It’s been another busy week at Chestnut HQ, starting with our quiz last Friday which was great fun. Thank you to everyone who took part and helped us celebrate our 30th birthday. There will be more quizzes!
Then on Monday we had our next Conkers LIVE session with Les Thorne. A highly enjoyable demo packed with loads of tips and information. You can still catch it on our YouTube channel.
And as well as all of that, we’ve also had some questions come in, so let’s get answering them..

A slightly unusual one to start with this week; we were asked about the round plastic labels with a triangle on them that are on some of our bottles. What’s it for? There doesn’t seem to be anything on the web about their purpose!
You just need to know what to look for; these are Tactile Warning Labels, to warn anyone with a visual impairment that the contents are hazardous in some way – flammable, corrosive, irritant etc. Some products (ie bleach) have the warning moulded into the bottle, and there are regulations about where on the bottle the triangle needs to appear, how big it is and how raised it is.
You can read more on the HSE website here.
So now you know. You might be surprised that Food Safe Finish has one on it – the need surprised us as well! Apparently, there’s a risk of aspiration with the product which creates this requirement. Best advice here, don’t drink it in case it goes down the wrong way!

Another question that came in was about the need to use a sealer on dense timbers such as African Blackwood. Is it really necessary?
Anyone who’s seen one of my demos will know that I’m a great fan of sealers, and how important they are. One of their jobs is to seal the pores of the timber so that less of the next coat is needed, but with dense woods the next coat (wax, lacquer, polish etc) doesn’t really have anywhere to go. But one of the other jobs the sealer does is to make sure the timber is able to give as good a base as possible for whatever comes next. So my advice is that for the best results, always use a sealer. Even if you can’t see what it’s doing, it’s still working hard for you to make sure you get the best finish possible.

And finally this week, a question about Microcrystalline Wax. Our correspondent had seen me use it at a demo and was having trouble replicating the high gloss I achieved. He’d sealed the wood, used Burnishing Cream on the sealer to get a bright finish, then Cut’n’Polish, then two coats of Microcrystalline Wax – and the result was a smeary, unsatisfactory finish.
Now, to be honest, the coat of Cut’n’Polish was probably unnecessary; the Burnishing Cream had already done the same job. But that wasn’t the problem. The important things to remember with Microcrystalline Wax is that it needs to be applied in as thin a coat as possible. Less really is more with this one and a light coat gives a better result than a thick one. The solvent in it is slower drying than, say, WoodWax 22, giving you plenty of time to spread it over your work. And then, give it a little time to dry out properly before buffing it. On the can we say about 15 minutes, but if the coat is thin enough you can buff it after 2-3 minutes, often less. Thin films dry quicker, and more thoroughly, than thick coats.

And there you have it. More questions dealt with! As always, I hope you found them interesting. Don’t forget, if you’re still struggling for ideas for Christmas presents, either for a friend or to give someone an idea of what you’d like, you could do worse than our Wonderful Woodturning Calendar. These are proving very popular and will be adorning walls across Europe and the USA. Make sure you get yours as well. Each month features a different turner, and includes work- in-progress pictures showing how each item was made. To get yours, just click on the picture.

And I’ll be back next Friday; I hope I’ll see you then.

All the best