Bill Tindall, E.Tn.
Shown is the base and drawer of the display cabinet.
The wood is ash. I needed a finish that would not yellow with age and that means it has to be a waterborne finish or CAB lacquer. I also want a "close to the wood" look for this modern piece.
A close to the wood appearance has little to do with the finish formulation and everything to do with how thick one builds it. I can achieve a close to the wood look with polyurethane varnish if it is thinned enough. I am amused by those, some famous, that disparage it for its "plastic" look. They don't know how, or have never seen, it applied properly. But I digress.....
I had on hand some Target "Superclear 9000" semigloss urethane waterborne finish that was recommended by the Target tech staff for its "water white" appearance. The typical urethane is formulated with aromatic resin and it will yellow with age. But urethane just tells how the molecules are hooked together and not what is being hooked (polymerized). Apparently they put this stuff together with non-yellowing components. I have a plant stand finished with it that has stayed light even in a sunny room. However, spraying this finish does not result in a close to the wood appearance.
Derek recently discovered that a waterborne he was using could be "wiped on". So I tried a wiping procedure on a test piece and was satisfied with the result, except my procedure could best be described as "wiping off".
The procedure: After finish sanding at 180 grit and thorough 90 psi dusting, I brushed on the finish with a foam brush, spreading it out as much as possible while still getting good coverage. Then I wiped off the excess with a small piece of folded rag damp with this finish. After drying I scuff sanded with 220 stearated paper to smooth the result. There was modest grain raising that was easily smoothed by the 220 paper. Recoat, wipe off, dry, sand with 400 stearated paper, brush on, wipe off, done.
The result is glass smooth and close to the wood. After two coats I had an occasional spot where the grain had raised some and this area was not as smooth as I desired. The third coat cured this problem. Better coverage at the 1st coat would likely have prevented the grain raise on the second coat.
The result was exactly what I wanted to achieve- a subdued close to the wood finish. Durability is not a requirement for a display cabinet finish so I am not concerned that the build of this finish is too thin. It is thick enough that there was no spot where I sanded through the finish between coats.
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- Wipe on waterborne for display cabinet *PIC*