Hello again.

Where did that week go? They do seem to disappear quickly. This Saturday finds me at the Snainton Woodworking Open Day, where I’ll be talking about our finishes and demonstrating them. If you’re in the area do pop in and say hello.
Last week I mentioned some advice given about Friction Polish and I’m glad to say I’ve heard back from the gentleman in question and he’s now very happy with the finish he’s getting.

A recent email into the office mentioned buying solvents on eBay, and I had a quick wander around to see what was available and frankly I was horrified. It seems that whilst things like firearms and livestock are prohibited, no-one has realised that some very dangerous and volatile solvents are being openly sold to the general public and some of them should only be used in carefully controlled conditions. Some of them are cancer-causing whilst others will attack and damage skin if accidentally spilt.
If you’re tempted to purchase any of them online please think very carefully and perhaps look for a safer, more user-friendly alternative.
I’ve worked with solvents for a very long time and have been trained in their correct handling. Always treat them with respect.

Another question this week was about our Buffing Wheels and that they can go black if they come into contact with metal – brass inlays or pen parts etc. Can they be washed? Yes they can, some warm soapy water is all that is needed. I’d recommend trying to keep the metal parts of the wheel out of the water, they are zinc plated for protection but it’s still better not to risk it. Make sure they’re fully dry before using them again.
An alternative, as previously mentioned, is to use an abrasive on a piece of wood and effectively wear away the top surface until you expose fresh, clean cloth. A sneak preview, we are working on a two-handled mop dresser (a brush with a wire bristle) which will also do this job.

Regular readers will know that, apart from certain situations, we don’t recommend over-thinning our Cellulose Sanding Sealer – anything more than 20% is over-thinning, and even this should only be done when necessary, not by habit.
Something that also gets asked is whether or not two coats of sealer should be applied – it came up this week. The Long Answer is no; if two coats are applied and then followed by a lacquer the sealer is sandwiched between two hard surfaces, both tougher than the sealer itself. The double thickness can cause the sealer to move infinitesimally and this will cause the lacquer on top to craze. This doesn’t happen straight away, it can take weeks or months to occur, but it is a real danger. It’s more likely on large areas than small turnings, but it’s still a risk and one that doesn’t need to be taken. (If you apply a wax over two sealer coats there’s no problem, but I reckon it’s better to get into good habits and only apply a single coat. It also leads me nicely to the Short Answer…)
Which is still no; the first coat of sealer does the job, the wood is sealed, a second coat doesn’t add anything so there’s no point putting one on.
(There’s a story, I don’t know if it’s true, that shampoo manufacturers added the word ‘repeat’ at the end of their ‘instructions for use’ and doubled their sales overnight. I think I might have done the same thing in reverse!)

And there I will take my leave of you for this week. If I don’t see you at Snainton there’s another chance to avoid me at Coombe Abbey Woodturners on Thursday evening where I’m doing one of my demos.
I hope you’re getting some of this good weather that’s around at the moment and you’re finding time to be creative in your workshop.

All the best