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Thread: The Finish Mix

  1. #1
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    Default The Finish Mix

    Happy Fall Y'all!

    Of all the complicated sciences discussed on this forum from theory to top thickness, there is one that still holds the Iron Throne to me and that is Finish. I have dug around over the last year or so and have formulated a finishing process that I believe will be easy on the mind, wallet and eyes.

    My IV kit is about ready to be finish sanded and I have procured a bottle of Fiebings leather dye for color. The plan is to dilute with denatured alcohol to a very light color and then work up to a medium brown. I have some GF EnduroVar Satin (Water based poly) hanging around for a sealer and am planning on finishing up with Tru Oil.

    Is there anything in the tome of tonewood finishing alchemy that says I should not layer these three substances? I have read in the past about one particular based layer of finish not sitting well with another but can't quite seem to find anything about the rules and regs of Tru Oil on top of water based "varnish" (this I'd do to lessen the TO layers a la some old Sunburst advice) on top of an alcohol based dye.

    What say you finishers?

    Greg

  2. #2
    Registered User amowry's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Finish Mix

    What's the purpose of the Tru-Oil on top of the Enduro-Var? We don't typically put a gloss finish on top of a satin one. The reason is that you lose the benefit of the satin finish (it doesn't show imperfections as well as gloss) but you retain the main drawback of satin (it tends to obscure the wood more than gloss). I would just use the Enduro-Var by itself, or use gloss Enduro-Var under Tru-Oil if you prefer the look of Tru-Oil. Having said that, I would definitely test the whole procedure first.

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    Default Re: The Finish Mix

    The general rule is "fat over lean". That is to say, it's ok to put oil based products over completely dried water based products, but not visa versa.

    Andrew brings up a great point about satin obscuring the wood. That's due to the flatting additives. I know the satin is just "hanging around", but it would be worthwhile to use gloss instead if you have very pretty wood.

    I have used a Tru Oil as a final coat over oil based varnish, and it works like a charm. I found on one of my projects that the gloss level of the varnish was too harsh and it showed every tiny flaw. The Tru Oil softened the gloss to a more subtle, less in your face level and concealed the tiny flaws to boot. There are some very well known high level instrument makers who use that very same finishing schedule, by the way.
    Don

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    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: The Finish Mix

    Water based polyurethane is still (synthetic polymerising) oil based finish (similar to alkyd-urethane varnishes) just water is used to dilute it instead of paint thinner (water with additives so it mixes together with the base) so it's impossible to tell which is harder just from the name (but TO is pretty soft and elastic so I foresee no problems)
    Adrian

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    Default Re: The Finish Mix

    Thank you for all of your replies. Andrew, I was reading an old thread that John Hamlett used EnduroVar underneath the TO to lessen the number of coats but I didn't catch whether it was satin or gloss. I hadn't considered the issue with mixing the two in that regard. In an effort to get a really nice gloss, I'll just for it with the TO alone even if it takes 20 coats... the wood looks rather nice to me.

    We're almost there!

  6. #6
    Registered User StevenS's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Finish Mix

    Skip the EnduroVar.

    Steve
    Steve Sorensen
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    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Finish Mix

    Quote Originally Posted by gregoriousd View Post
    ...I was reading an old thread that John Hamlett used EnduroVar underneath the TO...
    Sorry, that's a mistake. I've never used EnduroVar and I am not at all familiar with it. I have used two or three different oil varnishes under TO with good (and similar) results.

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    Registered User amowry's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Finish Mix

    Yep, I'd just use the Tru-Oil unless you're in a hurry. It's a great sealer as well as a good finish, so as long as you have the time and patience to apply a lot of coats, it works well by itself. Then you won't have to worry about finish compatibility.

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    Default Re: The Finish Mix

    Quote Originally Posted by sunburst View Post
    Sorry, that's a mistake. I've never used EnduroVar and I am not at all familiar with it. I have used two or three different oil varnishes under TO with good (and similar) results.
    Sorry John, I didn't mean to implicate you with my naivete Edit: Found it, you had mentioned the Rock Hard Table Top varnish on Banjohangout (am I allowed to say banjo on here?)- I definitely just substituted in my head what I had on hand for what you used. Whoops!

    No hurry Andrew, save for just wanting to play it so badly!!
    Last edited by gregoriousd; Sep-22-2017 at 2:28pm.

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    Default Re: The Finish Mix

    I have made quite a bit of finishing progress in the last month. As noted before, I'm using medium brown Fiebings Leather Dye and finishing with Tru Oil. My first dilution was 15:1 denatured alcohol to dye in order to build up the color through the grain.
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    I don't know what it was, something spooked me with how blotchy the first coat was even though I was told it would likely be this way. The grain was raised again by the stain, after having initially sanding everything to 400, wetting and knocking it down so I went ahead and knocked the stained fuzz down too. I got in my head that it wasn't going to look right so I went ahead and gave my first hand rubbed sunburst a shot. Here goes
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    I can't find my pics of the top but it was decent looking with the same blotchy lines though. I was a little worried I had messed it all up and went ahead with some more denatured alcohol to try and blurr the lines, it still wasn't perfect after that.
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    So after all of my worrying I just said lets just go for it and finish it up. I think the Tru Oil helped to further the blending of the burst right before my eyes. I am pretty psyched about how it turned out. Honestly I sat there for a day just holding it and giggling.
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    That's my baby after about 6-7 coats of Tru Oil. I'm at 10 now and its really starting to look great. My mental goal was a dozen but we shall see.

    So I guess we can call it a "vintage burst" of sorts? In the end the burst colors were the original 15:1 ratio (yellow color) stained again, straight up Fiebings Medium Brown on the outside and a 1:1 mix of the dye and denatured alcohol for the middle fade color. I can't wait to try this again!!

    Note: You'll notice that I didn't add the binding. My initial plan was to stain this all brown and have no binding so I sanded the channel close to even and rounded off the edges. Having jumped ship on that look and going for the burst I am now regretting it because I think binding really sets a mixed color look off. Alas, this is my first ever build and finishing project so there will be more to come.
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  11. #11

    Default Re: The Finish Mix

    Looking good. You can call it a vintage burst, it kinda looks like wine. :-)
    martinjacobson.com - Jacobson mandolins

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    Default Re: The Finish Mix

    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Jacobson View Post
    Looking good. You can call it a vintage burst, it kinda looks like wine. :-)
    Thanks! Yes it definitely looks more red than brown.

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    Default Re: The Finish Mix

    Well, its officially a mandolin now... sounds like a mandolin too!

    A huge shoutout to IV for their support on a few preliminary questions, anyone here who helped me out and also Jerry Rosa on youtube! Is he on here? Man, what a great resource for setup instruction. I probably need to lower the action a tad and fit the bridge sliiiightly better but for now I think it sounds and plays great for a $100 kit. The TruOil sat for two weeks then I polished the back with Novus 3 then 2, the top with just 2. Great stuff!

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