Has that week flown by for you? Seems like only yesterday I was writing to you, and here I am again. I hope your week has been good, the lifting of some restrictions has certainly been welcomed. I know that some of you are keen golfers, so you’ll be pleased to be able to get out on the course, and I’m looking forward to getting back to tennis.
Whatever you get up to outside of woodwork, I hope you’ll be able to get back to it soon if you haven’t already. We’ll keep doing our bit with the YouTube stuff we’re putting out as well, I’m pleased that it’s of use to so many of the Chestnuteers.
Let’s deal with some questions…

Curiously, this question came up twice in a matter of days recently. Two callers were re-finishing a handrail and wanted to know the best way to go about it. There are lots of options here, but the important elements as far as we can see is to have something that is either hard wearing or easy to maintain, and that is definitely easy to apply over a long run.
Our two favourite options here would be a combo of sealer and wax or the Hard Wax Oil. A sealer and wax would look good and be easy to apply, and would be fairly hard wearing and easy to maintain when required. In most cases a buff up with a soft cloth would be enough to bring it back to its original condition, and if the damage was more serious than that, a fresh coat of wax applied with a fine abrasive (ie Orange NyWeb) followed by a buff would do the job very well.
If you’d prefer to avoid maintenance as much as possible, then Hard Wax Oil would be the choice. It’ll stay looking good for a very long time, and the slower drying time makes it easy to apply over a larger (longer) surface.

Watching a livestream on YouTube recently the demonstrator asked what to do about his tin of WoodWax 22 which had started to dry out – other than, he admitted, being more careful to keep the lid on in the first place! The answer is to add some white spirit to the wax and allow it to soak in. This will soften the wax, and although it won’t return it to its original state (it will be slower drying) it will make is soft enough to use again. Another viewer asked if using a hot air gun would help, and this is definitely NOT recommended. Even when you think the wax is as dry as it could be, there’s probably still some solvent left in there. When you consider it has the flammability of petrol, you don’t want to be introducing direct heat into the equation! If you must warm the wax, do so in a hot water bath, and again, no direct heat.

And finally for this week, we were asked for a clear finish for chessboards made from walnut and maple. The request was for a finish that would keep the maple as pale as possible, to highlight the contrast between the colours.
We’re working on a low visibility finish which would be good for this, but the real problem here is that as soon as you put even water onto wood it will darken certain timbers. A low sheen product will help to limit the change.
From our existing range, I suggested trying the Cellulose Sanding Sealer and WoodWax 22 Clear. Once dry, there is very little colour change with this product. For a slightly harder wearing finish, the Acrylic Sanding Sealer and Acrylic Lacquer should be a good combination, these dry very clear as well. The lacquer does have a shine to it, so this would need to be reduced using a fine abrasive. We await news of the results!

And that’s it for this week. I’ll be enjoying a long Easter weekend now, and happy to be able to travel a bit and meet up with people again. I hope you have some good plans and are able to enjoy yourself.
I’ll be back here next week with more questions and answers, I hope to see you then.

All the best