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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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.

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