When we have no other criteria to judge things on, we always select the cheapest product. Well, most of us do. Isn't it always true that once we know some things to look for in the products and services we purchase, we are all willing to pay more if there are benefits to the more expensive product. This is always the case with the lowly paint brush. I have done it myself. There I stand in front of a rack of paint brushes, they all look pretty much the same to me sitting their in their packages and priced from $1.99 up to $24.99 ... so, what do I do, I purchase the cheapest one. Then when I get home and start clear finishing my woodworking projects and find that I am really making a mess of an otherwise great project, and something I spent a lot of time making, and how the finish I am putting on is looking like crap. What's the first thing I blade ... the can of finish. BUT little did I know the real culprit was ME by selecting a cheap paint brush in the first place.
I can honestly say that when it comes to purchasing paint brushes, the more you pay the better quality you are going to get. But like all things, when you are armed with knowledge it makes all the difference in the world, and so ...
In the scheme of things, there are not many actual "tools" when it comes to finishing of wood projects. Sure there are paint brushes of various types and sizes and large selection of spray type tools and attachments but other than that, there is not a lot avalable. One of the challenges of so many of who use paint brushes to apply stains and final coats is trying to finish an entire project in one session. That often means having to finish all the sides that "show" without having to worry about the finish being marred. In most cases we have to do the finishing in 2 sessions, which contributes to making the finishing process long and tedious. Thankfully someone has addressed some of the finishing challenges that woodworkers encounter while finishing and have invented some products to help meet these challenges.
The first product is the Veraspin 360. Nothing particularly high tech about this unit, it is basically a plastic turn table that comes in 2 sizes, 11" and 16". True, it spins around in a 360 degree circle nicely, but the real benefit to the Veraspins' are the built in little "nubs" on the top surface. These little nubs are used to help hold 2 other products that attach on top of them to make a great finishing platform.
Finishing woodwork projects is the last step in a labor of love so it's critical that the finish show off the hard work, and the details of the wood . Add this to the fact that I have always tried to use products that are eco friendly and the list of finishing products starts to diminish signficantly. The only problem is that in many cases, the eco-friendly products I have tried have not given me anywhere near the kind of finish I wanted ... or expected ... until I discoverd OSMO.
If you have never heard of the word OSMO, don't be too alarmed. It is wood finishing product developed in Germany about 30 years ago. Sadly, it has taken many, many years to hit the North American markets. One of the biggest advantages of OSMO is that it is eco friendly, and that is because it is made primarily from natural, renewable sunflower oil and plant waxes. In many countries in Europe, with their very high population density, their laws and restrictions on finishing products is quite advanced. OSMO is often a preferred product as it is so safe that it is even approved as a finish for children's toys! Originally created as a floor finishing product, OSMO has since been adapted for use in other ways, but knowing that it is used as floor finishing material helps to understand just how durable this product can be.
For woodworkers, the benefits are numerous, The product will not chip, flake, blister or peel, it has an enormous coverage which means it is not expensive to use. Best of all, it is easy to apply and makes a great finish, AND if it is being used in situations where "finish wear" is a concern, OSMO can be re-finished over top of it'self with only moderate sanding or roughing of the area to be re-finished. It reall is a remarkable product. OSMO comes in both an interior and exterior grade. The main difference with the exterior grade is the addition of UV inhibiting charcteristics.
IT IS VERY IMPORTANT to understand the OSMO is NOT applied to woodworking projects like many of the finishing products you may be accustomed to using. OSMO is NOT a product for the spray gun, nor is using it with most standard paint brushes recommended. OSMO must be applied with a very thin coat, which means it requires special application.
We were very lucky to know expert woodworker and finisher Phil Makin of Frameworks Services, who kindly took the time to explain OSMO to us and take us through the steps of finishing with OSMO. We wish to acknowledge Phil for his time and recommend him for your wood project requirements, sample of which are posted in the second part of this article.
Restoring antique furniture is not for the faint of heart !!! If you are an avid watcher of the television show The Antiques Road Show or other similar shows, you will know that it is a BIG no, no to do any work, as in re-finishing, re-building or re-storing to old antiques. Apparently collectors would rather have antiques that are in what ever shape they are, good or bad and they do not want anyone to alter the original object. In the event an item is re-finished or re-built the value plummets like lead balloon ... and I can understand that. What I don't understand is when I see very nice old furniture that is in terrible shape, that no one will do anything with because it "might" de-value the piece of furniture. In many cases some lovely old furniture has come un-glued, pieces missing or just simply badly abused over the millenia and now it needs some work to put it back together and maybe even a re-finish job to make the piece as close to it's original shape as possible.
The truth is, there are hundreds of furniture restores all over the world who fix, repair and re-finish old and antique furniture every day. I believe these restores do a service by preserving these valuables by making them able to withstand the next 100 years. The question I had, was what to do with an antique rocking chair that I was commissioned to restore.