Woodworking Basics: Introduction to finishes | Ron Payne | Skillshare

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Woodworking Basics: Introduction to finishes

teacher avatar Ron Payne, Blacksmith, woodworker, all-around crafter

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

11 Lessons (25m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Evaporative vs. Reactive finishes

    • 3. Waxes

    • 4. Curing oils

    • 5. Shellac

    • 6. Lacquer

    • 7. Varnish and Urethane

    • 8. Blends

    • 9. Water Borne Finishes

    • 10. Influencing factors

    • 11. Conclusion

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About This Class

Varnish, lacquer, urethane, polyurethane, shellac, etc. You've crafted a project out of wood, now it's time to finish it.  But with which finish?  There are dozens of wood finishes available today, each has its own pros and cons.  Some are better suited for one use or another.   This class is intended as a basic primer for the novice or as an introduction to a finish you may not be familiar with yet. In this beginner class I'll introduce the common wood finishes and discuss a bit about each as well as mention how each can be applied.   After completing this class you should have a better understanding of wood finishes and know which finish will best suit the project you are working on.

Meet Your Teacher

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Ron Payne

Blacksmith, woodworker, all-around crafter


I am driven by a need to create. This has lead me down some interesting roads.

I know a bit about woodwork, metal work, leather, casting, and several other disciplines. I also enjoy passing along what I know to others.

Life is a continual path of improvement.


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1. Introduction: Hello, I'm wrong. Welcome to my introductory class on wood finishes. This glass is intended to be a primer course for those seeking a starting point would finishing in general or wanting an introduction to finish. You don't current use in this class and going to cover the finishes that leave the wood grains going, so I'm going to be skipping paint, which could be a class in and of itself. There are two broad categories that I'm going to be covered, evaporative and reactive. I'll take John what the finishes are, how they get applied, repaired on the pros and cons of each. The finish is that I'm going to be talking about today are waxes jury in oils, shellac, lacquers, Barney. Choose your things. We'll touch a bit on the blends and waterborne finishes before I get to covering anything on finishes themselves. I would like to say a few words about safety. Pretty much every finished that is going to get used has some safety concerns. They're often the finishes are often liquid form, so you have to worry about splashing in the eyes so you want to protect that splashes on the skin. You may want a chemical resistant apron or a chemical resistant gloves. A lot of them have a solving that is not good to be breathing. So you'll want to work respirators or have an adequate ventilation to pull the fumes. A wave with that said, Let's get onto the course. 2. Evaporative vs. Reactive finishes: a bit more about the different categories. Evaporative finishes they set by the evaporation of the solvent. This may be an alcohol Turpin time mineral spirits, something along those lines. The chemical composition of these do not change when the solvent evaporates, which means that it will always re dissolved in a solvent that can't be good if you need to strip the solvent or do repair later. The prime examples for reparative finishes are selects and lacquers. Reactive finishes cure by a chemical reaction. Sometimes this is the addition of a re agent to finish before you apply it, sometimes the so it keeps the two parts delude enough that they don't react in the can. Sometimes this is curing with oxygen in the air. They cannot be resolved in the same way that an irreparable finish, but they may be broken down and removed by strippers. Examples of these are carrying oils, Barney shoes, your things and the catalyzed lacquers. Evaporative finishes air generally easy to apply and repair, but they don't offer protection against spills or heat or vibration. As the reactive finishes, the reactive finishes are generally more protective, and they may or may not be more difficult to apply, and they're generally harder to repair 3. Waxes: waxes there. Three waxes that are commonly used in working today. These are tariff in waxes, which comes from petroleum car New blacks, which comes from a home, and bees wax, which comes from being. These are the least protective of the finishes. They're very easy to apply. They can be dissolved in turpentine. Mineral spirits tell you in or something along those lines to make a paste for application . It can be mixed with an oil to make finish more protective. Generally, it gets applied by rubbing in and buffing either using hand or power tools or making a paste with the solvent. If you make the paste, then enough, you can brush this on. Sometimes the wax will be heated and a light is a liquid. It is repaired by either rebuffing the surface or playing another coat extremely easy to repair. The pros are. It's easy to apply and repair, and it may in part a little bit of caller, particularly if you're using a bee's wax. You can also use it to as a carrier for a color. If you want to darken a piece just a little bit, you could mix a little graphite or their various things like builders paste that have our basic. They're basically a wax with a little bit of color. Some form in it. The cause. This is, um, minimal protection. It can attract dust and show fingerprints or smudges if it's been heavily apply. Many people do not consider this to be a true finished, but instead a Polish to be applied over the surface of another family. 4. Curing oils: curing oils, sometimes called true oils. These cured by reaction with oxygen in the air, which forms a very thin film. Lindsay Doyle and tongue well are the most common curing oils. There are others that you sometimes run across. They all act pretty much the same. They offer a bit more protection waxes. These are penetrator pinna trading finish, meaning that they soak into the wood, their liquid. And as they cure them, they can. They will cure around. Would vipers. Some people, particularly on the first couple of coats, will dilute with turpentine or mineral spirits, and that increases its ability to soak into the wood. Linseed oil is generally available as boiled. Sometimes you will see raw and either Lindsay Doyle or Tung oil. It can be available as what's called a heat treated. They're all they'll act pretty much the same. Lindsay Doyle came in part, a little bit of color. Deng oil and parts a little bit less. They're generally they're generally applied by either wiping on or pouring a little bit. Flooding soak in. We're looking a small piece in. You can spray this. The excess needs to get wiped off. Once it's had Sometimes it's OK. Usually you wait about 10 or 15 minutes and then wipe off whatever is still pooled on the surface. If there any areas that look dry, you play a little bit one. There it is repaired simply by putting on a another coat the pros. It is easy to apply and repair. It darkens the wood a little bit, and it offers a little bit of protection. The cause. Karen oils can take a long time to cure particularly raw linseed oil. It made still be carrying two or three weeks after you've applied the finish. It takes a really long time to build up enough coats to get any sort of sheen, as it is a reactive finished, it does not resolve meaning. Removal is family by either sanding or scraping. If you apply too heavy of a coat, it may stay tacky for months. Another thing about the curing oils is as the reaction is with oxygen, and this produces heats, heat, any regs or applicators that you used to apply. The oil can spontaneously combust if not left up to here or not disposed of in a appropriate container, 5. Shellac: shellac Select is a secretion by the lack bug. It's available is either premixed or flakes that air that you dissolve in alcohol. It offer some protection against certain type two spills, liquids and a better protection against abrasion, but it doesn't stand up to heat or heavy abrasion. It is an evaporative finish that forms a surface film by the evaporation of the alcohol. The film that is left behind is generally hard and could be buffed out to a mere polish. It could be applied using brushes, white ***, patty or spraying. It could be repaired by rubbing up with alcohol or a where the application of it another coat of shellac followed. By rubbing that out. It is very easy to apply and repair. It can be kept it and is available commercially in a few different hints that add some color. It offers moderate protection. It has a very fast dry time, and machine can't be anything from flat or Matt. Two year and successive coats that Reid is old and build up on previous coast. The columns creating a thick or heavy coat can be prone to crazy or cracking and spills that contain alcohol or certain other solvents. Build is all the finish 6. Lacquer: like lacquer is a kind of a catch all term. There are a few different types of finishes that can be very different that referred to his lacquer lacquers, maybe even operative, catalyzed or modified. They're generally built around the same class. Put resins, evaporative lacquers. Usually this is the nitrocellulose, or a mix of an al could resume and selling clothes if you just walk into your local store and pick up, McCann says. Lecher on it, It's probably a nitrocellulose lacquer. The others were generally used in commercial applications, But you can get a hold of the different types of lacquers if you wish to use them yourself . Nitrocellulose is involved in a lacquered there, and it will read, Is old in Like her thinner. It forms a surface film, which is rather hard. The application methods for lacquer are generally rushing or spraying. Sometimes it can be applied by wiping patty to repair a lacquered surface. Most frequently, it gets guff sanded and a another code of lacquers applied, and if it was buff down or polished out, you need to be republished. Prose for reparative lacquer, easy to apply, tends to set quickly, can be easy to repair machine can be built from black format upto mira polish, and it generally offers good protection against bills and moderate protection against abrasion God. Evaporative lacquers tend to yellow with age. It made craze, which or crack and certain solvents it's build on it well, is off the bench. If you're going to spray, you need to work protective equipment applying and with the Sullivans. It's generally a good idea to have protective equipment for any application unless you have a really good ventilation system. Catalyzed lacquer. This would be an al could resin that reacts with cattle with a catalyst before my finish. It may be pre catalyzed, in which case the catalyst is mixed in the can, and the solvent keeps the components deluded enough that they do not react in the can. This will have a shelf life. You've been Julie. The components will come together and react in the can. So if you pick up a can of lacquer and it's got a used by or expiration date on it, there's a good chance it's a catalyzed lacquer that's been pre catalysed Yes, post catalysed, which is a two part system that you get the resin, and when you get ready to apply it, you mix the catalyst with it. Once it mixed, it has to be used before it cures again. Catalyzed lacquer forms a hard film. This is applied sometimes by brushing, usually by spraying repairs again to scuff sand in the application of another coat or stripping off completely the previous coats of lacquer and starting over the pros. It cures fast. It offers good to excellent protection against spills and abrasion. It can have a sheen from flat up to polished mirror surface. God catalyzed lacquer tends to be more difficult to apply it. Make your before you finished the application, which means you are you thinking post catalyzed lacquer. You need to mix up on Lee what you can apply before it starts to set. Some formulas will yellow with age, some state clear. It tends to be more difficult to repair and requires more protective equipment. To safely apply modified lacquers, Modified lacquers air. Usually a acrylic with an evaporative lacquer, it offers more protection than just like cellulose and is generally non yellowing. It has most of the same application repair pros and cons as the evacuated evaporative lacquers. If you pick up a can of lacquer that has non yellowing on it, it's probably a modified acrylic lacquer. 7. Varnish and Urethane: varnishes in your things. I'm hoping these two together because they're commonly the terms are commonly used interchangeably. At one time, varnish was the catchall term it applied to any resident that was used as a would finish. Today, there are many different types of resins that used, so the terms have become a little bit more specialized. But one issues in your things are still used interchangeably. Sometimes these again are resin, which may be natural or synthetic, usually dissolved in a carrier, and it may be modified and sometimes gets mixed with curing oil. Most of the modern varnishes are made with synthetic prison, and your thing is a specific type of resin, so old your things, whether polyurethane or very thing or this thing or that thing is a varnish. But not all varnishes are your thing. Exterior varnish is sometimes called spark. Garnishes are modified with urinal and have more oil than your Internet your varnishes. This makes them better suited to the very conditions outside. Most of these will cure by reaction with the oxygen in the air, the same way that securing oils do. However, some varnishes air specialized and require eating a vacant a cure, and some may be cured by the addition of a catalyst. They form a film. It's usually a fairly soft film, softer than either the lacquer or shellac. The application methods rushing and white, bean or patty are common. Spraying may be used if you've got equipment capable of spraying varnish, usually repairs for varnishes, stripping and starting over. Sometimes you can get away with scuff sandy and applying the coat, the pros to varnishes and your things. They generally offer excellent protection against bills and decent protection against abrasion. They can have a shame from flat or met to semigloss. Some of them can be run all the way up to a high gloss finish. But being softer than lacquers and selects, it's not going to be easy to polish out to a full mirror shop. Cons. It's more difficult to apply, Then a lot of the other finishes. Repairs are going to be harder. These finishes tend to take a long time to cure, not as long as securing oils but longer than Jill Accer lacquers. It is difficult to publish to their shine well. It can be done. It takes more effort. Application methods require a lot of protective equipment and usually for varnishes and particularly for your things. You have to do a scuff standing between coats of for initiatives, you apply it. 8. Blends: Let's blends are a mix of resident oil. They're often been with solvent, which makes for easier application. These generally contain more oil resin. So while under the varnishes I mentioned, some of them are mixed with oils. It has more oil than risen. It's generally considered a blend of some sort, as opposed to a varnish. It goes by names such as wiping varnishes, oil finished Danish oil, peak oil. Things like that. It's applied, usually by wiping or padding, sometimes by brushing. It can be applied by spraying, but this is not. It's common. It's generally repaired by stuff sanding and a plane into the coat. It's usually not completely stripped off because securing oils that are used, I need to be sanded or scraped down to bare wood. To remove the bolt, finish the pros. It tends to be very easy to apply. It can offer moderate, decent protection from spills and abrasion. It's available in jeans from a flat format to gloss the car. It tends to take a long time to cure. It can be difficult to repair. It's not easy to polish up to a full mirror shine. It generally requires scuff standing between application coats, and it should have full protective gear to apply 9. Water Borne Finishes: water born finishes. Waterborne finishes are a class of finishes that have been modified to little mix with water. They still contain a solvent aside from a couple of the paint. Not were of a truly water based finished for woodworking. There may have been some developed out there in the last two years, and I just don't run across it yet. They aren't actually dissolved in water. They've got an additive that allows the residents insult mints to mix with the water. This allows for fewer vo ces. That's volatile organic compounds to be used when making them, which makes it better for the environment. There are water born varnishes and lacquers, and I've even seen waterborne relax for the various finishes. They have the finish of the type of residents in it, so a waterborne varnish will have the characteristics of a varnish. It still requires protective equipment during application because, except it's not strictly based on water, it still does have some soul. But yet 10. Influencing factors: There are a few different factors you should consider playing. You're making your choice of what finished use he's influencing. Factors can include your skill level. If you want to try something new, I definitely encourage learning, but you'll want to learn on scraps and test pieces before you put finish on a project that's done and looking good. The intended use. If you're making something to sit on a shelf and look pretty, you don't need to worry so much about how much protection it needs. But a dining room table will need a lot of protection from things like eaten spills and abrasions. Cutting board. You need to consider that multiple uses repeated use. Will lake off a film finished, so that is something to be avoided. Gene, you want some finishes, such as curing oils will never publish out to a mirror. Shine Build finish, on the other hand, can be not back to a flat or matte. Finish the equipment you have available. If you don't have a spray set up, obviously you won't be able to express a finish and should avoid those that are better employed by sprain. On the other hand, patting and breakfast can be readily available, but good brushes tend to be expensive. And if you don't have good brushes, you may be better off opting for wiping our patty over. Brushing your level of comfort with the soul wants Dennis and cleaners better In that finish, pretty much every finish is going to require some level protective gear to apply. At the very minimum, it should be a splash goggle and respirator, along with chemical resistant close. This can be skipped if you're using just a wax and buffing it. Al and some of the oils they generally are not harmful. 1,000,000,000 small ghost exposure. But even there, you should be using something to prevent splashes into your eyes. There are some other factors to consider, but these are the big ones that you should be looking at for every finish you are considering. 11. Conclusion: there are many different what finishes that you can choose from in this class. I've sought to offer an introduction to the different classes of what finishes available and give you the basic knowledge that you can build on to achieve good results in finishing your woodworking project before I go, I would like to talk a bit about food, say finishes. This is a topic that frequently comes up talking about what finishes from the research I've done. All of the modern, commercially available finishes are safe to use for products come in contact with food once they're fully cure. That is a key point. They're finished, has to be fully cured before it is brought in contact with food, as far as I know, some looking. But I have not found a study that has shown any link between a health problem and a modern would finish, provided that someone hasn't at an allergic reaction to a specific finish or component of offense. Thank you for watching and be sure to check out my other classes