I must admit that I’m not crazy about Minwax Wood Finish. For most finishing purposes I like an aniline dye because the color soaks into the wood building a depth to my finish. There are occasions when I stray from dyes, such as when using an oil/varnish finish and when working with oak. With oak, I turn to oil-base stains because they remain more on top of the wood and fill the open grain of the wood. But seldom do I ever use an “all-in-one” finish.
Times, they are a changing. The project just out this week from 360 WoodWorking is a Stickley revolving book rack built with quartersawn white oak. (You can read the article if you become a member with 360 WoodWorking, or you can purchase and download a PDF of the article.) A long time ago, Bob Lang shared his simple recipe for Arts & Crafts furniture whenever you weren’t ammonia fuming. The finish was made up of three parts – stain, Watco oil and shellac. I was after something a bit quicker, and easier was a bonus. In my finish cabinet was a can of Minwax Wood Finish in dark walnut.
To replicate my finish, wipe a coat of the all-in-one finish onto your project, let it seep for a couple of minutes then wipe off any excess. According to the directions, let the finish dry for about eight hours. Afterward, apply a few coats for amber shellac. I ragged on three coats of shellac, and sanded lightly using a grey sanding pad before adding a fourth coat. When the shellac is dry, lightly wipe again with the sanding pad and toss on a coat of paste wax. Done.
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