Well it’s nearly the end of another busy week here at Chestnut HQ, although we’ve got something going on tonight, which I’ll tell you about in a minute. First though, something important to mention about our Buffing Tree.
Following an instance recently where a user had been using the Tree with the Small Mandrel, and the mandrel had sheared apart at its middle shoulder, we are updating our advice regarding use and saying that the Buffing Tree should only be used with the Large Mandrel. The likelihood of this happening is extremely small, this is merely a precautionary step. Please let me know if this change causes you any problems.
Now for some questions…

Applying Ebonising Lacquer to an open grained timber such as ash, and then putting Gilt Cream on top, is a popular and highly effective way to decorate an item. So much so that we even made a short YouTube video about it.
But, we were asked this week, what if a different background colour is wanted? It’s pretty simple really, the same process can be used but substituting the Ebonising Lacquer for Spirit Stain. This works very well, but the best results are achieved by using a sealer or lacquer after the stain, before applying the Gilt Cream.
The reason this works so well is that the sealer/lacquer fills the tiny pores of the timber, so that the Gilt Cream doesn’t fill these as well; it only goes into the open grain areas, and gives a more dramatic effect. Think of it like this; the Ebonising Lacquer colours and seals in one product, but the stains need to be used in conjunction with a sealer or lacquer to do the same thing.

Another question came in about which sanding sealer we’d recommend to use before applying a varnish. When dealing with a top coating that isn’t one of ours (we don’t make varnishes) it’s always hard to say, but our go-to for this is the Cellulose Sanding Sealer. It’s easy to use, and pretty much universal – there aren’t many products we can think of that it won’t stick to, or that won’t stick to it. We’d always recommend a test piece first, of course, but would be very surprised if there was a reaction.
The question arose because the caller had applied several coats of a gloss varnish to an area and still wasn’t seeing a shine. This sounded strange, varnishes are normally thick enough to ‘self-seal’, and to be honest we suspected there was a problem with the varnish and advised doing some tests on different timbers.

And odd question of the week, we were asked about a finish for a Pickle Packer. No, I didn’t know what one was either! It’s a shaped cylinder of wood which narrows in the middle, forming a sort of waist. It’s used, apparently, when pickling vegetables etc in a jar. First off, it can help to remove any excess water, and then to tamp them down so that even more can be put in.
There’s no option on something like this, it has to be Food Safe Finish, it’s the only thing that will be safe for the amount of food contact that’s going to take place here. I did wonder though, if the packer was going to be used for lots of different foods, sweet and savoury, if it might be a good idea to cover the business end with some clingfilm, held in place by an elastic band, which could be discarded afterwards and prevent taste transference. Just a thought!

So those are this week’s questions. And if you want more, don’t forget that tonight we’re holding our Question Time on YouTube. It’s dedicated to turning questions, so I’m sure there will be something there to interest you. And if you’re very quick, you might just be able to sneak a last minute question in for tonight. Send it in now!

I hope I’ll see you later, and next week I’ll say a little more about our fun quiz on Saturday 30 January.

Take care, see you soon,