You probably don’t know that we get a report every week showing how many recipients have opened our Newsletter (and, we hope, read it!). The figures update in real time and I check them periodically; it’s been very noticeable in recent weeks that the emails are being opened much quicker. We’re getting to over 50% by Friday lunchtime whereas sometimes it could take until Saturday evening to get to that point. This is, I believe, a good thing as it means most of you are staying indoors and doing what is needed to look after your health. I said previously that Chestnuteers are a sensible bunch; please keep being sensible and keep healthy.

We recently published the first draft of our ‘which product does what’ chart – we’ll be coming back to that sometime soon.
It spawned a question about how many coats of a product should be applied, so I thought I’d run through that today. It’s just one question but with lots of answers, so I hope you won’t feel short-changed!

Let’s start with products that really should only have one coat applied – and that’s Cellulose Sanding Sealer and Acrylic Sanding Sealer. The sealer should do its job in one coat – which should be applied unthinned. (Two thinned coats does not equal one neat coat).
A second coat is therefore not only a waste of time, but it can cause the sealer to craze if a lacquer is applied on top of it. Some turners apply several coats of sealer and leave that as a finish, which is sort of okay but it’s not really hardwearing enough for a proper finish.

Most of our other products can be left as just one coat if required. That’s the lacquers, oils, waxes etc. Depending on the use one coat will give protection and make the wood look good.
Sometimes a brighter, deeper gloss is wanted so you might want to build up more layers to achieve this.
Lemon Oil and Food Safe Finish won’t build to a gloss however many coats you apply, but the Finishing Oil and Hard Wax Oil will increase in gloss with more coats. There’s no real limit on these, just remember to lightly sand between coats to get the best finish. Finishing Oil should build to a gloss after 6-7 coats and Hard Wax Oil after 3 coats. You can carry on but it probably won’t add much!

Lacquers are a different matter. Subsequent coats will again, in most cases, increase the gloss level, but we’d only recommend a maximum of three coats. This is because (unlike oils) lacquers have very little flexibility, and surprising at is may sound the weight of too many coats can cause the ones at the bottom to crack. With a proper application three coats should also achieve a full gloss anyway. Some turners, I know, prefer to apply 5 or 6 coats to get a very high build finish; if you want to do this then it is essential to sand each coat back quite vigorously, to the point of removing some of it, to reduce the build up of weight.

Waxes should give a good shine on their first coat, but can also be built up to give a brighter finish with more depth. Caution is needed here again though; up to three coats will be fine (three seems to be the magic number!) but after that the WoodWax 22 will mark easily if handled. If the item is a display piece that won’t be handled much this won’t be a problem, but if not a coat of Microcrystalline Wax on top will make it harder wearing and offer more protection.

Stains can be built up as well to give a stronger colour; the main colour change will occur after the first coat of course, but subsequent coats will add a shade or two if you need a slightly darker colour.

…and that’s the Newsletter for another week. I looked it up recently, the first edition went out to just 52 people – our readership is now well into four figures! Thank you to all of my readers, to everyone who looks forward to these ramblings and for helping me keep some sort of normality at this crazy time.
This will probably be one of the strangest Easter breaks on record – I should have been demonstrating in the Netherlands. Whatever you are doing I hope you have a pleasant time and stay healthy.

I’ll be back next week

With my very best wishes to you and yours