Turning Archive 2007

end-grain finishing

GaryG in MD
>This question is probably as much about time/quality/price as it is about technique, but technique is the part I'm most interested in right now.

I haven't done a lot of small end-grain turning (read bottle stoppers, mushrooms, etc.), but I've just turned a few Rosand-style ring holders out of canary wood for the ladies in my life. Canary is fine grained but has lots and lots of tiny pores. My normal finish is Watco Abraloned to 4000. On side grain, that gives a nice soft luster. These ring holders have a lot of end grain in them, and the pores tend to be visible, on casual viewing, as a dulling of the sheen. Upon closer inspection, with good eyes, each pore is visible.

My initial reaction is that I don't like this. I usually avoid filling pores the old-fashioned way (wet sanding and forcing the resulting slurry into the pores) because I have felt that reduces the brilliance of the underlying wood, but does it really?

So my questions for all you bottle stopper makers are:

1) Should I just live with it, or 2) should I go for a smooth finish by filling the pores with a) slurry or b) a surface finish product like a varnish?

Clearly, there are questions of time/effort/salary/cost here, but since I'm just a hobbyist making gifts for family members, those don't interest me as much as the final result.

Is it just me as a turner being picky, or do the customers see those pores as a negative in the finish?

TIA for all your thoughts, Gary

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