Academy Notes and Tips
the Shopsmith Woodworking Academy
Begin by thoroughly coating the project with satin-finish synthetic and allow it to dry for at least a day. Then, coat it a second time and let it sit for 15-30 minutes...until the finish is tacky to the touch.
Saturate a lint-free cloth with the synthetic and begin to rub the project surface. When the rag itself gets tacky, sprinkle on more finish. Continue until the surface of the project takes on a warm glow and a smooth appearance. Let it dry for a day, then polish with a good wax.
The advantage of these finishes is that they can be applied to any surface, no matter how rough, as long as that surface is dry and free of all grease or oil. You can even imbed objects in these finishes -- coins -- cards -- documents -- mementos -- but once again, these objects must be dry and clean. As the catalytic finish is poured on, it will flow into all cracks and surface imperfections, surround and cover objects to be imbedded, then level itself out and dry to a crystal-clear, high-gloss, glass-like smoothness.
Use these catalytic finishes in a well ventilated room. Often, the fumes given off as they dry are highly toxic. Mix only as much as you need precisely according to the directions on he container and pour it over the project immediately. The surface to be covered should be level and facing up. If there are several surfaces to be covered, do just one at a time. Often, a project may have to be tilted this way and that to get the finish to spread out, but it should always be returned to level to allow it to dry.
From time-to-time, bubbles will appear in the finish as you pour. Before the finish hardens, lightly blow across the surface.This will cause the bubbles to rise to the surface.
Remember that catalytic finishes harden quickly and need no second coats or exhaustive rubbing after they set up. Rubbing or sanding will, in fact, cloud them. Wax may slightly improve their appearance, but this is seldom necessary.
Caring for a Synthetic
A badly scratched or damaged finish can be repaired by simply sanding down the scratch or blemish with 5/0 garnet sandpaper and applying a new coat on top of the old. Be careful to use the same type of finish you originally applied. If you want to switch finishes, it's advisable to take the project down to the raw wood and start over.
Coming up in the May/June issue -- PART FIVE -- Refinishing