Sometimes it seems like it was only yesterday that I was sending out the Newsletter. Other times, and this week is one of them, it’s been so busy that it feels like at least two weeks! It’s great, we’ve been very productive and got lots done, so no complaints at all. I hope you’ve had a good week and maybe managed to find some workshop time to get something made. Don’t forget, we always like to see what you’ve created. If you’re a Facebook user you can post pictures on our page (link below) or join our friendly group ‘Conkers’ and share your work there.
Sometimes we get questions in Conkers…but we always have them in the Newsletter!

Here’s an intriguing question to start off with. Someone contacted us about the best way of finishing some acorns they were making on the lathe. They wanted to colour them and then have the cup in a matt finish and the nut glossy. And to be fairly easy to do!
One of the Spirit Stains will take care of the colouring, possibly something like Antique Mahogany which isn’t too dark and has that hint of red in it, but that part would require some experimenting.
Using a Spirit Stain also means that using an aerosol finish would be best, as it will avoid making the stain run. So we suggested using the Acrylic Satin Lacquer over the whole piece. This would give the soft shine on the cup, no further work required there. To get the gloss on the nut part we suggested using Burnishing Cream or Cut’n’Polish on it, to bring the satin lacquer up to a gloss. This can be done very quickly and easily on the lathe, and should be easy to control. Burnishing Cream will achieve a brighter finish, but the Cut’n’Polish finish would still be very attractive and very tactile.

At Chestnut Products we supply products designed mostly to be used on timber – you know that already. But as people either experiment with different materials, or find us through web searches, we get asked about using our finishes on different substrates. It happened this week when someone asked about using Microcrystalline Wax on metal – can it be done, are there any contra-indications about doing so? We don’t have a huge amount of experience or data on this, sadly. We’re not aware of any reason why it can’t be used on metal. Waxes are pretty adaptable and will stick to most solid surfaces, and are commonly used for this, so we said that this should be fine. The wax will offer its normal protection and should slow down any tarnishing etc caused by oxidisation. As always, we suggested a test piece first to be certain.

Finally for this week, another caller wanted to finish some building blocks she’d made. They’d been finished in a stain, but of a type that I hadn’t come across before (there’s a rarity!). Anyway, a satin finish was required, and it needed to be safe for a child to use. I suggested the Acrylic Satin Lacquer yet again, for many of the same reasons mentioned earlier. That would be fine, she said, but do you have anything I can brush on? I’ve got over 100 blocks to do, all of varying sizes!
Now, I promise you that this genuinely happened; just that morning we’d picked up the labels for our newest product, a Satin version of our Hard Wax Oil. Really, you couldn’t make it up! Our original Gloss Hard Wax Oil is finally getting the recognition it deserves, so a Satin version is a great addition to our range. Still toy safe, the solvent in it shouldn’t react with the stain used, and the oil will be easy to apply on most size items and flexible enough to take any knocks the blocks get without cracking. Our caller promptly ordered a can and, unknowingly, became the first person to buy it!

And there you have it for this week. I hope the next seven days are good for you. I’m having a few days off next week but my brilliant team will be looking after things as always, and I’ll be back with another Newsletter next Friday.

All the best