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Varnish

Help with choosing the right coloured milkpaint to slather all over your new project.

Varnish

Postby Mike G » 03 Jan 2017, 21:26

I gave up on varnish years ago. I got fed up with it yellowing, being too glossy, and eventually splitting and even lifting like old dried gloss paint (I'm talking about years and years later). I found oils to be much easier to apply (and repair), and swapped over to them almost exclusively.

The pendulum may be swinging, though, as I am now getting a little fed up with the dull finish of oil, which gets easily stained, especially by liquids. I know Paul (Pinch) uses varnishes a lot, so I am after a bit of a discussion on their merits, particularly now that so many of them are water-based, and are available in semi-gloss (and even matt, I think).

So, what should I be buying, how should I be applying them, and what is the general benefit of varnish over oil and/or wax?
Last edited by Mike G on 03 Jan 2017, 21:40, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Varnish

Postby Tusses » 03 Jan 2017, 21:33

I'm still clinging on to oil .. and wax over for the shine

I've used PU a few times, which lasted quite well .. but when it goes, it's more work to get it right again.
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Re: Varnish

Postby Tusses » 03 Jan 2017, 21:35

plus .. as you get older .. you just want to do it once ! and forget about it ... so I'll be interested in this thread too :D
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Re: Varnish

Postby Robert » 03 Jan 2017, 23:25

I bought a book on wood finishing. I'll admit I've not looked at it for a long while but as I remember it, it said there is no such thing as an oil finish. Oil does not dry and is therefore unsuitable as a finish. Most of what is sold as 'oil' with fancy names is just varnish that has a lot more thinners in it so it penetrates more. Some of the ingredients may have started out as oil but they were modified so they dry and are low in proportion.

Now I bet I'll have to find the book and read a lot of it again just to find that information :)

It was back when I was chair making on WH1 so a few years ago.

Apologies in advance if I've got it completely wrong :)
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Re: Varnish

Postby Doug » 04 Jan 2017, 07:55

You don't state whether this is for interior or exterior use Mike

For internal I've used acrylic lacquer for the last 8 odd years & have been very happy with it, easy to apply & control the sheen.
Another option I've used on a couple of vanity basin units is hard wax oil by chestnut, I've been impressed with how well it has stood up to regular use, though to best honest I wouldn't be able to tell the difference between it & traditional varnish if judging by smell.

I've also heard very good reports about Treatex hardwax oil from people I respect & though I've not used it myself it is one I will be trying out in the future, apparently it is available in different sheens
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Re: Varnish

Postby Mike G » 04 Jan 2017, 08:53

Doug wrote:You don't state whether this is for interior or exterior use Mike

Interior

For internal I've used acrylic lacquer for the last 8 odd years & have been very happy with it, easy to apply & control the sheen.


Is this waterbased? What about it turning orange over time? Could you name the brand and product?
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Re: Varnish

Postby Andyp » 04 Jan 2017, 10:53

I've had this stuff on an oak dining room table since 1994

http://palacechemicals.co.uk/shop/patina-2/

Here is a picture taken in July 2004
Image

and today
Image

The last picture is very good likeness of the actual colour. It has never been as dark as the first picture. Different cameras, houses and lighting I am afraid.

The finish is bullet proof. Heat and water resistant and to our eyes has not yellowed over the years. The wood is American White Oak stained with a medium oak spirit stain and from memory just two coats of that Patina. It gets an occasional wipe with a damp cloth then a spayed with a supermarket furniture polish.

I would highly recommend you give it a go and read some of the online reviews of the stuff. Listed as either Langlow Patina or Palace Chemicals Patina.
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Re: Varnish

Postby Pinch » 04 Jan 2017, 11:32

Sorry Mike, I've joined the party a bit late here. I didn't realise you were going to open the thread so quickly.

Just a quick one for the minute as I'm on my way out the door... Andy's table above is a good testament to the product he used. I always avoid water based for hardwoods and use Ronseal Ultra Tough. I will have two tins on the go; one thinned and one non-thinned. First two coats thinned and next two coats non-thinned, denibbing between with 400g. In terms of 'yellowing', I've never had any complaints from projects years before. There can be a reaction however if you're applying varnish to a timber that was previously varnished years before.

Anyways, I'll google the data sheet later and get back to you with some more info about yellowing - hopefully.

8-)
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Re: Varnish

Postby Mike G » 04 Jan 2017, 11:35

Amazon seems to suggest that Patina is a wax. It sounds great, but I don't just want another wax.
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Re: Varnish

Postby Andyp » 04 Jan 2017, 13:05

Mike G wrote:Amazon seems to suggest that Patina is a wax. It sounds great, but I don't just want another wax.


Then the people who posted the ad on Amazon are clueless.
a complex blend of natural oils, specialist resins and surface enhancing additives


it is more like a varnish but in a gel form in the tin.

Here is another quote
The protection of polyurethane and the beauty of wax- without the problem of either. Can be applied in minutes with just a cloth.


I really do think that is has been poorly marketed and advertised over the years. Unfortunately I cannot find a magazine review I know I had many years ago. I have never seen a bad forum comment from anyone who has used it.

It is worth a punt, IMHO
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Re: Varnish

Postby Rod » 04 Jan 2017, 13:12

In the past I've never been too concerned if the finish darkened the wood, in fact when I made this table in sycamore, I wanted it to look like maple. Finished with 7 coats of Sam Maloof's mixture:

Image

Image

On our old pine kitchen table, which was already a honey colour, I used a very tough water based varnish by AzkoNobel which sadly is no longer made.

Image

For smaller items I've used osmo polyx or thinned downed PU varnish which I sometimes waxed.
For turned items I've used acrylic lacquer or burnishing cream and waxes.

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Re: Varnish

Postby Doug » 04 Jan 2017, 19:14

Mike G wrote:
Doug wrote:For internal I've used acrylic lacquer for the last 8 odd years & have been very happy with it, easy to apply & control the sheen.


Is this waterbased? What about it turning orange over time? Could you name the brand and product?


Yes it is s water based, if your memory stretches back to the days of Get Woodworking 9 years ago & the ash bed I made for my son, I finised that with Chestnuts acrylic lacquer as at the time it was recommended on the forum as the best finish for resisting yellowing.
Whilst the Ash is definitely darker than when I made the bed it has really held up well & I think the recommendation was spot on, hence me still using it.

These are 3 Olive Ash tables made last year that I also finished with Chestnuts acrylic lacquer, I've knocked the gloss sheen back with very fine Webrax as I didn't want a very glossy finish.

Image
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Re: Varnish

Postby Pinch » 04 Jan 2017, 20:58

I couldn't find anything on Ronseal's data sheet about the prevention of yellowing, but thinking about it, I wouldn't worry. Ronseal everytime - Ultra Tough in matt, satin or gloss. Brush applied, roller applied, cloth applied. It's not ridiculously expensive and it looks great when finished. Just the job. 8-)
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