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Thread: finish on elm?

  1. #1

    Default finish on elm?

    all,

    I'm adding a 1" slab of elm on the top of a pony wall at the entrance of my house.

    can anyone recommend what I should finish it with?

    i was thinking of a few coats of boiled linseed oil followed some type of oil varnish or poly to give it some protection.

    also- I need to fill a few cracks around knots and such, and plan on using the old turners trick with sawdust (or coffee grinds in the actual knots) with CA glue or epoxy. should I do this before or after I start finishing? When I do it first (usually while turning) you can see where the CA leaked out of the crack in the finished product. I'm trying to not have that. I've heard to use a sanding sealer first, but I want the BLO to get into the grain to make it pop.

    thanks in advance for any comments.

    Neil

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: finish on elm?

    you can fill the cracks and knots at any stage, ok it will stick better if it is to raw wood but if it's a crack well it might not be an issue even if it is finished, just scrape it out a little. I like to put masking tape around the crack or hole , then use a putty knife and water or oil based wood filler. you can doctor the filler color with powdered pigments or if it is just a little too light after the oil is on, just use a brown felt pen to darken it to match, then apply the topcoat when happy with the color. the tape keeps the putty from covering more area than absolutely necessary to fill the void. I just pull the tape off when it is wet, then when dry flatten it with a card scraper. I am doing a lot of cracks in my floors that way and it's the easiest method I've come up with. I don't see the advantage of using sawdust, just strive to get a good color match and you won't see it. use a couple of shades of pens or putty to make it so the color isn't too uniform throughout the repair and you won't see it. most putty patches show because they are too uniform in color and cover more area than needed.
    “The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” -Bertrand Russell

  3. #3

    Default Re: finish on elm?

    thanks Phill. where do you get the powdered pigments you refer to?
    is see the aline powders on LV, but aren't they for water based applications?

    Others- still looking for opinions on finish. BLO followed by ???

  4. #4
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    Default Re: finish on elm?

    I get them at Mohawk finishing supplies, and normally use them in water based filler. I am working with fir and find I use the red and the brown the most. the red does need to be mixed in really well. I suspect most stains would work (experiment), or you can get the fillers in a bunch of different pre-mixed colors as well. the oil based stuff hardens quicker, but the water based seems to stay usable for a longer period. Last time I was in I tried to ask what the advantages of the oil based ones were but the counter clerk wasn't able to answer that one.
    your aim is to try to match the color with the finish on, so do some experiments to see how your finishes will react to the color of the wood versus the filler. If you err to the lighter side you can use the pens to darken.(under the finishing coat)

    If the filler is too dark you can't lighten it.

    The wax crayons work well for tiny nail holes and such.

    to replicate grain over a larger patch you can fill with one color, then scratch some lines in , then fill with a darker shade. you can also touch the area with a pen, then smear it a bit with your fingertip to blend it in. you can get artsy-fartsy and really do a good job of color matching so the patch is invisible with a bit of practice. It's one of those tasks that the better the job you do, the less likely anyone will notice your good work. I have heard that a good craftsman is one who is good at hiding his mistakes ;-)

    Phil
    “The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” -Bertrand Russell

  5. #5

    Default Re: finish on elm?

    thanks again Phill.

    Neil

  6. #6
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    Default Re: finish on elm?

    Not familiar with a "pony wall", but if it's outside, then use something designed for that environment. Lots of choices. There are film and oil finishes, all of which can be tinted. My personal choice is Sikkens products. Most important, these coatings have high UV resistance. If you use products designed for interior use, then they will look like garbage after a couple month's exposure outside. As for filling cracks, knots etc, if you must, then use an epoxy system designed for exterior use. West Systems is one that springs to mind, although I have never used their products. Find a place that repairs boats or a marine finish supply store and see what they say. There are plenty in TO.
    Good luck........Paul

  7. #7
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    Default Re: finish on elm?

    I took it to mean a "pony wall" being a division wall not necessarily one that goes to the ceiling such as that you might find on the sides of a staircase that goes to the basement ,like one to prevent someone from falling down the hole from the side of the stairs. He mentioned adding an elm cap so I took that to mean it is a piece of finish trim located inside, somewhere near the front door.
    I agree with Paul I made some caps for my balcony railing from cedar they have no shelter from the rain and snow and I used the sikkens Cetol , it comes as a two part system but I just used , I think the first part. It did hide the grain somewhat so I ended up kind of doing a couple of light coats, but has stood up very well against the weather. It rains here a lot. In the summer I just give it a quick wipe with a rag dampened with the same product and it seems to be maintaining it very nicely.
    I used the sikkens deck-coat stuff on some other wood . that seems to hold up really well on vertical surfaces. it is expensive. one mistake I made was putting it on the deck and stairs. I added some sand for grip on the ice (on the stairs) but still, wouldn't recommend it because it is too slippery when it gets a little snow on it.
    “The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” -Bertrand Russell

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