Has it really been only a week since my last Newsletter?? So much has happened it feels like much longer. I mentioned ‘Conkers Live’ last week, our new series of demonstrations by some great top turners, hosted by us. We’ve got our first date already, and we’re kicking off with Chris Fisher, aka The Blind Woodturner, on 27 August. We’ve been waiting for a chance to work with Chris and we’re delighted he’s joining in. We’re doing this under the Woodturning Weekender umbrella, so if you’d like to get more info sign up for our bulletins here.
Enough about that, it’s question time.

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that we’d had our Toy Safe products re-tested to the new, more stringent version of EN71-3, the regulations covering the use of finishes on toys and nursery furniture. This test was necessary to make sure that all of these products comply with the current requirements and we have certified proof of this. The certificate for Hard Wax Oil got lost in the system but I’m pleased to say that this has also passed.
The question of the new regs came up again this week, so that’s covered, but also about our Spirit Stains. These haven’t been tested, and the regulations state that as long as they are encapsulated in a coating that is toy safe, and that the coating cannot be removed or broken away in normal use, then the coating is deemed to be safe. Thus, the stains don’t need to be tested, just be sure to overcoat them with one of our Toy Safe finishes.

There’s still some uncertainty about the different types of sanding sealer, and I was asked this week about the advantage of one over another. In many cases it comes down to personal choice, but the principal difference is the solvent; this in turn affects the drying time and composition of the product, the latter then deciding what can be used on top of it.
Cellulose Sanding Sealer (both types) is the quickest drying and compatible with pretty much anything you want to put on top of it.
Shellac Sanding Sealer is slower (about 20 minutes) and suitable for waxes, Friction Polish and French Polish
Acrylic Sanding Sealer (non-aerosol) is about 20 minutes drying time, suitable for Acrylic Lacquer (non-aerosol), Friction Polish and waxes.
Acrylic Sanding Sealer (aerosol) 20 minutes dry, use with anything except Melamine Lacquer.
For a fully comprehensive list of what goes with what check out the Compatibility Chart – every workshop should have one!
(Drying times quoted are for ‘fully dry’ and in normal conditions).

Many weeks ago I mentioned about using a thinned Cellulose Sanding Sealer for harden the fibres of timber for cutting with a CNC machine. It helped a little, but not enough to really be classed as a solution. What next?
Our correspondent tried Lemon Oil; clear and thin it would penetrate nicely without affecting the colour of the wood, and this was more successful. I’ve included his comprehensive findings here:
It seems that the oil seeps into the grain slightly more than the sealers which tend to sit on the top.  The sealers seem ideal for fixing the furry bits of grain above or on the surface, making them more rigid and much easier to sand back to a smooth surface. However, if cutting back beyond this surface, (as I am doing with a very fine final cut with the CNC), the better penetrating oil gives a better result.  That said, I must wait for the oil to ‘cure’ so this only works if there is no time pressure.

That’s about all for this week. I hope at least one of the questions above resonated with you, and remember, if we’re not answering the question you want to know about you need to tell us. This email isn’t sent from a ‘no-reply’ address, all replies come straight to me.

I’ll see you again next week.