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Best finish for Ash

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Woodworker18/05/2008 18:40:00
1745 forum posts
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I'm just about to finish my latest project in English Ash and wonder if anyone can suggest some good finishes. At the moment I'm planning on using sanding sealer and wax. I've tried linseed oil in the past but it turns Ash quite yellow, which I'm not keen on.

Any suggestions?

Doug Barratt18/05/2008 19:16:00
3409 forum posts
29 photos

Ben.

I seem to remember someone, i think it was Big Al recommending a Ronseal product, something like furniture oil.

I just tried putting it in the keyword search, but it says the facility isn`t working.

Baz.

Mike Garnham18/05/2008 19:33:00
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Ben,

I've done loads of furniture (and doors) in ash, and generally used Danish oil. However, I would advise you not to do this. In going back to take photos for the gallery, I was disappointed to find how yellow everything had gone.

To keep it blonde, I am planning to try Rustins Plastic Coat on my next ash furniture, starting soon. Derek says that it doesn't have to give a thick plasticcy gloss finish if you don't want it to, because it can be thinned down, and it can be rubbed to make it more matt. Apparently it doesn't yellow over time.

I think your sanding sealer and wax plan would work well....the only difficulty will be seeing where you have waxed and where you haven't. I doubt whether it will highlight the grain as well as an oil does, unfortunately.

What have you made?

Mike

Woodworker18/05/2008 20:30:00
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74 articles
Thanks guys, I think I'll stick to the sanding sealer / beeswax plan but still very interested to find alternatives ~ I've got quite a bit of Ash at the moment. Mike, it's a simple set of dovetailed shelves. Just finishing off the dovetails now. Hope to get it glued up later tonight and finished tomorrow.
Mike Riley18/05/2008 23:25:00
337 forum posts
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Ben I hate the way Ash turns yellow when oiled, makes it look dirty and just generally nasty. I have been told (but haven't tried it) that you can bleach Ash first and then oil it which has the overall result of returning it to its natural colour. Alternately I seem to recall Andy King mentioning a product back in the mists of time, ask him there's an chance that he might remember unless I was dreaming it. Cheers Mike
Doug Barratt19/05/2008 05:57:00
3409 forum posts
29 photos

Ben.

Mike Riley`s right it was Andy King, he recommended water based laquer for ash, i even e-mailed Andy for more information about it, Doh my memory.

Both Chestnut & Behlen sell it, have a word with Andy, & if possible could you post your results, i`ve still not made the ash bed i wanted to know about the laquer for.

Now i just need to find that book i bought on improving my memory.............Where did i put it????????????????

Cheers all   Baz.

derek willis19/05/2008 08:45:00
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2314 forum posts
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Ben,

How about all that discussion on Rustins Plastic Coating then?

Derek. 

derek willis19/05/2008 08:52:00
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Ben,

Just been out and tried some that was already mixed, one coat wiped on has given a very good finish, a little darkening of the surface as you get with all products but no detriment to the timber finish.

It was discussed with Mike and I a couple of weeks ago, and I recommended he ask Rustins about discoloration and they came back with a very favourable report in that no colouring will take place,

.

Derek. 

Mike Garnham19/05/2008 09:07:00
4114 forum posts
1 photos

Derek,

Rustins haven't really helped themselves very much with the name of this product. It isn't plastic......it is a two part lacquer. Woodworkers, I would assume, would avoid plastic-type finishes because we are working with a natural product.

"Rustins Two-part Lacquer" would have been a better name, I reckon.

A comparison with the water-based lacquer from Chestnut would be really interesting. I notice that the Chestnut product is also available in a spray-can.

Mike 

Olly Parry-Jones19/05/2008 10:25:00
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2776 forum posts
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Ben, nice to hear of someone else using English Ash for a change.

I've not used anything other than Danish Oil before, but I'm about to try some of the Osmo Polyx Oil that has an advert in the back of most woodworking magazines. It's an oil and wax mixture that apparently only requires two coats. I imagine that the oil content will still lead to some darkening or yellowing of the ash but, once I've bought some and had a play with it, I'll let you know how it goes anyway. 

Woodworker19/05/2008 10:46:00
1745 forum posts
1 photos
74 articles
Mike R; bleaching sounds like a challenge. Do you know what product you would use to bleach Ash? Mike R / Baz; I'll get in touch with Andy to find out what that finish was he recommended ~ thanks. Derek / Mike G; I should probably give this plastic coating product a go. I do agree with Mike in that the word 'plastic' puts me off somewhat. I like to stick to natural finishes where possible, such as oils, waxes, shellac etc. Olly; do you find that Danish oil turns the Ash a yellow colour? Thanks all, much appreciated.
Mike Riley19/05/2008 11:03:00
337 forum posts
5 photos
5 articles
Danish Oil turns Ash pee yellow, I can promise you that. I can dig some photos out of my sons bed which is English Ash with a Danish oil finish. To my mind the finish is horrible and dirty looking. I'll see if I have some pics somewhere. Cheers Mike
Mike Garnham19/05/2008 11:41:00
4114 forum posts
1 photos

Mike,

the problem is that it doesn't go a horrible colour immediately. So, you make your furniture, oil it, and then sell it.......and it looks fine. It is only when you revisit it later for some reason that you discover that all is not well.

I think the problem is that Danish oil is part-varnish (ie it has solids dissolved in it), and I think that these solids yellow in contact with UV (ie daylight). Additionally, the finish doesn't protect the wood from UV light, and that yellows too.

Andy King19/05/2008 11:59:00
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Morning chaps, I recommended water based lacquer (sold by Chestnut and Behlen amongst others) as it doesn't have a yellow cast as a fluid, unlike oils or polys, so any applied keeps it a pretty pale finish. I made a pine cupboard and sprayed it with waterbased lacquer some years back for the mag and although it has darkened down as the light has acted upon it, it's not the horrible yellow you normally get, it's still retained a natural pine look. Ash is likely to darken much the same over the course of time, but as pointed out by Mike and others, it won't have that initial yellow cast of an oil or oil based finish. As i mentioned in the original advice (I think...) when you apply water based stuff, it looks milky with a slight blue tinge, but dries back perfectly clear, so on pale timbers, I find it tends to retain a natural look. Of course, ideally the best bet is to try it on a scrap piece or an area that won't be seen beforehand, but you don't need me to tell you that! cheers, Andy
derek willis19/05/2008 12:02:00
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Andy,

Funnily enough whilst you wre writing your post I was reading information which stated that the only way to keep the original colour of the timber, one should use water based acrylic laquer, just what you have just said.

Derek. 

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