Can't remember where, but I think I read someplace that the grain on red oak needs to be filled before staining for a smooth surface. Is this true? Do anybody have any suggestions about fillers if needed? Working on a dining table of red oak. Any suggestions for a good satin finish?
Before any coating, sand more than you think you need to, then you will be close to ready!
I have had very good results by using two coats of sanding sealer, snading a lot between coats, then topcoating with Olympic polyurethane. I let the first and second urethane coats dry 48 hours or so to make sure they are good and hard, then sand them down with 220-grit. My thought is to take most of the urethane off the surface, but it leaves it in the grain.
then two good coats of polyurethane with regualr "scuffing" between and the finish comes out great. And, very durable.
I suppose you might have to add a coat or two depending on how deep the grain is on your wood, but this seems to work very well.
I've had exremely good luck by sanding, staining, and sealing (poly or laquer). That's it. A lot of people like to do all kinds of steps in between, and I'm sure it does come out beautiful. But in my experience, I've found red oak one of the nicest species to finish. I use Minwax golden oak stain, and finish off with numerous laquer coats. Usually 4-5 coats. This is how I finish most of my red oak. With white oak, I usually skip the stain, and go right to the laquer. You'll find that the trick to a great finish on hardwood is sanding, sanding, sanding, and more sanding. Oak turns out really nice after 150 grit, but on table tops, I've even went as fine as 220. Light sanding with EXTREMELY VERY fine between laquer coats. You know, same thing your grandfather told you.
For what it's worth.
What I've been doing of late isn't very far off of Marc's method.
I stain it with Minwax poly stain in golden oak, then give it a good coating of this stuff called Briwax golden oak flavored wax.
(Tastes AWFUL though, I think it's made with ear wax)(Apply laughter here)
That's after it's been smoooothed with sanding with 120 then 220 until it feels as smooth as the Grandson's bottom, with the ROS.
I do as little as possible hand sanding as I can. Just to give the sharp points a tad of knockdown.
What Ya git is a nice satin finish that doesn't hid the wood or pores, but seems to seal it up jest fine. I thin itz the poly in the polyshades stain.
Ocourse we don't eat offen our wood, we use dishes.
The bottom line is it's what we like, and it's super easy for upkeep.
The wife tends to git pissy when she finds my comparison finger marks under the dider on the baby though. She thinks I should wash the sanding dust offen my hands firzt.
Such a bother! :D
Thanks so much all of you for the advice, insight and laughter.:) It's been years since I did anything with wood so this forum has been an invalubale tool, reminding me of scant little bits I knew, showing me all this new stuff and letting me do so much more than I would have ever been able to do by myself. Thanks.
I'm a little ahead of where I'm at, been hand sanding for three days.....looks like it's gonna be a while. Got any sander suggestions? Just like to dream, because my budget's got me.
When you can, pick up a Random Orbital Sander (ROS).
For most the electric ones are great. I have an air driven one myself. (Nobody ever borrows that.) But it takes a lot of compressor to run it.
Also, if and when, I reccommend you hook it up to a shop vac for best dust collection.
I use and like the hook & loop type myself. Super easy to change grits. I use 120 and 220 myself and find it works great because of the aggressive nature of these sanders.
Get one with variable speed as well.
I'd put this as high as possible on your wish list. You could do in minutes what is tortureing you for days by hand. :D
hmmm, well I'll pop outta lurk mode for the 1st time w this thread. I don't have a hands-on answer as many of those here w real experience do...I'm real new to woodworking and doing most of my education here as I work towards getting space in the garage to set up a shop.
But I do want to pass on some info about the best source I have found about finishing wood....or at least the best to explain what each of the finishes truly are and how to use them.
It have not seen a reference here to this book - but as thorough as these guys are, I'm sure somebody's mentioned it ;)
Title: Understanding Wood Finishing
Author: Bob Flexner
Publisher: American Woodworker
I got mine at the local B&N for $15
I've read it cover to cover several times...and feel I'm getting a true understanding of finishing for the 1st time.
Heres a trick I learned some where, after your final sanding and befoer stain wipe it down with a very damp cloth, enough to raise the grain.Let it dry thouroughly and re-sand makes that stain coat slicker than#####.........
Kevin, let me try to answer your question about grain filling. If you want a perfectly smooth, glass finish (ala piano), the open pore grain in oak must be filled. There are two ways to fill the grain. One is to keep applying finish and sanding between coats until the pores are filled. The second is to use a grain filler to fill the pores in one step and then apply your final finish.
Most oak is not filled but if you want to use finish to fill, just go ahead with multiple coats of your final finish sanding between each coat. Takes a long time as you must let each coat fully harden and may take 6-10 coats to do the job. The second choice of using a filler requires that you decide if you want to stain your project or not. In some cases you stain before you fill, in others, you stain the fill itself. I suggest you get Jeff Jewitt's "Great Wood Finishes" if you want to use a filler. He will give you all the steps.
Finally, I would not use a sanding sealer under poly varnish. Sanding sealers are soft and contain stearates that can cause adhesion problems with poly varnish.
Note: the first two pictures, top to bottom, show the sample woods I bought to match: mahogany, walnut, oak, the bottom is the side of the table. The remaining 3 pictures are of the wood in question...