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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For sticks, so far I have used just natural (no-stain) sealers. I've been using three or four applications of WATCO Danish Oil and after days of drying, waxing with high-quality wax. As with all wood finishing projects there are numerous options. I'd like to consider new options.

For me, important issues include resistance to moisture and scratching, and the ability to touch it up when scratched without a complete sand and refinish job.

So, how about a discussion about:

  • Stains
  • Sealers
  • Finishes: oils, lacquers, varnishes, shellacs, blends
  • Waxes
  • Compatibilities

???

I just read some interesting articles about tung oils, apparently there is linseed oil sold as tung oil, and all sorts of mixtures that include tung oil. Then I read some articles (some conflicting) regarding WATCO Danish Oil.
 

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CAS, I usualy usually use a spar varnish, but have recently been using just oil. I like the old and worn look that tung or boiled linseed oil can give. I have used Danish oil for furniture before , but I don't think it would offer any more protection than tung or BLO. Shellac won't offer any protection, I do use it as a sanding sealer though. Lacquer probably won't stand up to moisture. If a stick is going out in the wilderness my vote is spar varnish. If it's a fancier stick, some sort of poly or varnish based finish would probably fit the bill.
 

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CAS, a really good book that I have is , Understanding Wood Finishing, by Bob Flexner. I highly recomend it. It has information on just about every coloring and finishing option.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
CAS, a really good book that I have is , Understanding Wood Finishing, by Bob Flexner. I highly recomend it. It has information on just about every coloring and finishing option.
Many thanks Markus. I will watch for that, it sounds like a "must have."

Today, I received in the mail my copy of "Make Your Own Walking Sticks" by Charles Self. It looks like another great resource for beginners like me.
 

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That's a good article you pulled up there CAS. I'll bookmark it for future use. I've been using Watco Danish Oil for awhile on some of my wood

projects and each tin is a stain of some sort. As long as you don't seal it with a varnish etc a reapplication of oil is all you need to touch it up.
 

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That's a good article you pulled up there CAS. I'll bookmark it for future use. I've been using Watco Danish Oil for awhile on some of my wood
projects and each tin is a stain of some sort. As long as you don't seal it with a varnish etc a reapplication of oil is all you need to touch it up.
Thanks Sean. I've used the clear WATCO Danish Oil (3-4 applications) on a couple of slingshots. Consistent with what I read, it penetrates well. I suspect that it seals very well and provides some moisture protection but not scuff protection. My slingshots were finished with lots of coats of high quality wax, that's all.

Based on the book that I just received, I think that Tung oil is compatible. About 40 years ago, I finished some gifts for my wife with Tung oil, and they still look good. I am tempted to apply Tung oil over Danish oil.

Back to Danish oil, Woodcraft has some tints that they say will dissolve in Danish oil. I bought a couple and will try that approach one day. I plan to mix in a clear Mason jar, so I can see what's happening. The way that oil penetrates, it should carry the stain well into the wood.
 

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I'll have to buy some Tung oil and see how I like it in comparison. Thanks for the heads up on it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Sean, apparently from what I read, there are different products marketed as Tung oil so I'm going to read more and read labels more carefully.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Rus-Oleum makes WATCO products. Their support staff responded to my question regarding the use of Tung oil over Danish oil:

My inquiry:

" I like your WATCO Danish Oil sealer.
I like Tung Oil, for wood that will be scuffed up and may require touching up.

Can Tung Oil be applied over thoroughly dried Danish Oil? "

Rust-Oleum's response:

" Thank you for contacting Rust-Oleum Product Support.

Hi Vance, No Danish oil sealer will not allow it to soak in as needed.

Sincerely,

Luis "

In other words, the manufacturer of a Tung oil and a Danish oil product advises that we should not apply Tung oil after Danish oil.

Vance
 

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I`ve used a burning technique on a lot of mine in conjunction with a stain...Sometime I burn the whole stick and use sand paper to high light certain area`s to have some area`s show up better...
 

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Thought about oils too on some sticks that will be WORKED/USED....No sence in making one shiny if it`s gonna be scuffed and bumped...Any pic.`s????
 

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Thought about oils too on some sticks that will be WORKED/USED....No sence in making one shiny if it`s gonna be scuffed and bumped...Any pic.`s????
Most of my work is aimed at hiking sticks.The first year, I finished w. a couple coats of spar varnish to reduce the effects of moisture. I assume anyone out for a hike will be tromping thru dew, rain, and across muck. One of the sticks I personally use most is a very simple oak staff, smooth, no embellishment. I noticed that after a year or so of use, the spar varnish had become hazy and sort of tacky where I held it. Also, a couple of sticks that I thought I had prepared correctly showed some small bubbles under the varnish after a year of sitting in storage. Probably they were not quite dry enough. So I have switched to several coats of tung oil for moisture proofing. If the wood is smooth, the sheen is pretty attractive. I hope the oil penetrates far enough to keep the surface hard and water resistant.

I also don't sand the lower part of most of my hiking sticks as finely as possible. I assume that area will get more abuse. Also put on more coats of stain lower down to lessen the visibility of scuffs.
 

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Thought about oils too on some sticks that will be WORKED/USED....No sence in making one shiny if it`s gonna be scuffed and bumped...Any pic.`s????
Most of my work is aimed at hiking sticks.The first year, I finished w. a couple coats of spar varnish to reduce the effects of moisture. I assume anyone out for a hike will be tromping thru dew, rain, and across muck. One of the sticks I personally use most is a very simple oak staff, smooth, no embellishment. I noticed that after a year or so of use, the spar varnish had become hazy and sort of tacky where I held it. Also, a couple of sticks that I thought I had prepared correctly showed some small bubbles under the varnish after a year of sitting in storage. Probably they were not quite dry enough. So I have switched to several coats of tung oil for moisture proofing. If the wood is smooth, the sheen is pretty attractive. I hope the oil penetrates far enough to keep the surface hard and water resistant.

I also don't sand the lower part of most of my hiking sticks as finely as possible. I assume that area will get more abuse. Also put on more coats of stain lower down to lessen the visibility of scuffs.
I`m using Poly Urethane exclisivly without any hazing...I don`t know what the difference is to Spar,I`ve never used it...But a lot of my sticks are of a hiking type too...
 

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Thought about oils too on some sticks that will be WORKED/USED....No sence in making one shiny if it`s gonna be scuffed and bumped...Any pic.`s????
Most of my work is aimed at hiking sticks.The first year, I finished w. a couple coats of spar varnish to reduce the effects of moisture. I assume anyone out for a hike will be tromping thru dew, rain, and across muck. One of the sticks I personally use most is a very simple oak staff, smooth, no embellishment. I noticed that after a year or so of use, the spar varnish had become hazy and sort of tacky where I held it. Also, a couple of sticks that I thought I had prepared correctly showed some small bubbles under the varnish after a year of sitting in storage. Probably they were not quite dry enough. So I have switched to several coats of tung oil for moisture proofing. If the wood is smooth, the sheen is pretty attractive. I hope the oil penetrates far enough to keep the surface hard and water resistant.

I also don't sand the lower part of most of my hiking sticks as finely as possible. I assume that area will get more abuse. Also put on more coats of stain lower down to lessen the visibility of scuffs.
I`m using Poly Urethane exclisivly without any hazing...I don`t know what the difference is to Spar,I`ve never used it...But a lot of my sticks are of a hiking type too...
The spar varnish I used was urethane based. I chose to use it initially because of the weather resistance spar varnish has over ordinary varnish. I like how I can get a good finish w. just a couple of coats, and each coat is dry (at least to the touch) within 24 hours. But I'm concerned that it may be too soft, thus wearing away from palm pressure after a few years of use. So I'm trying tung, which, if what I've read is correct, blends w. the wood, and creates a polymer. I'm also starting some experiments w. a top coat of shellac over the tung for a bit more gloss.
 

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Tung oil - still very confusing to me, as so many products are advertised as Tung oil but many articles say most such products really aren't Tung oil or are cut.

Has anyone used this product, or know anything about it?

http://www.realmilkpaint.com/oil.html

What do you think about this article? It lists everything that isn't really Tung oil but doesn't say what is.

http://www.popularwoodworking.com/techniques/finishing/oil-finishes-their-history-and-use
Good article. I suspect that pure tung oil will say so on the label, as is evident w. the milkpaint brand. I'm using tung from Rockler, which also places "100% pure" prominently on the front.

Some background notes on oil finishes. I had once read that one of the advantages of a fine English hunting rifle was that they might have as many as 30 coats of linseed oil applied, with a drying time of months. The advantage was that if the gun was lost, and recovered after 6 months in the open, there would be no discernable damage to the finish. The noted American artist, Maxfield Parrish, painted in a fashion that required exquisite patience. His panels would spend 6 months curing after the ground coats were applied. He used many many layers of glaze, each requiring 2 weeks of careful drying between coats. A "fast" painting from him was 2 years.

It looks to me that if I want to pursue oil finished sticks, I'll need to add maybe another half year to the finishing period.
 

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Shows the same "100% pure" the Rockler brand has on it. My experience, each coat takes longer to dry/bond. My current rule of thumb is "Don't work till
"x" days have gone by for each "x" coats.
 

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Thanks for all the info on finishing sticks! I've read every one linked here, and bookmarked them. Who knew paint can be made from Milk? Blows my mind.

I mostly work with metal, so I just paint it, or send it through the powdercoat line at work. Brass or Stainless, I just clean and let be.

From the Olde Shillelagh website that got me interested in making my own sticks, only their "fighting sticks" have an oil coating, rather than a varnish, because fighting sticks get so beat up that an oil finish can be repaired so easily. Hiking here in North Dakota, especially through CRP (Conservation Reserve Program) land, will wear the finish off anything. I wear leg gaitors while pheasant hunting, Levi's just get shredded. Don't try to walk through a sunflower field after a wounded bird, all of you will be totally scratched beyond belief. Been there, Never Again!

The point is that I am attracted to the oil finishes for their low shine, easy repair, water repellent characteristics. Only thing is the temperature restrictions of applying them. Currently, my unheated garage won't do, so I'll have to do it in the house. It warmed up to -3 tonight, 43 degrees colder that the minimum application temperature of Tung oil. I'll deal with it when I have sticks to finish!
 
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