So we got winter now? So it seems. This is what it looks like outside this morning. Sheesh – it’s way too early for this, but, well, this is Wisconsin so we never know what we’re going to see out there when we get up in the morning.
Wood Finishes – I’ve become disillusioned with the finish I used to like, which was a mixture of beeswax, tung and cedar oil. It put a beautiful finish on the pieces, but unfortunately it didn’t stay nice. After several weeks the finish started to get dull looking, even rather nasty. I was really disappointed with that because I liked the satin finish it left.
So I’ve been using a different technique. I make my own shellac and I use that as a base coat on the wood, scuff it with 0000 steel wool to smooth things down, then put down a coat of hard carnauba wax and buff it out at high speed. It’s a bit more work because I have to sand down the wood to a higher grit than I normally would. I used to sand up to a 340 grit, but for this to work I have to go up to 600 grit because the high polish will show even tiny defects. But so far the results have been pretty nice.
Early results are encouraging. And there are no nasty chemicals in any of this. The shellac is just shellac flakes dissolved in alcohol, and the wax is pure carnauba. So far it seems to be working pretty well. But time will tell. The beeswax finish I used looked good at first too.
I finally broke down and bought a band saw. I’ve wanted one for a long time but always talked myself out of it, claiming I could get along with a table saw and miter saw. But I’m working with a lot of 3-4 inch thick wood now and I just can’t cut that stuff without one. The one I really wanted cost over $2,000 and wouldn’t fit into my workshop. And I’m sure MrsGF would give me that look if I showed up with a $2K bandsaw some afternoon. (You really don’t want her to give you that look. Seriously. It’s scary.)
It’s a Rikon and it doesn’t seem bad at all. It was easy to put together and get set up, it runs smooth and seems to be pretty well made and reasonably sturdy. It will cut up to 5″ thick stock. I’d have liked to have a larger capacity than that, but wow, do prices go up fast in the larger size saws. A saw with just one inch greater capacity, 6″ instead of 5″, would be twice or even three times the cost of this one, and I can’t justify that. This one was under $500 and it seems to be pretty good quality for that price. But time will tell.
Rikon has a fairly good reputation, so it will be interesting to see how this saw works out. The only other Rikon tool I have is my low speed grinder that I use for sharpening my lathe tools.