September 10, 2008 – Final Finish

Okay, the Bubinga has its final coat of finish. Normally it would be done but since it is going to be used as a counter top, I want to “rub it”. Removing the top skim of finish and rubbing it out, I get a surface that is not going to show minor scratches as much and I will also have a surface that can be repaired much easier as it can be rubbed to a specific sheen.

The second reason for rubbing it out is to give you some tips. The finish I have is as smooth as glass and feels like warm butter between your fingers. Having a spray booth and umpteen years of experience spraying allows me to get this result straight from the gun. By rubbing it out, you can achieve the same smooth surface.

Directions for rubbing out a finish have been complicated, I’m going to try and simplify it and make it easy for you. The first thing you need to know is that the finish has to be cured, not only dry, but cured. In this case, using WoodVar which is a catalyzed finish it will cure in about 48 hours, a pre-catalyzed lacquer can be 15 days and so on. Make sure you know how long your finish needs to cure.

I’m gonna back up here and explain a catalyzed finish. A catalyzed finish means that it is a two-part finish, I had to add a catalyst to the finish in order for it to dry, harden and cure. Another term used is Crosslink which means all the molecules in the finish will weld themselves together and form a film as it cures, forcing the solvents out. Catalyst/Crosslinkers simply put add a huge amount of durability and scratch resistance.

In the case of WoodVar, it’s not going to cloud under a coffee cup or have any of those issues. A lot of heat can melt or blister it, it’s a finish, and when you understand it, it’s a plastic. Won’t look like plastic, but it is a form of and a tough one.

Now, we are going to rub this top out to a 55 degree sheen – a semi-gloss. Note that 50 to 60 degrees is a semi-gloss, 35 to 40 degrees is satin and so forth. Sheen is spoken of on a scale of 10 to 90 degree average and simply put, the higher the number the shinier it is. Rubbing out to less than “high gloss” is difficult. It is hard to get an even sheen. Gloss, you simply rub it until it shines like glass. The problem we have with a lower sheen is that if you rub too much in one spot you will get a higher gloss than an area where you didn’t rub as much so you could get a blotchy looking surface. I’m going to share a few tips on how to level and rub out.

While high gloss is pretty, it also shows any minor scratches or imperfections. Even everyday cleaning can give it a scratched look so it is not practical for a kitchen island so we are going to go with a nice 50 or so degree sheen. Tomorrow it will have its 48 hour cure and can be worked so follow along, this is worth knowing and will add a little more to your self confidence in finishing. Being able to successfully rub out a finish will even allow you to remove a run and take an otherwise less than acceptable finish to a masterpiece finish.

Okay, the bubinga is curing. Sherri is working on getting things in order for the Hancock Shaker Clock Build and I am wrapping up the step back and getting on with the kitchen cabinets. Stay tuned!

Catch Ya Later!

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5 Responses to September 10, 2008 – Final Finish

  1. How did you keep a wet edge while spraying or better yet, what type of equipment did you use to spray ? Not a gun with a cup??? That looks like lot of material to spray.

    You do nice work…looks good!


  2. intheworkshop says:

    I used a 1.5 nozzle in a kremlin lvlp gravity fed gun…but any of my turbines would have done the was just already clean….it has a 4 micron screen in the cup,I did have to remove it to get enough fluid flow…i also thinned the woodvar about 10%..i have a tendency to spray a little “wetter” than most folks..but it wasn’t difficult to spray

  3. intheworkshop says:



  4. Denis Rezendes says:

    Thats some beautiful Bubinga! thanks for the lesson on rubbing out. works great! i’ve done it a few times and it really makes a difference!

  5. William Mitchell says:

    This info is cool, Charles. I’m just not sure I’m following along to discover how to improve the finish on my woodworking projects or my car. Both could use a little bling in their finishes.

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