That’s another week gone! Never mind, there’s another one coming up.
Did you watch our Virtual Weekender? If not, or if you want to watch it again, it’s now (finally) available to watch on YouTube. We’ve stitched all the parts together and both days are there, with the demos shown in their entirety.
And don’t forget our second Conkers LIVE next week featuring the amazing Pat Carroll, demonstrating one of his wonderful lidded boxes. That’s happening on Wednesday 16th, starting at 7.15pm, also on our YouTube channel. There’s a link in the footer below.
And now… the questions…

A question via the website this week was ‘Should I use a pre-conditioner before applying the Rainbow Spirit Stains?’. I object to the name ‘pre-conditioner’; it would indicate that you apply it before using a conditioner. But there is no conditioner used, so that can’t be right. Actually, cards on the table, I object to the whole idea of a ‘pre-conditioner’. It harks back to last week’s comment about watching YouTube demonstrators who have only a little idea of what they are talking about. (Rant mode off).
My flippant answer to the original question – remember that? – was to ask why the emailer thought they needed one. The reply was that they wondered if it would give a richer, deeper sheen. That’s not even the idea of a so-called ‘pre-conditioner’. The depth and the shine come from what goes on top of the stain.
The alleged reason for using a pre-conditioner is to give a more even colour to the stain, which can be difficult when using a timber (such as pine) in which the porosity varies across the surface. It’s not necessary on every project, and frankly isn’t necessary at all. If you’re having troubles just use a thinned Cellulose Sanding Sealer (thin it about 50/50) and it’ll do the job perfectly. (Regular readers will know that I don’t normally advocate thinning the sealer, it is required for this particular purpose though).

An email arrived titled ‘Problem with Carnauba Wax’ which surprised me as it’s a very simple product, not much can go wrong with it. Upon opening it I read that the issue was with a bowl that had been buffed and polished with carnauba wax, had lost its shine. ‘It gets dusted along with everything else’, the email continued, ‘I think the Pledge cleaner has removed the wax’. Me too! Waxes have a certain amount of resistance to other finishes/cleaners, but it is limited. I don’t know if this was an aerosol wax or one of the cleaners in the range, but either way it’ll be too harsh for a wax. In most circumstances a wipe over with a clean, soft cloth is all that shoud be needed to keep a wax finish looking good. If that’s not enough, a proper furniture wax (that is, one that actually contains wax – some aerosol polishes don’t!) should be used, and a non-aerosol, paste wax is best – but more time consuming, we understand that. But maybe, for those ‘special’ or ‘hand-made’ items, or your treasured heirloom furniture, put away the Pledge.
If you want to have something that will stand up longer to aerosol cleaners, then it’s going to have to be a lacquer; any of ours will be suitable for that.

Finally this week, an email came in from a long-time friend and user of Chestnut Products, who told me we first met in 1996, at a long-closed shop near Heathrow Airport. A real blast from the past, where did those years go!!
He’s rebuilding a bench, having acquired two metal ends which have been sandblasted and powder coated. He’s made some slats in Sapele, and wants a finish and protect them as the bench will be permanently outside. It’s another use for Finishing Oil. Tough and hardwearing, it’ll stand up to most of the abuse that is thrown at it. A real plus for this product is the UV filters, which will protect the finish (and the wood beneath) from the harmful effects of the sun. For best results the finish should be cleaned and re-coated annually (twice, if you can bear it, once at the beginning of the ‘season’ and again at the end).

Those are the questions, and the answers, for this week. There will be more, same time, same place. A quick ‘hello’ before I go to the good folk up in Lincoln to whom I gave a Zoom demo recently. It was a new experience for me; I’ve hosted online demos before but haven’t given one. This was a cheat as I was playing some pre-records and answering questions as I went, but it was well received and thanks to everyone there for their friendliness.

I hope you have a good week, I’ll see you in seven!