These are certainly crazy times we are living in at the moment. I hope that you and yours are healthy and keeping safe. Official advice changes daily so anything I write will probably be out of date before you read it. All I will say though is that, as you’d expect, many exhibitions, club meetings, in-house shows etc are being either cancelled or postponed, so do check before travelling anywhere.
We hope that by the time our own Woodturning Weekender comes around everything will be settled down, but as you might have seen elsewhere if we do have to cancel we will refund tickets in full. Good to know if you haven’t got yours yet and are worried about losing your money.
Let’s do some questions…

One question this week was about cleaning brushes after using Spirit Stain – is white spirit suitable? The answer is that it isn’t, meths is the correct solvent. Spirit Thinners will also work but is more expensive, and Cellulose Thinners will also do the job. But interestingly, a good rinse in a jar of water will get rid of a lot of the stain as well, but we’d recommend finishing off with the meths to make sure all of it has been removed.
(A quick plug for our Solvent Chart which is a free download. Fans of our Compatibility Chart might like to know that the full A2 sized version is finally available to buy from our website. Postage makes it expensive on its own, but worth popping one in your basket if you’re ordering other stuff).

We’re great believers here that most finishes will work on most woods, regardless of species. The only outsiders are oily timbers and the exceptionally hard ones. The latter work with most finishes still but don’t always need the use of a sealer, but oily timbers are a little more awkward. Generally speaking we’d recommend the use of an oil finish, as these will adhere perfectly and give a good finish. Someone this week wanted a virtually clear, water resistant matt finish for a teak top. Lemon Oil was the one we opted for here as it ticks all the boxes, but we recommended testing it first for suitability as ‘water resistant’ is very open to interpretation.

Last for this week, one of our good friends asked how fine he should be sanding his wood before finishing. There is no 100% correct answer here; I’d always go to at least 320grit, and often go through the grades of our NyWeb to finish at 1000grit (the Orange one). This prepares the wood perfectly and gives it a natural glow of its own, without any finish. This is particularly important if you’re aiming for a bright finish – the better the preparation, the better the end result will be. But care should be taken as well, in my opinion, not to sand too smooth. Doing so can remove the beautiful tactile feel of the timber which can be so important. Without it, we might as well be working in plastic!

Those are your questions and answers for this week, but one little extra one we’re being asked a lot,  ‘how are you?’  So just to quickly report, all of us here are well and taking the recommended precautions to stay that way. We’re fairly isolated already just by being where we are, which gives us a bit of a buffer.
I hope you’re taking similar care of yourself and those around you, and I look forward to seeing you again in seven days.

All the best