I do hope you’re safe and healthy. My thanks to everyone who wrote back last week and for their good wishes, they are very much appreciated.
We continue to be fairly busy, more so that we originally expected, thank you all for your support. It’s especially welcome in these times.
Let’s do some questions…
A question came in about using a very weak solution of Borax (sodium tetraborate) on wet timber to combat fungal and mould development. (I don’t know if this is common practice, but I’ve never come across it before). The questioner has been using PVA to seal his timber to slow down the drying and thus reduce splitting, but the PVA reacts with the Borax to form a slimy jelly. Would End Seal give the same result? I didn’t know, but I doubted it; End Seal is a relatively simple product, an emulsified wax, there’s very little there to cause a reaction. The only way to know was to try it and I’m grateful to Tim Pettigrew (who asked the original question) for doing so and reporting back. I’m pleased to say I was right, the End Seal behaved itself beautifully and no adverse reaction was found.
(Doing some extra research on this for the Newsletter- contrary to how it may seem, I don’t just throw these things together at the last minute! (well, not always!) – I came across this Wikipedia article which shows that the jelly result is to be expected when mixing PVA and Borax).

Another question asked was whether an accidental sanding scratch left behind in timber would show up less when using a water based stain (instead of a spirit based stain). Sadly not. Think of a scratch as a groove, which means there’s more surface area. This will absorb more of the stain, making it slightly darker, making the scratch show up more.
Sometimes even a clear finish will highlight a scratch, so eliminating them before proceeding is always best. If you’re unsure, you can wipe the surface with something like Spirit Thinners or Cellulose Thinners. This will have the same effect as the stain in highlighting any errant scratches. These won’t raise the grain, and, importantly, once they’ve done their job they will quickly evaporate away, leaving nothing behind. This means you can then finish the timber with whatever method you prefer.

I was asked this week as well about the ‘thinning sealer down technique‘ to semi-seal pine to avoid a blotchy effect when staining. This can be very effective, but there is another option.
Instead of staining the pine, just use one of the tinted WoodWax 22 options. Because the colour is in the wax it will go on easily and evenly, colouring and finishing the surface with one product. More coats of wax can be added if required, but the subsequent colour change will be much less dramatic.
This ease of use is one of the main reasons for the huge popularity of tinted waxes, and during the stripped pine boom of the 1980’s it practically established one brand as the market leader for pine furniture. (Should I mention I was the product manager for that particular brand..?)
(This is different from Liming Waxes and the like, which are usually much softer and rely on the wax staying in the grain for a decorative effect, whereas the WoodWax 22 covers -and colours – the whole area, changing the shade of the whole piece).

And there I will stop for this week. Thank you for reading our Newsletter, and as always – and especially now – I send best wishes to you and yours. I’ll be along again next week with more ramblings, I hope to see you then.

Stay safe