Well, in case you haven’t heard, the first casualty of the 2021 Exhibition Calendar has been announced. Sadly, the Midlands Woodworking Show, due to take place in Newark on 12-13 March has been cancelled. You might be thinking that this is a bit premature, but I understand the reasons for this seemingly early decision. A lot of work goes into organising a show – multiple site visits, planning and paperwork etc and there’s a huge cost attached to this, to say nothing of the advertising and promotion costs – all of which is for nought if the show has to be cancelled further down the line. Exhibitors too have costs involved, promotions and stock etc, so whilst certainly unwelcome news it’s sensible to know and be able to plan in advance.
Let’s answer some questions…

Last week I was talking about using finishes in cold workshops, and the difficulty of spreading cold wax with paper towel. Safety Cloth should be fine, and has enough texture to help spread it, and Keith contacted me to say that he keeps a square of NyWeb in his tin of wax for application, not a bad idea.
Someone else asked about general tips for cold workshops (in relation to finishes), so here goes:
Be careful with Acrylic Sanding Sealer, Acrylic Lacquer and End Seal. As water based finishes they don’t like extreme cold, and if they freeze or even just get frost damage it’s the kiss of death for them. Once affected, they do not return to their original state – they tend to have crystals form in them, rendering them unusable.
Most of the other products in our range won’t freeze, the solvents prevent that by having a low freezing point (meths, for example, is minus 97.6 degrees C). The notable exception is Tung Oil which, being solvent free, will freeze to a hard jelly consistency. Allowed to thaw, though, it will return to its original state and will be fine.
Care needs to be taken regarding application too; with lacquers (and sealers) the real enemy isn’t the cold, although this will slow down drying time dramatically. Rather, it’s the damp atmosphere that is associated with cold sheds and workshops. Lacquers are susceptible to damp conditions, the moisture will permeate into the material and cause it to ‘bloom’ – that is, have a white, cloudy effect in it. Sprayed lacquers are even more prone to this as they collect moisture even easier. There’s no easy cure for this, other than heating, or wait for a warmer day.
And not to forget the potential issues of using an aerosol in very cold conditions – something I covered at the other end of this year.

So a couple of nice, short answers to round this week off after that marathon; a Buffing Wheel Kit user called, he was happy with the results he was getting but was never sure if the Carnauba Wax was transferring onto his C Wheel and doing all it should. He’d been using it for ages and it was showing no signs of wearing down, whereas the one I use in our YouTube video was almost all gone. The latter part is easy, I get all the broken sticks to use on my demos, so they’re much smaller to begin with!
The tell-tale is that the stick itself should look polished. If so, sufficient contact is being made to transfer wax to wheel. Eventually the wheel will get a very pale yellow tint to the edge, so you know it’s working. The best indication, though, is that using the C Wheel increases the shine. My original caller said that it was, so all is good.

Finally this week, a question about lacquers; specifically, our Acrylic Lacquer. Does it ‘act like a lacquer in that the second coat will melt into the first’? This is borne of the fact that a cellulose lacquer will soften the very top part of the previous coat, which will give an even better adhesion. But not all lacquers do this, in fact I’d say that the majority do not. It’s certainly not a defining factor of a lacquer. All lacquers are, however, designed to stick to themselves in a coat-on-coat situation, and this is the situation with the Acrylic Lacquer. Properly applied, the end result is pretty much indistinguishable from one thick coat, albeit made up of several thin coats. (For the record, trying to apply one thick coat as a short cut is NOT recommended).

So, that’s all the questions for this week, but I have a few reminders for you..
Our final Conkers LIVE of the year takes place on Monday, featuring the talented Colwin Way. We’ll be back with more demos in 2021
Our live Question Time broadcast will take place on Friday 22 January – and we need your questions! Remember, who knows when you’ll get a chance to ask the experts at a show or demo, so don’t miss this opportunity. Just reply to this email with your question, they don’t have to be 100% serious…
And finally, our Pub Quiz will return between Christmas and the New Year. It’ll be live on YouTube and will be a lot of fun. If you’re already subscribed to reminders about Conkers LIVE you’ll hear more about it there. There’s still time to sign up (here) so you don’t forget, and I’ll fix a date and announce it next week.
You know, the problem with giving reminders is that you always think ‘I’m sure there was something else, but I’ve forgotten it’! Does that happen to you?

I’ll see you next week, have seven good days between now and then!