Greetings from the Isle of Wight! I’m over here supporting our friend and stockist Andy Fortune RPT at Mulberry Tree Woodturnery. Possibly a bit difficult to pop over for the day but if you’re in the area please do call by, and if you find yourself on the island at any other time do drop by and see Andy. There’s always a warm welcome!

So let’s get on with some questions…
I was asked recently about how to finish a bowl made from a Monkey Puzzle Tree. It might surprise you to know that there are very few timbers (very oily ones are the main exception) where one has to be careful with the choice of finish. We often get asked which wax/polish/lacquer/sealer can be used on a specific timber, and the answer is nearly always ‘any of them’.

Another caller was having difficulties with Cut’n’Polish; he was using it pretty much as shown in our YouTube video on Decorating an Ash Vase, after the Gilt Cream. I was at a little bit of a loss to explain this, so I asked for extra information on the process being used. This didn’t really help, so I asked more about the application method being used for applying the Ebonising Lacquer. It had been left for 24 hours to dry, but the caller did admit to being a little heavy handed with the amount put on, and I’m sure this is what was causing the problem. The lacquer was skinning over on the surface and felt dry, but the underneath was still wet. The abrasive action of the Cut’n’Polish cut through the top surface to reveal the wet product underneath, which hadn’t been able to properly adhere to the timber, thus it all came off. Incidents like this highlight the importance of applying the thinnest films possible to get the best from your finish. Several thin coats are nearly always better than one thick coat.

And finally for this week, a question about removing End Seal from a slice of timber destined to be a table. Not something we get asked a lot; End Seal is normally only used in preparing timber and it is normally removed as part of the process of making the timber into something – usually using a chisel whilst the item is spinning on the lathe. And that’s the answer, it is removed mechanically, either with a chisel, sanding (which would be very hard work!) or in this case with a planer. Once dried it won’t re-dissolve with water and solvents tend to make it awfully messy.

When I get back from the Isle of Wight (expect to hear about that next week!) I’ll be off to The ToolPost in Didcot for their Open House Weekend. Come and see me there if you can!

Enjoy the Bank Holiday, if you get some woodwork time so much the better.

See you in seven