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Finishing Ash?

  • Posts: 4

Boxman created the topic: Finishing Ash?

I'm finishing a heirloom box made in Ash which is very white and I've read that most of the oils; Tung, Danish etc. turn the white finish yellow after a time which I don't want.

What would be the best finish for Ash to maintain the white finish? Should I use a spirit base or water base, lacquer? or an oil or a sanding sealer?? I don't want a gloss finish which is why I usually use Danish oil. Any suggestions as to the best finish.
  • Posts: 269

Derek replied the topic: Finishing Ash?

What a great question !

I am also in the middle of making some jewelry boxes and I am using some ash for a few of them as well.
The finish I prefer is a wipe on satin,clear poly but use of a sanding sealer or other clear finish works for most woodworkers as well. I have used Tung Oil in the past but I have not seen any yellowing of the Ash in those items but it may just come down to the boards from that tree to make this happen.
As far as oil based or water based goes you are good to go with either especially when an appropriate seal coat is laid first. Several thin coats is always recommended of course.
I hope this is of some help.
  • Posts: 4

Boxman replied the topic: Finishing Ash?

Thanks for that Derek. I always try to build up layers of the finishing coat to create a depth, previous finishes have been best with a spirit based product (seem to cure harder than water based). When you say a sealer what product do you mean? I have a shellac sealer which is made for a shellac French polish, I have a transparent French polish but have not tried it on Ash. Spirit based Polyurethane might be an option but not keen on the plastic type appearance.
  • Posts: 269

Derek replied the topic: Finishing Ash?

Sorry for not getting back to you sooner than this.
I use Zinsser Seal Coat { I think how it's Spelled } which is a shellac sealer. I sand to 220 grit put a seal coat on and then sand with 600 grit. The sealer raises the grain and and the sanding removes most of the sealer. A good wipe down and vacuuming and I start the finish coats.
I too am a huge fan of spirit based finishes over water base but I have recently started to use some water based stains with good results. I'm stuck in my ways and I usually stay with what works for me but I have seen enough and heard enough on water base products over the years so I am trying some for myself. I fully blame Colin for this. :)
As for the the polyurethane ,,,,,, ya I would stay clear of that for boxes myself but hey, if you have it on hand try a scrap piece and see what the results are like. I would love to see your projects so fire a pic or two up if you can.

  • Posts: 4

Boxman replied the topic: Finishing Ash?

Thanks for the reply Derek. I checked the product you use, Zinsser Seal Coat, and it is correct. From product details it seals the natural colour of the wood and as a basecoat for a spirit based finish or a water based. I'm interested to try the water based polyurethane although my thoughts are to go with the spirit varnish mainly to maintain and retain the natural colour. Shellac polish will probably give it some colour even using transparent. Spirit varnish I've used in the past has some colour to it and will probably affect the colour finish. I'd be interested to hear from some of the major manufactures as to what they would suggest. Seems like I'll have to make up a few sample pieces to try different finishes but I'm not really into that. I'll see if I can get some picture of some of the boxes.

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