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#4464274 - 07/19/17 06:57 PM Wood finishing advice
dja4260 Offline

Registered: 05/16/11
Posts: 1016
Loc: Greenville, SC via Chicago, IL
I'm making a "reclaimed" wood headboard for our bed, for my wife. The wood is weathered in various sizes.

I plan on lightly sanding the pieces and would like to do something so I don't get splinters or destroy the sheets, while retaining the woods natural wear/color.

Polyurethane, Varnish, Shellac?

The end result should be similar to below.

Before anyone asks. This is what my wife wants. Happy wife, happy life.

Thanks in advance!

2013 Hyundai Elantra Gt Hatch 6 spd
2005 Toyota Highlander V6
1997 HD Sportster

#4464287 - 07/19/17 07:09 PM Re: Wood finishing advice [Re: dja4260]
spasm3 Offline

Registered: 05/30/10
Posts: 8641
Loc: North Carolina
Poly can yellow, since there is no heat, or real wear, I vote shellac. You could just coat it once, then sand down the raised spinters and coat it 2 more times.
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#4464288 - 07/19/17 07:10 PM Re: Wood finishing advice [Re: dja4260]
danez_yoda Offline

Registered: 07/18/09
Posts: 460
Loc: texas
Dewaxed shellac followed by a water based polyurethane.

The shellac will prevent the water based from raising the grain. Unless you want a rough finish the skip the shellac.

The difference between a water based poly and a oil based is that the oil based will turn yellow immediately and get yellower with time. Water based wont do that.

I recommend poly since it is tough. Shellac is nice since it is easy to repair but it is not as tough for applications that get rubbed on or brushed against frequently.

As with any finish, try it on some test pieces before you commit to make sure you like the result and to adjust the application technique.

With a round finish I would HIGHLY recommend spraying it.

Edited by danez_yoda (07/19/17 07:13 PM)

#4464335 - 07/19/17 08:26 PM Re: Wood finishing advice [Re: dja4260]
Killer223 Offline

Registered: 05/07/15
Posts: 389
Loc: AZ
to keep the weathered look, splinters are likely, try and get the ones closest to the pillow area, then as stated before, water based EXTERIOR poly, as it's a harder finish. then several coats, you can do the first two, sand with 150/220, then do 2 more coats.
i've done a few of these and this method works great.
as for sanding get sanding sponges. wear those gloves that look like they were dipped in blue gripper stuff. helps protect fingers from wayward wood shards.

spraying would be ok, but brushed with a 3" SOFT brush, (purdy) brushed with the grain.

Edited by Killer223 (07/19/17 08:27 PM)
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#4464340 - 07/19/17 08:31 PM Re: Wood finishing advice [Re: dja4260]
sleddriver Offline

Registered: 02/06/10
Posts: 4597
Loc: Central Texas
1. What species is it?
2. How "weathered"?
3. How dry is it?

Give it a good sanding with 220g, only with the grain due to it being 'reclaimed'. Bring indoors, put it under the bed for about 2 weeks with some sort of spacers to lift it off the floor. It needs to 'adapt' to indoor conditions. Could take longer depending on how wet it is, local humidity, indoor house humidity, etc.

Solvent based PU will stink for weeks indoors until fully cured. Water-base will raise the grain but won't stink. Shellac won't stink at all indoors, just be sure to finish ALL SIDES & ENDS with whatever finish you decide.

To knock-the-shine off any finish, you'll have to lightly sand after the final coat.

I'd suggest a coat or two of thinned shellac on all surfaces after an initial sanding and drying indoors. This will seal in any 'funk/mold/mildew' in the wood and provide a good base for the top coats.
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#4464635 - 07/20/17 08:01 AM Re: Wood finishing advice [Re: sleddriver]
krismoriah72 Offline

Registered: 02/16/09
Posts: 1515
Loc: wv
Most of the furniture and most of my house is old is what we did.

#4464675 - 07/20/17 08:47 AM Re: Wood finishing advice [Re: dja4260]
dave123 Offline

Registered: 01/13/09
Posts: 2313
Loc: wi
Two coats 0to5 degree conversation varnish or 2k poly with a 25to 50% reduction.

#4464768 - 07/20/17 10:41 AM Re: Wood finishing advice [Re: dave123]
doitmyself Offline

Registered: 06/03/02
Posts: 6213
Loc: MI
Originally Posted By: dave123
Two coats 0to5 degree conversation varnish or 2k poly with a 25to 50% reduction.

LOL, had to investigate that conversation varnish. Guess what? It exists!

VarnishPlus is a water-based pre-catalyzed conversation varnish that meets or exceeds all USA standards for durability and chemical resistance as set forth by the Furniture, Kitchen Cabinet and Millwork Association. A beautiful, professional grade topcoat, VarnishPlus is the superior choice for finishing projects where top quality is important