Heating Workshops, Oily Woods and Sealing Stains


Happy New Year! Not that it’s got off to a very good start really, but hopefully there is some light at the end of the tunnel. It’s looking like a long tunnel though…
Thank you if you joined us for our Twixmas Quiz, it was just a bit of light-hearted fun and I’m pleased that everyone seemed to enjoy it and The Archery Foundation, a registered charity, is £50 better off for it. Congratulations to Jewles for coming first, but everyone did really well – and asked for more, so there’s another one on 30 January. Let’s face it, what else are you going to do? Details will of course follow.
I’ve got some questions and answers for you…

Some time ago I answered a question about using finishes in cold workshops, and what to watch out for. Of course, the best solution is prevention, and my thanks to Mick for his suggestion. He insulated his workshop when it was built, which will, of course, help enormously, but his main tip was to install a greenhouse heater. This can be set to turn on and off depending on the temperature, and will go a long way towards keeping a workshop warm, and preventing a damp atmosphere, the scourge of good finishing.

A question that comes in from time to time is about the best way to finish oily woods – olive, rosewoods, teak etc. Being oily already, the best thing to do is to use oil on top of them. Any of our oils finishes will be fine, this becomes a personal choice, whether you want to colour the wood at all, and what sort of finish you want – matt, satin, gloss etc.
It is also possible – and acceptable – to apply a wax onto an oily timber (and over an oil finish too, if you’ve already oiled it). As I often say, waxes are fairly universal and will stick to pretty much anything.

Finally, question-wise for this week, a question came in about ‘when do stains need sealing?’. If we’re talking about the need to put a coating over the stain, then the answer is ‘always’. Staining wood only changes the colour, it doesn’t offer any protection. I have a bad habit of using the term ‘bare wood’ to encompass ‘stained wood’, because apart from the extra colour it is still bare.
A coating (wax, lacquer, oil etc) over the top of the stain will help keep the stain fixed in, and will protect the wood as well; you wouldn’t leave your creation without a top coat, after all.
Generally speaking, you wouldn’t put a coating on prior to staining. Doing so will prevent the stain from soaking into the timber, slow down the drying time and make it too easy to remove. It can be done, but it’s usually just for achieving special decorative effects, and another, compatible, coating should be (carefully) applied to seal the stain in place.

We’ve got some events coming up which we hope will help keep you entertained in this, well, somewhat miserable month.
Next Monday, 11 January, we have the first Conkers LIVE episode of the year, featuring a live demo from the wonderful Glenn Lucas. It’s going to be a good one!
22 January is our first ever Question Time; a panel of top turners will be answering questions from viewers. We’ve had some questions already, but if you’ve got one for the panel (which will feature Emma Cook, Richard Findley and David Lowe) please send them in. You can just reply to this email with your question.
You can follow the links above and set reminders now, if you’d like.
Just in case you don’t already know, all of our livestream events are free to watch, there are no downloads or sign-ups, just turn up!
I hope we’ll see you there.

In the meantime, take care and stay safe,

All the best