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Good Morning,

I have just completed a keepsake box I am making for Father's Day, and am down to just the finishing touches. I am a complete rookie in the stain/coat department, and would appreciate any advice on finishing the project.

I didn't finish with a coat before glue up because there was still going to be sanding of the 'proud' edges of the box joints after glue/up, so opted to do the finish after.

I am leaning towards just using a polyurethane clear coat, as I want to keep the look/color of the oak.

Thanks for any advice!

Matt
 

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Matt, most of the poly finishes will give the oak a slightly darker yellowish tint. If you want to keep it as close as possible to natural you might try Minwax Polycrylic. You cay buy this in rattle cans to make the job as quick and easy as possible. I like the satin finish, it doesn't look like your project was dipped in plastic.
 

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Thanks Mike, exactly what I was looking for! That 'non dipped in plastic' look, keep the wood natural if you will. Bonus they carry this at big box stores.
 

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Good Morning,

I have just completed a keepsake box I am making for Father's Day, and am down to just the finishing touches. I am a complete rookie in the stain/coat department, and would appreciate any advice on finishing the project.

I didn't finish with a coat before glue up because there was still going to be sanding of the 'proud' edges of the box joints after glue/up, so opted to do the finish after.

I am leaning towards just using a polyurethane clear coat, as I want to keep the look/color of the oak.

Thanks for any advice!

Matt
First off, nice job on the box Matt. I urge you to use a clear finish as the red oak will really stand out. I like the look of several super light coats of spray can lacquer. It dries quick and can be re-coated to the desired look in a day. Wipe on Poly gives a quality finish and can be completed in a couple of days. Post a pic when your done.
 

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I agree with Marco... rattle can lacquer will not only work great but give you a nice depth of finish.

Since you are new to the process Matt... take a few extra minutes and practice spraying on a few pieces of scrap. Especially if you go with a Poly.

Good luck.. be sure to post a pic of the finished project...
 
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I'd use a wipe-on varnish like Formby's or Minwax tung oil finish in low gloss. (Yes I know they might not really contain any tung oil) It'll will darken the wood a little but will make the grain show beautifully. For something as low-use as a keepsake box, you can get by with a couple of coats and you still have time for that. Good Job by the way. I love the elegant simplicity.
 
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Nice looking box Matt.
 
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Beautiful Father's Day gift Matt. On my boxes if generally apply a coat of shellac; wait an hour. For topcoat I either use Zar brand polyurethane (which doesn't yellow like Minwax poly does) or General Finishes Arm-R-Seal. For the poly I generally add about 25% mineral spirits. Both finishes I apply with either a soft cotton cloth or cut a blue paper shop towel into four pieces then fold to about 2" square. I don't always sand between coats, but any sanding I use 500 grit foam pads. I then wait about a week and put a coat of Lakeone Buffing Wax on with 4/0 steel wool. For walnut I use walnut wax others I use neutral wax. I wipe off most of the excess after applying then after an hour or so I use a buffing pad on the sander. Malcolm / Kentucky /USA
 

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I would go with shellac all the way. It is a traditional finish that doesn't look thick like poly does. Thin the first coat 50 percent then do 3 additional coats. Three coats can be put on in just a few hours, Wait a week for the finish to get hard and rub it down to the sheen you want. The nice thing about shellac is that you can get a very high gloss like in a French finish or a satin gloss.
 

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Thank you all for the nice feedback and advice. I'm leaning towards the spray can poly, and will definitely post some 'after' pics for everyone.
 

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Art, question...do you spray your shellac? My first coat goes on great with brush or cloth, but sometimes it is streaky with next coat. Malcolm / Kentucky USA
 

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Art, question...do you spray your shellac? My first coat goes on great with brush or cloth, but sometimes it is streaky with next coat. Malcolm / Kentucky USA
I use shellac a lot and always brush it on, sometimes it does streak with brush marks on the first coat. But after I remove the nubs with fine sanding, the second and subsequent coats seem to even out. One thing about shellac is that it dissolves into the coat below. But I don't claim to be an expert finisher by any means.
I like shellac and the warm look it imparts to some woods especially maple,alder, and cherry. And it can be removed with alcohol if a run or blemish appears in the final coat. I use it as an undercoat for poly too.
Herb
 

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Art, question...do you spray your shellac? My first coat goes on great with brush or cloth, but sometimes it is streaky with next coat. Malcolm / Kentucky USA
I have sprayed it but normally I just brush it on. I like the fact that it does melt with the under coat and how easily any runs can be dealt with. Unlike polly it is very forgiving and doesn't look artificial. It's also easy to match up should you need to. It's not as tough as polly so it can't be used on items that will get a lot of wear like a floor.
 

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Good Morning,

I promised to post some 'after' pics, so here goes.

Overall I'm really happy with this project. It's one that I really planned things through (measurements, wood, box joint width, cuts, etc.), and it turned out pretty good. I know the work that went into it (and enjoyed every minute of it :), and my father loved it...........so that makes it all worth while.

I went with the spray polycrylic, and worked wonderful. I scooped up one of those spray can gun trigger attachments, that thing is really a nice inexpensive add-on and let's you spray like you would from a paint spraying gun. I put on 3 coats, light sanding in between the first two. Funny thing is, I was reading or maybe heard on here, that that stuff raises the grain of the wood slightly. You could actually feel, and slightly see, almost like little fuzzy nubs barely noticeable to the eye come out the first spray. Easily sanded off. Less nubs the 2nd round. and None after the third and final.

I lined the bottom with black velvet. I used the technique I had found on the internet. I cut out a piece of hard posterboard the size of the bottom of the box. I than cut a piece of the velvet about an inch bigger all the way around so I could wrap it. I spray adhesive the back of the posterboard, and applied it to the fabric. Than turned it over sprayed the back, than wrapped up the inch overlaps. Nice snug fit. Once the stain was dried, I sprayed the back of the velvet lined posterboard and put it in the floor of the box, pressing down so it would take. Turned out nice.

Thanks for the wealth of knowledge everyone provides on here. Hope everyone had a good weekend and Father's Day!

Matt
 

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