Turning Bloodwood (Satine)

Michael Ginsberg

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Keep in mind that you can slow color change with UV inhibitor but you can't stop it.  Mother Nature wins every time.  Finish your turning with whatever looks best and don't bother worrying about the color change.  It's gonna happen no matter what you do.  I find bloodwood takes considerably longer to turn brown than some of the other reddish exotics like padauk and redheart.  Bubinga seems to hold its color indefinitely.

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2 hours ago, Michael Ginsberg said:

I know wipe on poly has the UV protection... but looks plastic like...


Also note that Waterlox IS a "wipe-on poly."  It's diluted varnish, just like Minwax and ARS.  It only looks like plastic if you build a thick film or use gloss or semi-gloss.  A few coats of satin will not look like plastic, especially if you buff it down after curing with 1000 grit pad.  That said, film-forming finishes are not my favorite for turnings.  I prefer to sand them to high grits then use oil/wax.  Turnings are rarely high-abuse items and they don't require much protection, if any.  I like close-to-the-wood finishes whenever possible.

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3 hours ago, estesbubba said:

Actually Waterlox uses phenolic resin instead of polyurethane. 

Poly may have been inaccurate, but it's still a diluted varnish and behaves the same way as other wipe-on poly's.  Even ARS doesn't specifically state "poly"...rather, "heavy duty oil & urethane top coat"...which is a little misleading in reality.

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12 minutes ago, Eric. said:

Waterlox will build a film, and you said you didn't want that.  What is it you're turning, specifically?

I'm  turning a fruit or salad bowl. Probably something like this Sapele that i finished the other day. I have used wipe on poly...and it looked more plastic like. The picture is two wipe on coats of Waterlox Original red label. More coats to come.



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That's a pretty bowl...I like the finish as-is without more coats, personally.  Are you planning on using it or just putting it on the shelf as decoration?  I can see the justification for building a film if it's actually gonna have salad in it...but if you like the more natural look you're only gonna get farther away from it with each additional coat.

For most of my turnings I'll just put a coat of BLO on, let it dry, then a coat or two of Renaissance wax.  It's not exactly a sophisticated finish but it's very natural looking and offers plenty of protection for something that doesn't need any protection.  I also like the Tried & True linseed/beeswax formula.

The wipe-on poly you used...was it satin?  Because I don't get a plasticky look at all when using 3-4 coats of satin.  Semi-gloss or gloss...yeah it can look plasticky really quick.  You can also knock the sheen down on satin poly even further if you use a 1000 grit platin pad after the finish has cured.  You could even try a 500 grit pad and approach a matte finish.

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2 hours ago, Eric. said:

Even ARS doesn't specifically state "poly"...rather "heavy duty oil & urethane top coat"...which is a little misleading in reality.

Yes plenty of finish labels are misleading. Even David Marks would say he's applying a tung oil finish which I believe was ARS which contains no tung oil. 

I used to be a long time Waterlox user and bought into poly looks like plastic. Over the years I've learned it's more about sheen and also how thick you build it. Both Waterlox and wipe on poly gloss look like plastic to me and their satins don't. Since Waterlox costs double of ARS, I no longer use Waterlox. 

I agree with Eric that bowl looks great as-is. 

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There's nothing wrong with Waterlox but they changed their satin formula about 5 years ago. I always built with Original then did the final coat with satin. On these tables I wiped on the final coat and the top had inconsistent sheen so I did one more coat and same thing. I contacted Waterlox and they said you can't wipe their satin because flatteners need to stay suspended in the finish. I applied with a foam brush and while much better it still wasn't what I had hoped. After this project I bought an HVLP and have been mainly spraying waterbournes since then. 


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