wood finishing

Wood Finishing: Torn Between using Seal or Varnish

Part 1/2

Being in line with wood workshops, I am frequently asked about the distinction between whether to seal or varnish a finished project. Both are efficient and great finishing methods especially when applied in an appropriate element.

Did you know that the internal component of wood comprise a lot of microscopic tubes or cells that run to and from the timber grain. These series of cells carry with them nutrients that are important for the growth of trees and, as soon as dried and cut, they continue to contract and expand under similar conditions of humidity and extreme moisture.

Even after a synthetic finished has been utilized to the wood surface, the wood continues to expand depending on the outside temperature in which it is stationed. It is not a method that you are going to find out easily but there are some ready indicators that this is not occurring. For example, during a wet weather, you may notice that an exterior garage door or a wooden gate will stick and swell a lot. You may even have a difficulty in opening a timber window. This is because of the fact that the wood has expanded as an outcome of excess moisture that was absorbed in the wood.

In turn, the expanded wood will basically revert back and dry out to its original condition, although sometimes minimal sanding down may be needed. Taking these basic factors in to consideration, when deciding what kind of finishing to apply to your wood projects, it helps to have an idea about little information beforehand.

Herringbone flooring being varnished

Herringbone flooring being varnished

What is Varnish? Varnish is an infusion of oils and resins that are utilized and applied to the wood surface to supply a safety layer to protect against damage. Varnish is available in several formulations from matt finish to semi-gloss to gloss finish. Polyurethane varnish is the most commonly used varnish for finishing.

It is known that varnish does not specifically penetrate into the wood. It is the other way around. The first coat of varnish practically blocks the wood surface to supply added protection from unwanted moisture.

But, because of regular contraction and expansion of timber, the layer of varnish may perish and crack overtime which gives freedom for the moisture to go inside the wood and simply aggravating the problem.

So, are you enticed? You basically know something about the components and features of a varnish. On the next article, we will discuss some relevant facts regarding a sealer. And to conclude the topic, we will give you some tips and tricks on how to use either a varnish or a sealer. This article will aid you in choosing what to use as wood finishing. And after reading the whole of it, I am pretty sure that you will have something in mind.

Industrial Woodworking Machinery at its Finest: A Cut Above the Rest

If you are on the verge of looking for the best woodworking tool, it may seem like the price is the significant difference between a piece of hardware and a further similar make. But the price difference between equipments basically enunciates where the real distinction lies upon: in the grade construction of the equipment.

Based on studies, woodworking equipments are manufactured in three distinctive grades; each having an inferior quality and production capability as compared to the next grade. These are hobby grade, mid grade and industrial grade. If you are in a high volume woodworking business, you will eye industrial woodworking equipments. It basically supplies the most intense and highest production efficiency and rate. It also possesses the most significant resale value and lifespan.

 

Choosing the right board for your project is another important part of the process

Choosing the right board for your project is another important part of the process

HOW THESE GRADES DIFFER

While the difference might be obvious, one should not be blinded on purchasing the wrong type of woodworking machine. Further, the mishandling is because of selecting an inferior grade of equipment in hopes of cutting significant amount of money. However, it can also lead from over investing in hardware that supplies exaggerating capacity, not to small.

Woodworkers are recommended to take a short course on how each grade of woodworking equipment are dealt with before they buy it. As its name applies, hobby grade equipment is destined for hobbyists, which work is not mass produced. To add, it does not need that the tools are overly capable like the ability to cut on ten sheets. The resale value is also restricted because of its lifespan, hobby grade equipments are always purchased in brand new. Furthermore, in relation to capacity of its production, this is a very crucial factor in its distinction from mid-grade to industrial grade.

Mid grade working equipments possesses a restricted capabilities and a much shorter lifespan. However, their capabilities may be enough to answer for short term industrial basis. Simply put, a mid grade router may attain the rate of production of an industrial model but it may be on a limited span of time because of intense operation. This might also lead to significant breakdowns since it is not destined absolutely for these types of operations. Although the use of mid grade equipment in lieu of industrial machines is cost effective in the long term, the cost of the latter tempts people to utilize a lesser grade of woodworking equipments.

Ergo, the proper equipment is crucial to produce high quality work. Although mid grade and hobby grade equipments is cost efficient as compared to industrial equipments, neither their capabilities in production gives freedom for one to produce similar volume and quality of work at a given time vis-a-vis industrial equipment. When the cost of the equipment is a hindrance in getting the equipment one requires, purchasing the equipment as used is a practical choice than utilizing an insufficient grade of equipment just to cut costs.

At Kaltimber, all our machines have been chosen with care and our team highly train to guarantee a great final result to enjoy for generations.

squaring

Protect your tropical wood deck from weather

Why seal my wood?

As you can see on the picture, nature can have a disastrous effect on your exterior wood. The natural effects of the sun and water will cause graying, fading, mildew, cupping, splintering, cracking and warping.

This is why it is necessary to seal your exterior wood. Properly sealing the wood will prevent water from seeping into cracks which causes cracking, cupping, bowing, and splintering. The UV protectors in our seal greatly reduce the effects of the sun, such as cracking, drying, and graying.

Wood is also, in many ways, a living, breathing thing. Wood expands and contracts when it is cold or hot. Wood needs to breathe and it also needs to be protected properly from the elements.

When should I have my deck sealed?

Anytime of the year is a good time to have your wood protected. You can ask us for advice.

Should I seal the wood myself?

Sealing your own deck may seem easy enough, but many times homeowners create irreversible damage to their deck. Not pressure washing properly, using a corrosive chemical on your deck, or using the wrong sealant can be disastrous, and your deck can NEVER be repaired 100%. Considering the fact that most sealants only last 6 months to a year, you are the stuck with the predicament of what to do then. Do you have to strip it all off using strong chemicals? Or should you recoat over existing faded seal, which will not give your deck a uniform look? Or you could wind up paying a professional a much higher fee to repair the damage. The best solution is to have it done properly the first time. For that also feel free to ask us and we’ll be pleased to assist and guide you.

Finish your wood with flair and care part 1.

Finishing wood in an appropriate way is exceedingly important if you want to get the best out of your wood. In this two-part series, we survey different types of wood finishes and look at what is right for you.

Before and after... teak chair finished with Woca oil

I have touched on this topic before, but really it deserves a book’s worth of attention. Little information is available to Indonesian consumers about wood finishes, and what is out there is by no means comprehensive, clear, or particularly accessible. For those of you with experience in this area, you may have noticed there are limited choices available on the local market. Your average local builder will tend to offer the standard polyurethane-based finished that they know, interchangeably called “plitur” or “Mowilex” (a brand-name). Sometimes a varnish traditionally made from resins called “sirlac” (Shellac) but nowadays made from pulmerised petro-based oils is used for finishing teak. Another product we can pick up in large Indonesian supermarkets is ‘fake’ teak oil, made from to petroleum distillates such as kerosene. The good stuff is usually made with a linseed oil base.

The sheer number of timber finishes available on today’s market can sometimes be a tad overwhelming! In Indonesia we are a way behind some of the European, Australian and American advances in timber finishes, however in recent years more options have become available. I will look at these products in the upcoming issues, but first, let’s look at some basics.

There are four different ways to treat or finish wood: oil, wax, varnish or pigment (paint or stain). The first three don’t add any colour to the wood, whereas pigment does. Let’s look at some pros and cons of the various types.

1. OIL

Permeates timber cells and simultaneously seals and protects. Oils are not affected by moisture content fluctuation of wood (they are elastic). Many wood oils are plant-based and hence environmentally sounder. Types include: Unblended Wood Oils (tung, linseed, soy, candlenut, castor), Polymerised Wood Oils (specially processed oils that have been heated to help them dry faster which create a harder surface film and a more durable glossy luster) and Pigment Oil-Based Stains (contain oil which enables the stain to penetrate the wood)

2. Wax

Fills all of the cavities in the wood to achieve an even finish that is polished. Wax doesn not achieve a film on the surface, as oils do. It creates a flat surface which allows you to polish the wood. Many oil finishes benefit from a light liquid wax coating , especially floors.

3. Varnish

Creates a transparent film coating over the entire wood surface. There are penetrating varnishes and non-penetrating varnishes. There are approximately 60-70 different types of varnish out there. In Indonesia there are probably around 10 different kinds, but many different brand names. Types include: Polyurethane Coatings (generally petro chemical-based which are thinned with petroleum distillates to enable easy application. They create a glossy finish and are easy to apply, however have potential health risks as, depending on the brand, they contain a high level of solvents/ chemicals. They can crack and darken over time, and provide a surface coating only, similar to a plastic film). Resin based varnishes made from tree sap.

4. Pigment

There are two kinds of pigment: paint, which puts a non-transparent film over the wood surface, and stain, which colours the wood but leaves the grain exposed. Pigmented Paint will protect wood indefinitely; however it will cover the wood so characteristics are not displayed. Also, some paints in Indonesia contain lead. Environmentally speaking, paints are one of the worst pollutants in the world. The best solution is using timbers appropriately, i.e exterior grade timbers outside, and softer interior grade timbers inside and accept that timbers grey with age as do we.


The type of coating that you use should be determined by timber type, use, desired gloss level or appearance, and your own personal preferences. Of these, there are more ‘natural’ choices and more ‘sythetic’ solutions.  Decide on final look first, and then move on to available options.

Stay tuned for the next issue, where I will review wood finishing products available on the Indonesian market. Till next time!

Finish your wood with flair and care – part 2

The patina and character of naturally eroded reclaimed ulin boards weather by the sun and rain over many years

Let me just go on the record by saying that it is tricky trying to work out what to finish timber with, and this is particularly so for the novice and environmentally conscious. The more I look into it and think I understand, the wider the field expands! Wood finishing is a highly complicated and somewhat scientific field. What works for one species is not necessarily the best product for another. Sometimes the best decision is NOT to finish the wood, like this naturally eroded Ulin board on the left which has a beautiful patina on the surface from years of being walked on. It has been finished by body oils seeping out through the soles of people’s feet and into the wood.

But generally speaking, for outdoor applications in particular, finishing wood is a good idea. It helps provide protection against the sun’s harmful rays and the rain. Let’s start with a little guidance. Last time we looked at the different types of wood finishes available. Pretty much all types of wood finishes fit into 4 broad classes: oil, wax, varnish and pigments. This issue surveys some higher-quality products available in Indonesia that you won’t find in your local building supplies shop.

Beeswax Food Grade Wood Polish.jpg

Beeswax Food Grade Wood Polish

Manufacturer: Bio Colours
Made in: Indonesia (Yogyakarta)
Made from: Beeswax
More Info: www.bio-industries.com
Description: Food-grade wax suitable for finishing wood products that will come into contact with food.

Bio Polish Linseed Oil–Beeswax Polish.jpg


Bio Polish Linseed Oil–Beeswax Polish

Manufacturer: Bio Colours
Made in: Indonesia (Yogyakarta)
Made from: Linseed oil & beeswax
More Info: www.bio-industries.com
Description: A natural product free from solvents. Made from linseed oil and beeswax. Apply directly on wood surface.

Bona Oil 45 dry solids 45%.jpg


Bona Oil 45 (dry solids 45%)
Technical data

Manufacturer: Bona
Made in: Germany, Sweden, North America and China.
Made from: Esterified pine oil
Supplier: Little Tree Green Building Centre, Jl Sunset 1232, Bali
Description: For untreated wooden floors exposed to normal or heavy wear. Matt surface finish with lustre, longer drying time.
Made from: Pine oil base

Bona Oil 90 dry solids 90%.jpg


Bona Oil 90 (dry solids 90%)
Technical data

Manufacturer: Bona
Made in: Germany, Sweden, North America and China.
Made from: Pine oil base
Supplier: Little Tree Green Building Centre, Jl Sunset 1232, Bali
Description: For untreated wooden floors exposed to normal or heavy wear. Finish is a matt surface with a lustre.

Bona Deck Oil.jpg


Deck Oil
Technical data

Manufacturer: Bona
Made in: Germany, Sweden, North America and China.
Made from: Esterified pine and linseed oil
Supplier: Little Tree Green Building Centre, Jl Sunset 1232
Description: Bona Deck oil is a hardening & penetrating oil designed for protection of exterior wooden deckings. It is based on pine and linseed oil and contains additives that reduce the effects of UV-radiation on the wood.

Linseed Oil.jpg


Linseed Oil

Manufacturer: Repackaged by Little Tree
Made in: Imported product
Made from: Oil extracted from flaxseed
Description: Linseed oil is a natural finish oil which polymerizes into a solid form, dries quickly, and is used to produce linoleum flooring and paints, and for waterproofing wooden surfboards.

Tung Oil.jpg


Tung Oil

Manufacturer: Repackaged by Little Tree
Made in: Imported product
Made from: 100% pure cold pressed tung nut oil
Description: Tung oil is an extract from the seeds of the tung tree which when applied to paints and coatings polymerizes into a waterproof coating.


 

Exterior Decking Oil

Manufacturer: WOCA
Made in: Denmark
Made from: vegetable oil components
More info: Bima Radji, PT. Bhakti Artika Lestari balbali@indosat.net.id
Description: For new and newly cleaned wooden decks. Protects against UV-rays and ensures a hard-wearing and water-resistant surface.

 

Woca.png


Outdoor Wood Oil

Manufacturer: WOCA
Made in: Made in: Denmark
Made from: vegetable oil components
More info: Bima Radji, PT. Bhakti Artika Lestari balbali@indosat.net.id
Transparent primer for outdoor wood. Protects against UV-rays and ensures a hard-wearing and water-resistant surface.


Exterior Furniture Oil (Natural)

Manufacturer: WOCA
Made in: Denmark
Made from: vegetable oil components
More info: Bima Radji, PT. Bhakti Artika Lestari balbali@indosat.net.id
For new and newly cleaned exterior furniture. Protects against UV-rays and ensures a hard-wearing and water-repellent surface.