Hi there

Now more than ever it is relevant to say ‘how are you?’ I hope you and yours are keeping well. We continue to stay healthy and are doing everything we can to stay that way.
My thanks not only to everyone who took advantage of our ‘NoNewark’ offer last week, but also to everyone who, unexpectedly, wrote and thanked me. Such small kindnesses are very welcome in the current climate.
The good news is that we’re still getting questions…

Several sharp eyed Chestnuteers spotted an omission in last week’s Newsletter, thank you for letting me know. I quoted a question from someone asking for the best way to finish some oak kitchen doors after rubbing them down with Steel Wool. I gave the answer to the question, but neglected to mention that I also advised the caller about the dangers of using Steel Wool on oak. The two really don’t go together, as any steel fibres left in the pores of the oak will react with the tannins causing unsightly brown stains. Best to use something like NyWeb instead which is much cleaner and, importantly, non-metallic.

I was asked about the benefits (or otherwise) of using a home-made abrasive wax prior to coating with an oil. I’m not a fan really.
All abrasive pastes (which includes our Cut’n’Polish) use a wax as a carrier for the abrasive and will leave a wax film on the surface of the timber. This will stop the oil from penetrating and sticking to the timber and could cause it to peel off in the future. The better option, in my opinion, is to use the oil (pretty much any of them will do) to lubricate your normal abrasive. This still has the advantage of cutting down on the dust created, and the oil/sanding dust slurry created will seal some of the timber. Any excess should be removed before continuing. It also means that you’re more in control of the grit; you can sand from coarse to smooth and know exactly what level you have sanded to. More oil can then be applied to the finished surface.

Finally for this week, and forgive me if I’ve covered this before, a question about our Compatibility Chart. Someone (politely) raised a query about some of the advice given, which went against how they used some of our products.
It was a fair question, and worthy of an explanation as you’ll often see turners using a combination that we don’t recommend. The answer is that the chart is based on ‘Best Practice’. Follow its advice and you’ll never go wrong. Now, some rules are ok to be bent, and that’s true with finishing as well (but only some rules). Generally speaking turners work on relatively small pieces/areas and, because of this, will get away with things that they really shouldn’t. But if you keep bending the rules they will eventually break and cause a finish to go wrong. And of course, it’ll only happen on that vital piece you’d made that HAS to be delivered the next day! So, take chances if you must, life would be boring if we didn’t, but just remember the possible consequences!

That’s it for questions this week. At the time of writing we’re still operating our mail order service. We understand that we’re not ‘key workers’ or an ‘essential business’ but we can’t do this from home. Besides which, many people have commented that they’re using this enforced extra leisure time to do more woodwork, which requires our products. Being able to do so, they tell us, is helping them stay sane; I think they’re only half-joking, so it’s nice to think that we are helping, even if only in the most minor way.

I hope you are well and continue to stay that way

Best regards