Finish for an ash toy


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I'm wrapping up building a child's marble tower toy. I've built it primarily out of ash, although there's a bit of maple plywood for the base.

The toy is one of those noisy contraptions that has marbles (or marble sized metal ball bearings in my case) clattering around on wooden rails, a xylophone, a bell, etc.

I'm pretty close to finishing up the construction and wanted to get some suggestions on what to use to finish it.

A couple of things to consider:

- there are lots of pieces to this and some are not the easiest to reach (yes, prefinishing would have been a good thing to think of a while ago) :rolleyes:

- the marbles/ball bearings bouncing around are going to hit the finish pretty hard in some places.

- it's a kid's toy (though I really don't anticipate any really young kids using it and wanting to chew on any of it, so I'm less worried about it being a 'kid-safe' finish)

At this stage, I'm thinking of using a wiping varnish or maybe shellac, but I don't have my heart set on anything yet.

I've got pictures and build progress on my blog

Looking forward to your suggestions


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The projects I have made from ash always seem to look best when left to it's natural color. This would seem to be the best apporoach since staining the maple could lead to a poor result. Oil would help pop the grain a bit if you like. For the top coat, why not use a spray poly? It will cover the nooks and crannies well, it will provide the toughness you need and it will let that beautiful golden color of the ash shine through. (as it will for the maple as well)

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