Turning Archive 2005

Watco Follow up

Barry Irby
>I posted several times about finishing some stools with Watco Danish Oil. It sort of irritates me when people post queries for help and then never come back to tell us the out come. So here is the outcome.

I put way too many coats of Watco Danish Oil on these walnut stools. Probably a minimum of twelve. My problem was I went the wrong way. I saw the shiny area and tried to build a finish to make the entire surface that shiny. I got frustrated as each coat took longer and longer to dry. The final coats were taking a week or more and they were not cured even then.

On the advice I got here I tried a coat of Urethane. I went to Woodcraft where I bought the Watco Danish Oil and Asked for more advice there. Got different answers than I got here. Decided to stick with the Wood Central advice. Someone posted that they had Urethane at Woodcraft. Low on a bottom shelf they had Watco Urethane. Right on the label it said it was good for adding a protective coat over their Danish Oil. That sewed it up for me. Seemed to settle the last nagging doubts I had about compatibility issues.

I knocked the finish back with 320 sterated sand paper and applied a coat of the urethane. The nest day I notice that the top of one of the stools had a sort of shriveled or withered pattern in the finish. Looked sort like an orange peal. I was ticked. Being about to choke on these stools and anxious to get them out of my shop and ignorant to boot, I scraped the finish off the top of the stool and sanded it to with in an inch of its life and am re coating it.

Then I noticed another one. This time I tried to finesse it. I wet it with mineral spirits and used four hundred wet or dry sand paper and removed the orange peal area. Seems to be much better. Much easier than completely removing the finish. We will have to wait for them both to dry to be sure. If they ever dry.

I've learned a few things to pass along.

IF you are too old to buy green bananas, don't try to build a gloss finish with Danish Oil.

Don't try a new (to you) finish on a commissioned project. Experiment on a scrap.

I got what I thought was good advice from a trusted turning club member. Try it on a scrap. What may work fine on a bowl does not necessarily translate to five stools.

The client called the shots. His buddy said use Watco. Should have hired the buddy to finish the stools. Who knows what the buddy knows, might be an idiot.

I believe the dryers in the Urethane caused the excessive amount of Danish Oil I put on to shrink as it dried. Not sure. Not a Chemist or expert on finishes. Maybe one of our resident experts could jump in.

I also learned that Watco farms out the making of its stuff, as I'm sure many do, but that they did not keep the quality control as tight as one might have thought, so the Watco you buy one time may be different from another time or place. If that's true, its very disturbing to me. Being pretty ignorant of this stuff I depend on the name brands to sell me what they claim they are selling me, not just whatever happens to be in the can.

One final rant. I bought satin finish. Clearly said not to shake it. Its a wipe on finish and they don't want a bunch of bubbles in the urethane. It came in one of those flat cans that holds a quart with a small spout and screw on lid. The finish came out glossy. Is that because I did not think to make a small stick and stir up the flattening agent in the bottom of the can? Then my question is, why would you package something that needs to be stirred in a can with a 1" hole in it?

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