Well who knew? The Newsletter last week included a question about sealing a stain on a chimney breast (importantly it wasn’t caused by damp) and I had hoped I’d given the correct reply. Several Chestnuteers wrote in (and thank you all, I’m sorry I haven’t been able to reply to all of you individually) with a range of suggestions, including shellac, five coats of Finishing Oil, Ronseal Damp Seal (although it wasn’t damp), and strangest of all…wait for it…cow dung! Yes, really, it’s an old Dorset remedy and it works. I’ll take your word for it Chuck!
Thank you again to everyone who wrote, it’s been a manic week again, lots of silly, fiddly jobs that refuse to go right for me, so apologies again for this bulk reply.
Some new questions then…

This first question is, I admit, a bit of a cheat but it’s too good a tip to not pass on. There was a question, which was ‘did you know..?’ so I think I can get away with it…
Mike H contacted me about a small sycamore box he’d turned which had a very tight lid; perhaps just a little too tight. But how to make an adjustment without removing too much timber and ending up with a sloppy fit, and/or spoiling the finish.
The answer he came up with was to apply a smear of Cut’n’Polish to the lip of the lid, fit it onto the base and turn them against each other by hand. The mild abrasive action of the Cut’n’Polish, along with regular and careful cleaning and testing, was enough to achieve a perfect fit.
This was a new one on me and, I think, worth sharing.

Another query came in about cleaning a surface prior to finishing. I was asked about the practice some turners have of wiping a bowl (or other turned item) with meths before applying a sealer etc. We’re not keen on this practice. It’s possible for the wood to be tinted by the colourant in the meths, and it does very little to improve the surface; all it does is wash the surface and anything on there without removing any of it, which seems to be the aim.
There is a place for wiping on a solvent, as this can help show up any scratches that have been somehow left behind in the sanding process. But a clear, quick drying solvent such as Spirit Thinners or Cellulose Thinners would be better.
To remove any stray sanding dust or other particles a Tack Cloth is a much better option; it’s what it is designed for and will ensure the cleanest surface possible prior to finishing. If you look after the Tack Cloth by keeping it in an airtight container you’ll get several month’s worth of use out of it, so all in all they’re a good investment.

And finally for this week, some confusion about NyWeb – it wouldn’t be the first time. We’ve always called the White NyWeb non-abrasive, because unlike the other grades it doesn’t have Silicon Carbide or Aluminium Oxide in it to give it an abrasive cut, but the texture of the webbing gives it a very fine abrasive action. I’m going to try and refer to it as ‘abrasive free’ in future, which is perhaps a more helpful description. The question came in, should users denib with the Orange or the White, or both? That is really a matter of personal preference, but to get the best effect I’d use the Orange to make sure that anything you want removed gets removed; if you want to follow up with the White one afterwards and burnish the surface a little this can only help give a better final finish.

And another Newsletter comes to an end, but never fear, there will be another one next week!
I mentioned about a couple of YouTube channels last week; I don’t want this to become a regular feature (although it’s in danger of becoming one!), but as it’s not possible to get out and watch live demos I wanted to mention just a couple more this week. First up, Andrew Hall has released a taster of his videos on his channel, aptly showing his cupboard of finishes, whilst still finalising his series of fifteen minute tutorials. These will be worth seeing.
Also, on Sunday, Stewart Furini will be giving a live demo at 5.00pm showing centrifuge paint effects with our Metallic and Iridescent Paints. You can join in here, last week’s was great fun. We’ve worked with Stewart a number of times now and his enthusiasm to share his techniques is fantastic. A recording of the demo will be available afterwards if you miss it.
There are a lot of live demos being held at the moment, some are free, some are pay-to-view. Please remember that for many professional turners teaching and demos form a major part of their income, and this has been taken away from them for the time being. Even those who only demonstrate part-time will have invested in equipment to make sure the demo you see is the best it can be. There’s always the option to send the demonstrator a ‘tip’, even if the demo is free. If every viewer chipped in just a couple of quid (less than the price of a beer, if the pubs were open!) I know it would make a huge difference to the demonstrators. There’s never any pressure, but we work with a lot of these people and we know they’re not immune to the current problems.

Enjoy the long weekend, stay safe, and I’ll see you again next week.

All the best