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Don McPhee

Raw Birch..... What’s your finishing secret sauce?

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Homer Formby's Satin Tung Oil is what my Interior Specialist recommended to my back in 1977 for my KCBR Khorns when I was 23 years old, which is all I could afford then. He used to install Walnut Bannisters and other expensive wood things for rich people! My original Khorns are now owned by my brother's High School friend, and they still look incredible. A light honey color with 3D depth to the grain. 

 

I used #0000 steel wool after sanding down with the finest grit sandpaper. The darn things were almost SHINY to begin with, just from that. I can't remember how many coats of the Tung Oil I rubbed into it but it was as many as I could, until I would tell no difference from the last coat, then I stopped.

 

Very inspiring to see grain get deeper with each coat, 42 years later, prove my friend correct about recommendation!!

 

 

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2 hours ago, ClaudeJ1 said:

Homer Formby's Satin Tung Oil i

 

Thats what I used on my Zebrawood Jubilee. Excellent product..!!!

 

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My dad refinished his La Scalas, probably 20 years ago.  He bought them new in 1982 and they were fine, but the original finish he put on it was not what he wanted.   IIRC, this is just some wipe-on Polyurethane.  I am probably going to do the same to my 78 La Scalas.

 

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I happen to like the look of birch with Tung Oil. If you want something that doesn't change the color, you can use water based Polyurethane, which is clear as glass.

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6 hours ago, mikebse2a3 said:

 

Thats what I used on my Zebrawood Jubilee. Excellent product..!!!

 

 

Great minds think alike, Mike.

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On 10/23/2019 at 8:01 AM, Dave A said:

My vote is for satin spar polyurethane. I like a dull finish that allows all the beauty of the wood to come through and not be distracted with glare from a shiny finish. Birch will darken a fair amount with this and polyurethane will also help strengthen the wood at the sharp corners and be more resistant to chunks picking out on the edges. I like Watco for Walnut and Oak and it is recommended by Klipsch if you have oiled cabinets from the factory.

 

I agree with this 100% though if they were mine I would likely use shellac instead because I think it looks more natural on birch.  It's not as easy to work with though.  I would not recommend an oil finish on birch as others have suggested.  It is a soft wood and could benefit from some protection as Dave A mentions.  Also, an oil finish will not protect from dirty fingerprints. 

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1 hour ago, Godataloss said:

I agree with this 100% though if they were mine I would likely use shellac instead because I think it looks more natural on birch.  It's not as easy to work with though. 

 

I did the KPT-1502 prototype in Shellac and really like how it turned out.

 

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Shellac I used..

 

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