Friday comes around quickly doesn’t it? I was at the ToolPost Open Days last weekend and had a great time. I always enjoy chatting to people at these events and this time we held some Finishing School demos which were well attended and very well received. Thank you if you took the time to be in the audience.
And I picked up a few questions as well….

A guitar maker asked about using Gilt Cream on an instrument he was making and, importantly, whether or not he could use his preferred method of finish afterwards – a nitrocellulose lacquer applied by spray. The answer here is that it wouldn’t be recommended. The Gilt Cream is a wax type product and as such is relatively soft; it might not offer enough support to a hard lacquer, which would allow the lacquer to crack in time. A better choice over Gilt Cream would be an oil as it has more flexibility, and the Hard Wax Oil should be hard wearing enough for a guitar in most situations.

Another question that comes up once in a while is how hard to press when using abrasives and buffing etc. In most cases these are done with the lathe running, so very little pressure is needed; it’s more important to keep a constant contact (when possible), with a firm but gentle touch. Let the lathe do the work for you and when buffing, your choice of material is also important. Cotton cloths should be avoided at all costs for obvious reasons; we recommend our Safety Cloth, not only because it is much safer to use (it tears very easily if it gets snagged in anything revolving, thus avoiding the danger of dragging your hand into machinery) but also the texture of the cloths is ideal for application of sealers and polishes and especially for buffing waxes. It’s a very simple product but it works wonderfully well!

A question I was asked at the weekend was about the difference between the WoodWax 22 and the Microcrystalline Wax. There’s nothing to choose between the final finish they give, the major differences are drying time and performance.
WoodWax 22 is very quick drying and easy to use. It is best buffed pretty much straight after application and any surplus wax is removed very quickly. It can be used straight onto bare wood but is best over a sealer. It is, in my opinion, a great first finish for anyone just starting in woodturning. It is fairly hardwearing but will be marked by water and will show fingerprints.
Microcrystalline Wax is formed of smaller pieces which knit down to form a very dense surface, which is very water resistant. It also has a higher melting point (above body temperature) which makes it much more resistant to finger printing.
It’s slower drying (10-20 minutes) and needs to be applied over a sealer unless being used for food contact, in which case several coats will need to be applied and built up. It’s important with Microcrystalline Wax that it is used sparingly, the slower drying time allows it to be spread very easilly.

When next week’s Newlsetter hits your inbox I’ll be in Harrogate getting ready for the Northern Woodworking Show – it’s going to be a manic few days. Are you coming? If so, come and make yourself known as a Chestnuteer and you can have a free Chestnut Products notepad and pen, while stocks last. One per Chestnuteer. (They’re free to non-Chesntutneers when they spend £25 on our stand).
I hope we’ll see you there!