8. Varnish Over Deft®?

    I am often asked two questions, "How can I use a varnish or oil finish without getting a blotchy appearance, dark spots, and yellowing?" and "Why do you always use Deft® before applying a varnish finish?" The simple answer is that the second question is the answer to the first.

    I like the durability, ease of application, feel, and appearance of varnish. But, there are many problems associated with varnish and oil finishes on turned wood - uneven color, orange color, and a darker coloration of end grain and soft areas. All of these problems are caused by the different amounts of finish that are absorbed into end-grain, flat-grain, and softer wood.
     Many finishers advocate using a thin coat of shellac or commercial sanding sealers to prevent these problems. I prefer to use Deft® because it hardens and seals the wood and accents the grain without discoloring the wood or leaving it with the muddy appearance that we get from sealers containing fillers.
    Any of the commercial or homebrew varnishes and oils can be used over Deft. The wiping varnish that I prefer is the home-brew blend that was described in the Part 7 of this series.

Applying the Deft® and varnish finish
    The Deft® finish that was described in Article 3 is modified to include an application of varnish:

  1. Sand through 400-grit or finer.
  2. Apply a thick sloppy coat of Deft.
  3. Let it sit for no more than 30-seconds (less if it dries faster).
  4. Wipe it all off. Change towels frequently.
  5. Buff the surface with a paper towel until it is dry to the touch. Change towels frequently.
  6. Cut it back with 0000-steel wool if necessary.
  7. Immediately apply a coat of the wiping varnish.
  8. Wipe it dry after the varnish becomes tacky.
  9. Wait until the next day.
  10. Cut the surface film back with 0000-steel wool.
  11. Repeat Steps 7, 8, 9, and 10 several times until the surface develops a gloss.
  12. Then repeat one more time, but omit step 10. It is finished.


© 2002 - 2009 by Russ Fairfield. All rights reserved. No parts of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means without the written permission of the author.