How has your week been? It’s been another busy one at Chestnut Towers, with another demo for me. This time I was up at King’s Lynn Woodturners in the blistering heat. But it was a great evening, a very healthy club, extremely well-organised (as most clubs are), benefitting from having a lovely hall to meet in. Thanks to Steve and his team for a good evening.

Last week I mentioned a report I’d been sent, comparing the use of End Seal versus PVA. A slower drying time reduces the risk of the timber splitting. As promised, I contacted the author, Tim Pettigrew, who very kindly sent me an updated version of it. I’ve attached it to this email. It’s a very detailed report, quite long, but worth getting to grips with. It shows how the End Seal does a good job of this (better than PVA).
Tim also sent in the above picture of his ‘End Seal Nursery’. He says “Green Oak is particularly prone to crack if dried too quickly and End seal is proving invaluable in slowing the drying down by up to 2-3 years and preventing cracking.”
Thank you Tim for all of your work on this, it is very much appreciated.

Last week’s Newsletter also prompted an email from a Chestnuteer who was trying to refurbish some wooden golf clubs. They were going to be for display only, but the existing finish was very scratched and worn. He’d got a good finish on the shaft using WoodWax 22, but the clubhead (I had to look up the correct word!) wasn’t going to be so easy. I suggested that the old finish would need to come off, and possibly the best way would be to use a solvent to remove it. Start with meths, moving onto Cellulose Thinners if that doesn’t work. It will be a messy and possibly tedious task, but hopefully worthwhile.
To complicate matters a little more, there was an engraving on the bottom, so an old toothbrush, or similar, would be required to pick the finish out from that.
Once cleaned up, a coat of sanding sealer would be good. If only meths was needed to remove the old finish, a Shellac Sanding Sealer would be best. If Cellulose Thinners had been used, a Cellulose Sanding Sealer should be employed, as this would ensure compatibility if any of the old finish remained. After that, a coat or two of WoodWax 22 should bring up a nice shine, and be in keeping with the finish on the shaft.

The next question asked about a finish for the handles of wooden steak knives. Which were going to be immersed in a bowl of washing up water.
I had two suggestions: Firstly, Our Hard Wax Oil would be a good choice for this, in either Gloss or Satin, as it’s easy to use, hard-wearing and water-resistant.
My second suggestion was to not put the knives in the washing up bowl! It’s not good for the wood, or the finish. It would be better to wash the metal part thoroughly, but not immerse the whole thing in water. The wooden handle can be wiped with a damp cloth to clean it.
(This brings me to yet another email about last week’s Newsletter, when someone wanted an easy way to remove Melamine Lacquer. Apparently a dishwasher is good for this – which didn’t really surprise me. It’s not something we’d recommend, though!).

Finally, for this week, a cautionary word about using stains, following a comment from a customer. Always remember, when using Spirit Stains (or pretty much any other type), that they are translucent. The colour of the original wood is going to show through. Which means, applying a light stain to a dark wood isn’t going to make the wood look lighter. Always do a test patch first, remembering that wood can have different absorbencies, so that may not be totally indicative of the final result. And always allow for the fact that a larger area often looks darker than a smaller patch. I really don’t know why that is, but it does seem to be the case.

And that’s where I’m leaving things this week. It’s been another scorching hot week here, and may well have been for you, too. Be careful in the sun, and if you’re venturing into the workshop, remember that finishes can behave differently when it’s hot – runnier, quicker drying, waxes can melt, etc. Unless you really have to do it, it might be better to hold off for a few days.
Whatever you do, enjoy your week, and I’ll see you here again in seven.