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Finishing turned snowmen

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  • Finishing turned snowmen

    I'm new at wood turning and finishing. I'm turning several small (6") snowmen for gifts. I'd like to paint them white with coloured hats. I was thinking I'd like to polish them with beeswax mixed with mineral oil. My question is: Can the beeswax polish be applied to the painted surfaces while they are turning in the lathe at a slow speed? If not can I shellac over the painted surfaces (not on the lathe)? I would like them to be real shiny.
    Any suggestions would be gratefully received.
    I'm so old I don't buy green bananas!
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  • #2

    Re: Finishing turned snowmen

    ...well, you have several questions here.
    First of all, yes bee's wax can be applied while rotating .... and buffed out while rotating....but I am not sure you really want bee's wax.
    It will give you a soft low sheen and will probably mark up from handling (esp.with small sticky hands!).
    It is not a hard wearing, good for handling, finish....its better for salad bowls, cutting board and antiques.

    You say you want high gloss, so I would suggest you use something else that is high gloss such as shellac or poly (water base or solvent) or even - simplest of all - just straight high gloss paint.
    You could, if you were bold, apply multiple light coats of high gloss paint from a spray can while slowly rotating (make sure you read the instructions on the can regarding recoat time and follow them, these coatings can be fussy.).....and mask and protect the area behind your lathe with a sheet of newspaper or a drop cloth so you do not overspray it all!
    My choice would be a spray can of white gloss.....make sure the snowman is sanded smooth first.
    If you go this route and you use waterbased paint know that it may (will!) raise the fibres in the wood with the first coat and your snowman will feel fuzzy and let it dry, sand lightly to knock the fibres off and apply more paint.
    Or just use stinking solvent based paint.....much easier, no fibre raising problem typically!

    Meanwhile, given that you like wood turning...check out Shellawax (from Lee Valley)...but before you shout Eureka! and make off with a truck load I suggest you go to the Australian manufacturer's website and read all about it. The product has some specific caveats and does not necessarily like going over paint.

    Good luck with the snowmen!