Hi there

I’m back from my travels to the Isle of Wight and had an absolutely wonderful time there. I enjoyed talking about polishing with the members of Wight Woodturners, a group of very talented turners on the island. My thanks to them and to Andy and Nikki Fortune for looking after us so well, and for the wonderful recommendations on where to eat – The Pointer Inn deserves a special mention as it really exceeded expectations!
Welcome also to our new readers from the Island, and my travelogue ends here, let’s get on with some questions!

You know how sometimes you’re making something and you sand your work as smooth as possible, only to find a small scratch shows up when you apply a finish?
We were contacted by someone doing bas-relief carving recently who was applying WoodWax 22 after sanding to show up any scratches – and then wanted to be able to remove it to finish with an oil. (Yes, that is a slightly odd way of doing things but the caller was a brand new beginner).
It’s not very easy to remove wax without upsetting the surface below, definitely not desirable on this type of carving, so we suggested a visit to a car body shop to obtain some dewaxer/degreaser, which should do the job very well – but it’s evil stuff and must be handled with extreme care.
We also suggested that it would be better to use something like Spirit Thinners to show up scratches in future. This is wet enough to show up those imperfections only visible when a finish is applied, but will evaporate away to nothing very quickly.

An emailer asked us if we would use a sanding sealer under a CA glue when finishing pens. Our answer is that the glue should be self sealing, but we wouldn’t use a CA glue as a pen finish anyway! CA is a glue, not really a finish, and although good looking results can be achieved it’s very difficult to do and the fumes from CA really aren’t very user friendly. The exposure to them required for finishing a pen is undesirable.
Instead, use a couple of coats of Melamine Lacquer applied over a Cellulose Sanding Sealer and then polished using Burnishing Cream. This is much easier and gives a great, long-lasting finish. These products are not solvent free so care should still be taken when using them, but they are not as unpleasant as a CA.

And finally for this week, I was also asked when WoodWax 22 should be used over Microcrystalline Wax. I took this literally and answered that although compatible there would be no advantage in doing this; it would negate the advantages of using the Microcrystalline Wax, it would make more sense to build up a couple of coats of WoodWax 22.
I then realised (having been told!) that the questioner really wanted to know when WoodWax 22 should be used in preference to Microcrystalline Wax!
My answer to this was that whilst Microcrystalline Wax is easy to apply, WoodWax 22 is even easier, or more accurately requires less care; the buffing process removes any excess giving a good finish. It is also quicker drying.
So for items where maximum protection isn’t needed (and it still has some, just not as much as Microcrystalline Wax), and you want a quick, easy finish I’d reach for the WoodWax 22.
Visually there’s nothing to choose between them, both are toy safe, Microcrystalline Wax has also been approved as food safe.

So there you have it for this week, as always I hope that you’ve found something here to interest you. As regular readers will know I’m off to the ToolPost this weekend for their Open House. I’m looking forward to seeing many friends there and especially Gary Lowe, the Tartan Turner, who will also be a headline demonstrator at our Woodturning Weekender. That’s creeping up on us fast, if you haven’t got your tickets yet don’t leave it too late!!

I’ll be back here next week and I hope to see you then.