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Thread: Finishing Camphor Wood

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Nanaimo BC Canada
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    27

    Question Finishing Camphor Wood

    I am turning a camphor burl to make a box.
    The scent from the wood is quite attractive, but could be too much if the box is kept in a small room. I intend to seal and polish the exterior. I'll leave the interior unsealed so the scent is captured inside the box.

    She who must be obeyed mandated that the box should retain its current very attractive, very pale appearance which includes gold with shades of pink.

    Using offcuts of camphor, I have trialed shellac (2 lb cut) and Lee Valley Clear Gel finish as sealers. Both darkened the wood and left it less distinctive.

    I was wondering about just waxing directly on the wood.


    Any suggestions? Any one done this before?

  2. #2
    Just wax will work, the finish will not be durable though.
    A good lacquer should work for this project. Deft is pretty good, Belen's is better IMHO.
    _______________________________________
    When failure is not an option
    Mediocre is assured.

  3. #3
    Lacquer...Spray Can...Rustoleum...Clear...Exotic Lacquer Scent. (hic!)
    ~john
    "There's nothing wrong with Quiet" ` Jeremiah Johnson

    I live in Steve Schlumpf's basement...under the stairs

  4. #4
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    Jun 2010
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    abq., nm
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    clear coat

    I love shellac for it's smell, it's amber qualities, the sweet smell, and it's go with everything and of course, the delicious smell...
    Use lacquer or a poly. I usually go with a semi-gloss, so you can flatten it out as much as you want with steel wool. Some here will argue, but it is not as sniffable as shellac!
    mj

  5. #5
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    Sep 2009
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    Enid, Oklahoma
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    I agree with the spray lacquer boys... It should change the color less than any of the other options.

  6. #6
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    Deft or Minwax rattle can lacquer will so the job.
    Bernie

    Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.

    To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funnybone.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    Vestal, NY
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Hart View Post
    Lacquer...Spray Can...Rustoleum...Clear...Exotic Lacquer Scent. (hic!)
    There's a 12-step program for that -

    spray (pause) spray (pause) spray (pause)
    spray (pause) spray (pause) spray (pause)
    spray (pause) spray (pause) spray (pause)
    spray (pause) spray (pause) spray

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Childress, Texas, USA
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    1,925
    I use Water-white, Pre-Catalyzed Lacquer, that I spray with a spraygun. Pre-cat is a high-build lacquer that you're not supposed to thin. I thin it 20%, and then add 3/4 oz Retarder per one-piint cup. It changes color less than anything I've ever used.
    Allen
    The good Lord didn't create anything without a purpose, but mosquitoes come close.
    And.... I'm located just 1,075 miles SW of Steve Schlumpf.

  9. #9

    Cool Talk about a 'co-inkey-dence'

    I've been working with camphor burl a lot lately. Although I have a more extensive background in conventional woodworking, I'm fairly new to turning. Wanting to get past pen making or spindle turning, I visited a 'seasoned' bowl turner today for instructions, and guess what I took with me for my first bowl?...camphor burl.

    I understand your objective. After the camphor is worked and sanded, it has a very fair (almost bleached) and muted quality. The problem that I have encountered is that, although technically a hard wood, camphor is very porous and drinks up whatever you put on it. I have tried to curtail the darkening but to no avail. The only up-shot to it all is that with the darkening, the burl is accentuated. The pink(ish) highlights go darker and into a deeper rose color (not necessarily an up-shot but it does add to the contrast of the finished piece.) I would like to get something at least in-between as well.

    Below are some photos of my first bowl...turned today (yes...yes, the Galleries are banging on my door...but they can't have it...I know what I've got). The instructor suggested and applied a Watco-type finish (BLO, tung oil, accelerator, etc). I have also included a photo of a pseudo book match panel, a chunk of burl which had been Anchor Sealed (behind and propping up the panel), and the bowl. The panel was micro sanded and then straight to Liberon Bison wax. The tones are the exact same. The waxed panel has more shine to it but darkened to the same value.

    If you are successful in retaining the lighter tones, please post your method. In the meanwhile I'm going to try a few already suggested here and if I stumble across a solution, I'll do the same.

    Lastly, the camphor I'm working with (from Burma) has more of a PineSol aroma to it. My instructor has worked with local camphor and advised that had more of a Vic's Vapor Rub 'bent' to it (may seem a small distinction, but not really, if you think about it). I'm curious as to your camphor, where's it is from and about it's aroma qualities? I'm usually a stickler regarding a dust mask, but when I'm working with the camphor, it's kind of a treat to go 'au natural,' if you know what I mean.
    Sierra Madre Sawing and Milling
    Sierra Madre, California

  10. #10

    Cool OK, here are the photos...

    ...don't know why they didn't attach above.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Sierra Madre Sawing and Milling
    Sierra Madre, California

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Enid, Oklahoma
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    Nicely done, Damon. That's a heck of a first bowl... Exotic burl, no tool marks, pleasing form...

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Nanaimo BC Canada
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    Thanks everybody

    Firstly, I agree with David, that is a beautiful piece of work, Damon. Thanks for sharing it with us. I too am a newbie at turning and appreciate your achievement.

    The concensus seems to be in favour of lacquer, which is something I haven't used yet. I'll go shopping locally and see if I can find any of the recommended brands. There aren't many specialty stores here on Vancouver Island, so it may take a while.


    I promise to follow up with photos and comments when the job is done.
    Thanks again for your advice.. Cheers...
    John

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    McDonough, GA (near Atlanta)
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    338

    Krylon Clear Acrylic at Walmart

    A lot of the turners in our area have started to use the Krylon spray acrylic that you can buy at Walmart for about $3 per can. You can get it in either matte or gloss finish and it dries in about 15 minutes. It's also good for spraying over alcohol based dyes and markers. It gives you a very hard clear finish. With a buffing wheel (and the gloss version), you can also get a very good high gloss look.

    Steve

  14. #14

    Cool Krylon for pens ???

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Mellott View Post
    A lot of the turners in our area have started to use the Krylon spray acrylic...it gives you a very hard clear finish. With a buffing wheel (and the gloss version), you can also get a very good high gloss look.

    Steve
    Do you think the Krylon would work for pens?

    I'm tiring of trying to achieve consistent (good) results from CA.
    Sierra Madre Sawing and Milling
    Sierra Madre, California

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