Finishing on a few jewelry boxes

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Being new to woodworking I started out doing a bunch of pallet projects for family members that really didn't require much in the way of finishing other than some ploy or shellac.  I'm now moving on to try to build more polished pieces and have built my first small jewelry boxes.  I was reading on various finishing techniques and one was to wet sand BLO starting with 220, then 300 and finish with 400 grit sandpaper.  I have done the first to sanding steps and plan on getting the rest done tonight and tomorrow since I don't have much shop time during the week due to the rat race commute that is my life.

My question is after letting the boxes cure for a week would you recommend a simple wax finish, shellac or poly?  The process says to finish off with wax, but I've read that a wax finish requires upkeep which I'm sure the people I give these too will not have the means or desire to do.  In your experience what would you recommend?   The picture below is before applying the BLO


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Good observation on wax requiring upkeep.  It usually means that it won't be done :)

I'll throw in another option which is lacquer - the rattle/spray cans you can get at the home center or hardware store work pretty well, and it's a good way to get into lacquer.  I suggest avoiding poly since many people find it can impart a constant odor when used in enclosed spaces (drawers, boxes, etc).  Shellac is also a good candidate.  Do you plan on wiping/brushing, or spraying the finish?

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Right now i only have an airbrush, some advice I recieved was that I could use that just cut the lacquer 50/50, spray a coat, wait a few minutes and repeat 3 times, then wait an hour sand with 300, do the same steps  2 more times followed by sanding with 400, and then cut the final spary with 25 lacquer and 75 thinner.  I could apparently do this with either shellac or lacquer.  I plan on trying it on some scraps first if I go that route.  The reason I didn't mention lacquer is I am spraying in the basement which has a sliding glass door for ventilation, but with as cold as it is outside might not be the right time of year for spraying.  



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2 hours ago, SCPDX said:

Nice boxes - I like how the splines are varied, but still uniform as graduated.  What is the octagonal box in the back?

Thank you,

The box a centerpiece that my wife wanted for the breakfast nook table. 


Then with the finished look she wanted


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If I was using the wet sanding method, I think I would use danish oil. It will dry more quickly and more completely. It also comes in colors if you are interested in that. My favorite finish for boxes like this is a home brew wipe on varnish made up of an oil based varnish, mineral spirits or turpentine, and BLO or tung oil. These are often mixed in equal parts, but variation is possible. Sometimes the addition of a small amount of japan drier is recommended. This mixture is wiped on with a folded cloth or paper towel in very thin coats and you can put on multiple coats about one day apart. Very easy to do and it gives a beautiful reasonably durable finish. This article discusses a number of finishes and also covers the "home brew" method. There are lots of other articles out there as well. You can also wet sand with this mixture as well.

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14 hours ago, wtnhighlander said:

Jewelry boxes are a pretty good application for danish oil. I have a couple that I wet sanded at 600 between each of 6 coats of DO, and the surface feels like butter, even years later.

Thanks, I'm going to go with the danish oil, do you mix your own or use off the shelf?

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12 hours ago, Chuklz said:

Thanks, I'm going to go with the danish oil, do you mix your own or use off the shelf?

Off the shelf. And I don't use it on the inside, like @estesbubba said. For jewelry boxes, there is often a lining or flocking, but otherwise I would use a wax or maybe shellac. Something that won't off-gass for a long time.

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