and it gives a beautiful finish.
Clean off any excess dust then repeat the process until you’ve got at least 4 coats of paint on the frame.
When the final coat of paint is dry, sand the entire surface with 1500 grit Titan remembering to use an interface pad if required.
Wipe all surfaces to remove excess dust, then grab your can of Gilly Stephensons cabinet makers wax and use a soft clean cloth to apply a thin coat to one side of the frame. Do one side at a time to ensure that the wax doesn’t set or get sticky. Put a sheet of 1500 grit Titan paper on the sander and on speed 1 in the Rotex mode, begin to gradually work the wax into the paint surface. Once the first side is done repeat the process with each of the sides until the frame are done. When you’ve completed this stage place a paper napkin on the surface of the frame, place your sander on it and with the speed set to 1, in Rotex mode, burnish the entire furnace of the piece.
The wax burnishing process described above is taken from my earlier article, “How to get the most from your Rotex” and is an excellent method to achieve a high grade wax finish.
I’ve recently been experimenting with the white ‘Vlies’ pads which are an excellent substitute for the paper towel. Whilst the paper towel method is certainly cheaper, still suggest you get one or two from your local Festool dealer and try them out for yourself.
Repeat the process to build up the finish until you’ve either had enough or have reached a level of finish you like. For my work I find that around 3 to 4 coats is sufficient but see hoe you go and stop when your happy with the finish.
There’s a lot of scope for experimentation with this finish so don’t be afraid to play!!
As always, thanks for reading, be safe and have fun.