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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 04-30-2013, 03:27 PM Thread Starter
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Default To Fill Or Not To Fill

I sort of have come to a conclusion on wood fillers, but am not sure if what I think that I have determined is correct or not.''

First of all, I know, or at least have come to understand that finishing wood is a science and/or an art in itself that as a beginner I do not have the time to completely grasp for the time being, so what I have been doing for the most part is to simply use Toung Oil. Sometime back I purchased a product called Aqua Coat.

When I use the filler I seem to get a fairly good finishe with about three coats of Toung Oil, by the way when I use the oil I wipe it on and and then try to completely wipe it off so that there is not build up after it dries. However, if I do not use the filler, I get abou t the same results with about ten coats of the Toung Oil.

So, the natrual response is so what, obviously the filler does its job and so one does not need so much Toung Oil. What I'm wondering is my observation that simple, or is usning the filler of any conseqence, or value other than what I have described above. Also, it there a flller that would do a better job for me than Aqua Coat. Naturally when I read about it at the site that sells it you would be led to believe that it is the best thing to come along since sliced bread.

Also, I have not been thinning the oil and wonder if thinning it would be of advantage to me or not.

I know that I might be inviting advise from the real experts at woodworking and/or finishing that may become very complicated to a beginner like myself. I just want a resonable approach to a a fast simple finish until I get into the finer aspect of the subject as for now I am just learning how to cut workpieces that fit together to my satisfaction and this endeavor in itself, for now is enough of a challenge. I think that my standards are much greater than my skills for now, but I am getting closer to being able to what I want to achieve.


By the way, is there a "Spell Check" on this forum that I can use and if so, how can I access it?
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 04-30-2013, 06:31 PM
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Jerry,

First of all, there's no "o" in tung oil. Here's some background: Tung oil - from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

If you're using pure oil then thinning the first couple of coats will help it penetrate the wood fibers and allow you to build a finish quicker with the undiluted oil afterwards. If you're using a "tung oil finish" then it's probably already thinned, don't think it would help any to thin it further.

As far as fillers go, whether to use them or not depends on the wood, how you want the final piece to look and whether or not you want to do any "enhancements" to the appearance of the wood.

Fillers are most commonly used on open-pored woods like oak, mahogany, ash and, to a lesser extent, walnut when a "glass-smooth" finish is the desired result. The filler literally fills the open pores of the wood and when sanded leaves a flat surface for the finish to go over. They're not absolutely necessary(as you've discovered) but they eliminate the need for multiple coats of finish that have to be sanded back between coats to achieve a truly level surface. They're not needed on woods like maple and cherry which have a small, tight pore structure.

They can also be used in contrasting or artificial colors to accentuate the grain structure of the piece.

As you're finding out, finishing is a whole 'nother aspect of the craft. For some, it's a chore. For others, it's an opportunity to enhance the beauty of the wood and express an artistic vision. Personally, I feel that when I've glued up the piece and finish-sanded it I'm about halfway done. The other half is the finishing.... And the older I get the more I understand that this step is just as important and deserves the same time and care that I put into the first part.

Recommended reading: Understanding Wood Finishing

Have fun!

Bill

P.S. Spell check is a function of the web browser you're using, hunt around in "tools-options" or "edit-preferences" and you'll find it.

Last edited by billg71; 05-01-2013 at 11:30 AM.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 05-05-2013, 06:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billg71 View Post
Fillers are most commonly used on open-pored woods like oak, mahogany, ash and, to a lesser extent, walnut when a "glass-smooth" finish is the desired result. The filler literally fills the open pores of the wood and when sanded leaves a flat surface for the finish to go over. They're not absolutely necessary(as you've discovered) but they eliminate the need for multiple coats of finish that have to be sanded back between coats to achieve a truly level surface. They're not needed on woods like maple and cherry which have a small, tight pore structure.
This is more for Jerry than Bill:

Be careful with what type of sandpaper you use between coats. I have run across some sandpaper that does weird things to the second coat. After sanding, the second coat will gather in circles like oil and water. I think that the sandpaper I used was a “stearated” sandpaper. That type of paper has a zinc stearate added the abrasive to prevent clogs. The problem is that the stearate has properties of soap; good to prevent clogging but it can causes the finish/stain to do weird things.

I always test my finish on a scrap of the original wood – all the way to the last coat. At times I even make a log of what I do on the scrap so I can repeat it on the real project (I have a short memory). That log is also good in case you want to repeat it again a year later.

I was going to say something else but forgot what it was.

Workmanship is not perfection; it is how well you can cover your mistakes.
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