Waxing Painted Timber Surfaces

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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 premium rack I had a fossick and ended making the noticeboard frame from some long offcuts of 90 x 35 framing pine that I had in the workshop. The idea of using bog standard timber to create 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 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 daughter’s room. The colour 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 with 800g Vlies abrasive to de-nib the surface and prepare it for the next layer. It is important to sand slowly with minimal pressure and had 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 Stephenson’s 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 is done. When you’ve completed this stage place a paper napkin on the surface then, place your sander on it and with 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. While 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 are sufficient but see hoe you go and stop when you’re 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.

Cheers

Bryan

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National Tradesman’s Expo, Melbourne

 

Hi All,

Just a  short post to remind you all that the National Tradesman’s Expo is on in Melbourne  this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, (the 25th to 27th of May) at the Melbourne Show grounds.

The Melbourne show grounds are located on the cnr of Epsom and Lange roads in Ascot Vale and the show is open on Friday 10 to 6, Saturday 10 to 5 and on Sunday from 10 till 4.

This is the major show of big boys toys in Melbourne for 2012 so if you need to stock up on power tools it’ll be well worth a look.

There will be specialson tools for all brands and i know that there will be some extra special deals on the whole Festool and Protool range.

Please click here to go to the National Tradesman’s Expo Website

I’ll be there with Just Tools on the Festool stand so don’t be a stranger, pop in and say hello. For those who can’t get to the how i’ll post some photos of and new releases I can find

Anyway, thats all for now

Be safe and have fun.

Cheers

Bryan

 

 

Festool Factory Video

Hi All,

I was cleaning up some old files and found this video which I used in all my training sessions when I was at Festool.

It gives an overview of the Festool production facility in Neidlingen (Southern Germany) and takes you through the production of a Kapex

Enjoy

Cheers
//

Bryan

A Cautionary Tale..

I’m a major fan of Christopher Schwartz’s, lost art press blog and was amused, if that’s the correct word, to read of his nasty encounter with black walnut, (see, The Nasty Nut).
It reminded me of how I developed a healthy distrust of white and red cedar.

It happened back in September 2008 whilst I was working at the working wood show in Canberra. After discussions with the dealer we were doing the show with, our focus for this event was demonstrating the new Vac Sys vacuum clamp system as well as the Rotex and ETS sanders.
From previous shows i’d done earlier in the year I found the the best way to demonstrate the Vac Sys was to fix the Vac Sys to a MFT 3 table then put a slab of timber, borrowed from one of the timber merchants at the show, then use the rotex to sand and polish the slab to a mirror finish. ( See blog on “how to get the most from your rotex” for the technique)
It was a mutually beneficial arrangement as we had a continuous supply of timber to demonstrate on and the timber merchant got a finished slab he could sell for a higher price.
Well, once the test centre stand was set up I went to explore the timber area and soon met up with the boys from Cedarworks in NSW who agreed to let me use their timber. I’d never used this technique on cedar before and was interested in how it would work.
The show began on the Friday which was a blur of sanded boards, and demonstrations. The cedar finished beautifully using the rotex though as the day progressed I found that the 1200 and 1500 grit titan abrasives used in the final stages of the demonstrations weren’t lasting as long as they normally did with hardwoods.

Should’ve paid a bit more attention to this.

Saturday again passed quickly with more boards polished and plenty of sander sales. Started to feel a bit funky that night with my left eye now beginning to feel decidedly gritty and starting to look a bit bloodshot.

Also should of paid more attention to this!

Woke up Sunday morning feeling, well, decidedly crook, with the left eye leaking green goo and the right eye turning a bit red.
I gathered my self together and figured that as my flight home was booked for Sunday night and I’d have no hope of getting home earlier, I may as well go to the venue and do the rest of the show.
Well, you know how when you’ve got commitments to fulfill and you psych yourself up; I did all that and was not feeling too bad when I left the hotel and got to the venue. The eyes were a bit blurry but I could deal with that.
My efforts in talking myself up were rendered futile when I arrived at the venue and was confronted by colleagues, and the dealer staff whose comments of, ” what happened to your eyes” and “Oh you look terrible” really helped to make me feel better.
Anyway, I managed through the rest of the show, packed up and got to the airport to find my plane was delayed for an hour.

This weekend just keeps getting better!!!!

Went to the bathroom to check things out before I got on the plane and was a bit surprised at how revolting I looked. Both eyes were now really bloodshot and leaking green goo.
It now made sense why everyone had been giving me a wide berth at the airport.
I tried to make myself a bit more presentable, then after about another half an hour, got to my seat on the plane.
Got myself comfortable, then was tapped on the shoulder by the hostie who wanted to check if I had seatbelt on. She took one look at me, her smile disappeared then she hurried off to get the cabin supervisor.
After reassuring them I was well enough to fly I eventually got back to Melbourne and managed, more by good luck than good management to drive myself home.

Just after midnight I walked in the front door at home and was greeted with a horrified expression on my wife’s face,( that’s never good). Both eyes were now oozing copious amounts of green goo, were swollen, bloodshot and bleeding from the corners.

My lovely wife grabbed her keys and took me straight to the eye and ear hospital in the city.
After a few hours of tests the verdict was that I had developed a severe bacterial infection from the fine cedar dust which had also scratched both eyes.

The end result was 2 weeks off work with bucket loads of eye drops. I was fortunate to make a full recovery but I’m very aware that things could have been a lot worse.

So what happened.
Well, during my two week recuperation I has a good deal of time to go through the events and see if I figure out where the weekend went pear shaped.
I performed all demonstrations with full dust collection which collected pretty well everything until I hit the 1200 grit and 1500 grit Titan papers. When you sand above 400 grit the swarf you make is classified as “flour” rather than dust. The finer the grit the finer flour. One of the characteristics of Titan papers is that over 1200 grit there are no holes for dust collection. So the flour I was creating was staying on my hands which I then transferred to my eyes when I inadvertently wiped my eye or touched my face.
The problem was compounded by sanding cedar slabs for almost three solid days.
My doctor also advised me at a later appointment that under magnification they found that the particles of cedar flour they had examined were quite sharp rather than being rounded like most timber flour. This probably also explains why my papers weren’t lasting along.

I leant my lesson here and during later demonstrations had a tack cloth handy to contain the flour when sanding above 1200 and I also had a bucket of water handy to rinse my hands in to remove any residue of the flour.

I still work with cedar, albeit a lot more carefully and I’ve had no further problems.

Anyway everyone; have fun and work safe.

Cheers

Bryan

The New Festool Oiling System



Festool Oiling System

Hi Guys,

I’ve finally had a chance to have a play with the new Festool Surfix  Oiling System  and I must admit that I was very happy with the result.  It’s perfect for the serious DIY user to get a taste of  traditional oil finishes and I’m certain the quality of the finish will appeal to more seasoned woodies.

If you follow the link above it will take you to the PDF handout I wrote which breaks down Festool’s “unique” instructions into a more user friendly format.

I tested the oils on Baltic Pine and Redgum using both the Festool method which recommends leaving the oils to sit on the workpiece for 6 to 8 hours, and my own method in which I sand up to 1500 grit with an ETS 150/5 , then wet burnish in the oil.

If you want more info on wet burnishing oil finishes either place a comment or send me an email and I’ll write a post detailing the method.

As always your comments are appreciated.

Cheers for now

Bryan

 

How to get the most from your Rotex, (Part 2)

A Hard Burnished Wax Finish.

To protect and preserve the work, I usually apply a wax finish to the piece. I’m not a fan of varnish or lacquer style finishes as I feel they can give the finished piece a “plastic” sort of look when they’re completed.

The wax I use and recommend is Gilly Stephenson’s cabinetmakers wax. It is a combination of beeswax and carnauba wax in a gum turpentine base. From my own experience I’ve found that beeswax, on its own, never thoroughly dries and can become sticky and attract dust, and carnauba wax, on its own is tough to work with. The cabinet makers wax from Gilly Stephenson ticks all the boxes for me as it is easy to use, polishes up beautifully, and is very realistically priced.

The method I use to apply it is detailed below.

Sand your workpiece up to 1200 or 1500 grit using the method described in “How to get the most from your Rotex, (Part 1)
Put your sander aside but don’t remove the sanding disc
Use a soft cotton cloth and apply a thin coat of the wax to the surface. Rub it evenly over the surface making sure there are no lumps of wax. Remember to only use a thin layer. You can apply more coats as you go Once the wax has been spread over the surface leave it aside for about ten minutes.

Now, the next stage is the enjoyable part.

Grab your Rotex and double check that it’s on speed 1 as well as in Rotex mode. Place the sander on the workpiece, turn it on, and slowly and steadily work over the entire surface of your project. The small amount of heat that your creating is sufficient to open the pore of the timber and let the wax in, while the 1500 grit abrasive smooths and distributes the wax evenly over the surface.

Don’t overwork the surface: just a few minutes should do it.

When you’ve finished this stage you need to grab a paper napkin; yes, you read it right, a paper napkin. When I was teaching for Festool, and I knew I had a sanding workshop coming up the first thing I’d do would be to head down to the local McDonald’s and grab a handful of their paper napkins.
So, now you’ve got your napkin, place it on the workpiece, then put your Rotex, (with the 1500 grit abrasive still on it), on top of it. Double check that you’re in Rotex mode and on speed 1.
You should begin to see the shine develop very quickly. The paper towel equates to about a 6000grit, (approx) abrasive and cuts back the surface beautifully.
You can repeat the process and add as many layers of wax as you like. The more layers you have, the more vibrant and lustrous the finish but I recommend that you leave at least 24 hours between applications.
Try this finishing method on some offcuts of a few different species of timber. By doing this, you’ll create a “library” of finished samples which can really add the ‘wow’ factor to any presentations you give to potential commission clients if the future. What it also does is give you more practice with the sander so you can become more familiar with, and refine your technique on the sander.

I hope this article helps you in working with your Rotex and achieving better finishes that you’d previously thought possible. As always, please post a comment or send me an email if you’ve got any questions.

Cheers,
Bryan.

How to get the most from your Rotex, (Part 1)

How to get the most from your Rotex, (The Basics)

Okay, so you’ve done. You’ve bitten the bullet, spent the bucks, and now, sitting on the bench in front of you is possibly the best sander thus far to emerge from the melting pot that is European power tool engineering.

So; now what?

The first thing you probably want to do is whack a sheet of paper on it and sand a piece of wood until it’s paper thin. If you need to, go ahead, but make sure to clamp down your work first; there’s not much worse than being hit in that tender part of the anatomy by a piece of Rotex propelled timber.

Once you’ve got that out of your system, let’s start by having a good look at your new machine. Hopefully the salesman you purchased the sander from fully explained all the functions to you, but in case he didn’t, let’s start from scratch.

The Rotex 150 is a dual mode sander with an aggressive, gear driven mode, (Rotex mode) and a random orbital mode with a 5mm orbit.
You switch between these modes by pressing the green button on the top of the machine, down & to the left When the button.

is in the upright position the sander is in the Rotex mode.

To test this, make sure the power is turned off, then turn the base plate with your hand. You should feel some resistance and hear a “growl” coming from the sander. Now, push the top button down and to the left. This puts the sander into the random orbital mode. Turn the base plate again so you can feel and hear the difference between the two settings.

You’ve probably noticed the small green button on the right side of the Rotex just above the base plate. This is the spindle lock, and it’s used when we need to change the base plate because it’s either worn out or you need to switch to a pad of a different density for a specific application.
It’s a bit of a bugger to change, particularly the first time, but it will get easier to practice.
To use this function, first make sure the Rotex is unplugged, then put the sander into the Rotex mode.

Hold the sander upside down in your left hand so that your left thumb can depress the spindle lock button. Depress the spindle lock button with your left thumb and turn the pad anti-clockwise with your right hand until you feel the spindle lock engage, ( the spindle lock button will depress an extra couple of millimetres).

Continue holding the spindle lock and turning the pad anti-clockwise until the pad comes off.
To put on a new pad, depress the spindle lock, put the pad on the machine and turn it clockwise until you feel it drop into position and the locking mechanism begins to engage. Once this happens, grip it firmly and turn it clockwise until it locks. Now put the machine down and give your hands a shake. Told you it was a bit of s bugger to do; but trust me, it will get simpler with practice.

At the rear of the machine just above the plug it lead is the variable speed control for the sander and the green button on the inside rear of the “d” handle section releases the dust extractor port so you can polish the car without running the risk of it accidentally banging into the paint surface.

Using the Rotex.
Now, whatever your project, having a good understanding of how to use the functions of the sander will always help you to achieve the best finish possible on your work.

Rotex and Random Orbit Modes
One of the most common questions I field when showing people the Rotex is, “how do I know which mode, I should be using?”
Well, the simple answer to this is that you should always use both modes. Let me explain.

The Rotex mode will, with coarser papers, raise the grain while the random orbital mode cuts the grain back. From experience, I’ve found that if, for instance, you’re starting with 60 grit, whack it into Rotex mode and sand your work then stop, put the machine into the random orbit mode and sand it again. It’s important not to try to change from Rotex to random orbital mode while the tool is running; it’s like trying to change gears on your car without depressing the clutch.

Then change up a grit to 80 and repeat the process. As you progress through the grades, getting finer and finer, you’ll see the surface start to develop. It’s really important that you feel the wood with your hands as you’re sanding. Getting a good feel for the timber will help you gain a greater understanding of how a surface develops.
Continue sanding with 120, 180, 240, and 400 grit abrasives, being sure to repeat the Rotex, then random orbit modes

Sanding speeds

To achieve the best result results in your work, speed is another crucial factor to consider. The main things you have to remember are, the coarser the paper, the higher the speed.


Coarse paper on slow speed tends to dig in and ‘bite’ the work, which can lead to scratches and swirls that can be bloody hard to get out. Coarse paper on high speed tends to ‘skim’ over the work, and while it may take a little longer, you’ll achieve a more controlled result.
When you start sanding and are using, a 60 grit paper begin with the sander on speed 6 and use the Rotex, random orbit method as described above. As you start moving into progressively finer grades, gradually begin to lower the sander speed. Use the chart below as a rough guide for sander speed related to sanding grit.

Sanding grit. Speed
40. 6
60. 6
80. 6
120. 5
150. 5
180. 5
240. 4
320. 4
400. 3
500. 3
800. 2
1000. 2
1200. 1
1500 & finer 1

This chart is a suggested range only and results can vary depending on the type of timber that you choose.
The transition point when sanding is 400 grit. This is the stage where you stop sanding the timber and start burnishing it. From 400 up you’ll begin to see the surface of the wood develop and become smoother with every sanding stage that you complete. Don’t forget to feel the timber as you sand it so that you become more familiar with how each sanding grade contributes to the overall finish. Keep using the Rotex / random orbital sanding technique until you pass 1000 grit. From experience, I’ve found that when you reach 1200 grit switch to using the Rotex mode only. You should begin to see the timber surface begin to develop a lovely lustre and the surface will start to shine. This happens because the super fine grits that we have been using are burnishing the timber surface and closing the pore of the wood which gives us this glass-like finish.

That’s it for part 1 of this post, in part 2, I’ll go thru how to apply a burnished wax finish to your piece.

Cheers for now

Bryan

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