Hello again.

Back from my travels up north to Snainton Woodworking Centre, I had a great time there. It was good to see a fair number of Chestnuteers there, thanks for the kind comments, and a quick thank you to the team at Snainton for looking after me and the other demonstrators so well.

We had a question come in this week about Lemon Oil and the best way of using it. Oils are simple creatures, it’s best not to overthink them, they’re very easy to get on with.
Lemon Oil is a very low-build product – that is, it’s a very thin liquid, designed to soak into the timber and leave an almost imperceptible coating. It’s also a near-matt finish as well, which does nothing to aid its visibility. It does provide a water-resistant finish and it will help keep the surface of the wood clean too. Several coats can be applied (leave about eight hours between coats) for extra protection if required but it won’t increase the gloss level.
Lemon Oil does have a lovely lemon aroma, and we’ve recently switched to using a de-aromatised solvent in it to really allow the smell to shine through.
If a brighter finish is required wax can be applied over Lemon Oil.
One last thing to say about it, it’s also great for wet sanding. The oil will lubricate the abrasive giving an exceptionally fine finish and will apply a light coat at the same time.

What’s the best way to finish bark? we were asked. That’s relatively simple one, either one of our oils (Hard Wax Oil would be best if a shine is wanted, Lemon Oil if not) or one of the aerosol finishes, Acrylic Gloss Lacquer or Acrylic Satin Lacquer. The most important thing to do is keep the need for mechanical contact to a minimum – buffing up a wax for example wouldn’t be great as it could easily cause the bark to fall off. Sadly, I don’t know of anything that will prevent the bark from falling off in time as the timber dries. I’d expect that the coating would slow the drying process down and help the bark stay in place, and the coating itself should add more stability, but after that it’s probably a job for a CA Superglue. I wonder if anyone has tried removing the bark deliberately and then gluing it back on for permanence? Would that even be possible?

Last but not least this week an enquiry about how to achieve the look where a piece is stained and textured and the bare wood shows in the texturing. It’s obvious when you think about it, it comes down to the order in which the processes are done; stain first then use the texturing tool to remove some of the coloured wood, exposing bare timber below. Several different effects can be achieved using products in different orders. A favourite is to spray with Ebonising Lacquer, remove part of the surface and then use Spirit Stain to colour the exposed wood. The stain can be easily removed from the lacquered areas and any that is missed won’t really show against the black anyway.

That’s it for this week; if you’re reading this on Friday I’ll be heading back from a demo at Coombe Abbey Woodturners today, I’ll let you know how that went next time.
If you’ve been pondering about our Woodturning Weekender don’t forget that the early bird ticket discount ends soon. It’s not quite now or never, but if you want to save yourself a tenner you’ll need to act soon. Click here for more information.

See you next week