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woodturning varnish type finish question?

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  • woodturning varnish type finish question?

    Hi I have several compressors including a small USA built dental compressor for at homevisits for invalid work.I have been concentrating on a bit ( small bit) of turning and using a spray can of pressurised varnish which leaves a quick dry finish and looks really nice.I find the spray cans don't last very long and at about £12 inc reckelsss delivery charge of five pounds anyway I figure on buying a small gun and some quick dry varnish I already have a few artists spray guns the small type and I feel these would be too small for what I need.I figure maybe the nearest thing to what's in the spray can might be similar to car finish clear coat any help would be apreciated re gun and what spray material to buy or should I just dilute ordinary varnish and spray thet I.E non cellulose white spirit type mix.Alistair
    Please excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

  • #2
    Would you consider one of the "wipe-on" finishes? Simple to use and also dries quickly.


    • #3
      Have you tried the various floor quick dry varnishes. I have a Johnsons outlet round the corner, so I tend to use their stuff. They do two floor varnishes, and IIRC the quick dry is the water based one. It dries on a floor in a couple of hours, and thinned it would be quicker. I know it's not cellulose speed, but it does the job, and being water based it's so much easier to clean up. I hate white spirit. You could try diluting it with meths to reduce the water content of the thinned stuff. It's probably around £20 for 5 litres.

      I like cellulose based dyes, but I don't know a cellulose based varnish intended for wood. Briwax do, or did, a cellulose sanding sealer. You could try diluting that and spraying it on. I would guess you could put a car type cellulose or acrylic gloss on top of that.
      Richard - SW London, UK, EU.


      • #4
        Shellac maybe? Mix it yourself with shellac flakes and metho. Can be brushed, wiped or sprayed, dries very quickly. Clean up gear with metho.


        • #5
          I don't know what they might be referred to as in the UK, but in the colonies, small capacity spray guns for auto work are called jamb guns or detail guns. They usse the same type of atomization apparatus as the larger guns, but are reduced in size.

          As for application, I see no reason not to thin with mineral spirits. You might try poking around on the varnish manufacturer's web site for recommendations for spray application.
          Jim H.


          • #6
            I never thought of the wipe on but jim I just put a bid on a similar type of gravity feed gun.I already own a big pot syphon fed one but I want a good fresh pot I always use sanding sealer before topcoat.I will look into what you say Richard . I tried water base varnish before but it was not hard enough for general use maybe they have some better ones now. Thanks guys so far.Alistair
            Last edited by Alistair Hosie; 12-22-2012, 09:36 AM.
            Please excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease


            • #7
              If you are looking for yet another project, and who here isn't, you could make up one of these small shop made paint sprayers:


              Cheap, easy to build and quick to set up and clean up. I have a few paint sprayers of various sorts and find that I rarely use them because of the small painting projects I do. For a quick spray job, the set up and cleaning are enough of a hassle that I just end up back with the dumb spray cans.
              Just a thought, anyhow.
              Sorry, no useful insight on finishes to offer.


              • #8

                Not sure what it is that you're spraying, but I'd be more tempted to go for wipe-on stuff - how about Danish oil? less wastage, overspray & mess this way, probably works out cheaper.

                All of the gear, no idea...


                • #9
                  You can make your own wipe-on. Mix varnish 50/50 with mineral spirits.


                  • #10
                    When you folks speak of cellulose are you talking about lacquer (smells like banana)? Been a long time since I read any varnish can labels, but I don't remember any cellulose based.
                    Lynn (Huntsville, AL)


                    • #11
                      Another vote for Wipe On types. I used Wipe On Polyurethane a while back and was surprised at how well it worked.


                      • #12
                        Yes, and another. You get a rich satin "hand rubbed look" finish easily.

                        The turning activity really helps with the wiping/buffing/light intra-coat sanding. Don't sweat the sanding (very light..) until you have a few coats of buildup. And... read the directions - even though you wipe off and it seem dry, it still has a cure period (often 4 hours) between recoat, and this is usually at 77F or other unrealistic shop temperature - longer times for lower.

                        This brand is my favorite

                        For spraying or brushing you can get water based arylic finishes. They dry also immediately and have very short recoat periods. I don't like them... it looks like "plastic" rather than "wood".
                        Last edited by lakeside53; 12-22-2012, 12:37 PM.


                        • #13
                          When I've done some turning in the past I used friction polish but as the lable is long gone I dont know what it is!
                          Several on google, worth a try and its done whilst still in the lathe.

                          I have tools I don't know how to use!!


                          • #14
                            Shellac is the best all-around finish to use on wood turning. Thinned down it makes a good sanding sealer. It can be applied over virtually any other finish and most finishes can be applied over it. It can be applied directly on the spinning work in the lathe, there is no need to spray.

                            If you're making small turnings meant to be handled a lot, like pens, then super glue makes an excellent finish.

                            If you want a super glossy finish, the automotive lacquer works well.

                            One of the more interesting finishes I've used is shellac over mineral oil. The mineral oil can really bring out the chatoyance in the wood and the shellac seals it.