Wight Woodturners –Club Meeting – July 2013

Demonstration by Terry Smart of Chestnut Products


Finishing Techniques

Our July Club Meeting featured a professional demonstration by Terry Smart on various finishing techniques using commercially available products from Chestnut. Due to the problem of shipping solvent based products to the Island by carriers Terry brought a selection to the demo which members could buy. Many members took advantage of this and the tills were certainly ringing during the break. The full range available may be viewed via this link to Chestnuts.

Over the course of the evening Terry covered three aspects of finishing turned pieces, basic gloss finishing of bare wood, ebonizing with guilding, and buffing the finished item.

Basic Gloss Finishing

Terry emphasised the importance of clean tooling and a perfect sanded surface before any finish is applied. The effect of surface scratches or roughness will only be magnified by a shiny surface finish. Terry recommended the use of their NyWeb abrasive pads following sanding to improve the wood finish. The first finish to apply is a sanding sealer. Terry outlined the range of sanding sealers available, these being water based acrylics and those with sprit based solvents. Both types are available in liquid form or in spray cans. He did comment that the acrylic liquid form does have a one year shelf life, opened or un-opened! For data on sealers see here.

Terry demonstrated the application of cellulose sanding sealer which was formulated to be used straight from the can without any dilution, contrary to common practice. This is so that the magic “sanding agent” remains on the surface of the work to do its job and is not drawn into the wood by over dilution of solvent. The sealer was applied to the work on the lathe while rotating at about 1500 rpm. After the sealer was dry (5 mins) Terry cut this back with burnishing cream on the lathe at the same speed giving a “brightish” finish. On to this surface can be applied a wax finish. Again, Terry told us about the various types of waxes, which can be seen here. To finish the item he applied an even coat of Wood Wax 22 which needs to be polished and brought to a shine immediately after application. This wax is a mixture of bee’s wax and the hard carnauba vegetable wax in a rich solvent base to produce a paste type wax.

Terry told us that the more expensive Microcrystalline Wax is a popular alternative as it is much more resistant to moisture marks and finger prints. It should be applied sparingly and left for 20 mins before buffing. It can even be applied over the Wood Wax 22 for extra protection.

An alternative to a waxed finish is a lacquer which can be applied over the sanding sealer. For lacquers see here.

Terry gave us a brief overview of the various types and their uses and then demonstrated the Melamine lacquer. Don’t shake the can! and apply liberally up to a maximum of 3 coats allowing at least 20 mins to dry between coats. The lacquer may be brought to a high gloss with burnishing cream. The Melamine lacquer can take up to 3 weeks to fully harden. A final finish of Wood Wax 22 or Microcrystalline Wax may be added for extra lustre if desired. The acrylic lacquers may be used in a similar way, but do check the product specifications.

Just double click on any of the little pictures should you wish to see a more detailed version.

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Terry gets the demo under way This is good stuff!

Ebonizing with Gilding

There are various ways to make wood look black to simulate costly ebony but Terry uses Ebonizing Lacquer (see here).   This is a satin finish, water-based dye in an aerosol form which uses butane as a propellant. To produce a gilded effect on a small ash vase that was made earlier, Terry demonstrated the use of a “liming brush” to gently brush out the soft parts of the ash grain. This done, he then sprayed the vase with the ebonizing lacquer while it rotated in the lathe. This product is quick drying so several coats can be built up quite quickly to give an even covering.   Terry then used burnishing cream to slightly cut back the surface and to produce a sheen. Gilt Cream was then rubbed into the areas where the grain was previously brushed out to give emphasis to the grain patterns - (see here). Terry then removed the excess of gilt cream by applying Hard Wax Oil (see here) the solvent in which lifted the excess gilt. Alternatively, wood wax 22 will do the trick. The vase then just needed buffing to a shine.

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Terry brushes out the grain The finished vase The spray is applied at 1500 rpm


The last demonstration was of Chestnut’s Buffing System. (see here) This is a lathe mounted system with three 200mm buffing wheels. Terry showed us how to mount the mandrel in the chuck and then screwed on wheel A and charged it with the brown buffing compound. He demonstrated its use on a bowl which had been previously coated with cellulose sanding sealer. The bowl is buffed using the section of the wheel shown in the photo below being careful the wheel does not grab the bowl edge. When an all over sheen has been obtained wheel B is used with the diamond white compound to further refine the surface. Finally, Terry mounted the polishing wheel C, applied the hard wax stick to it and then polished the bowl. Alternatively, Wood Wax 22 or Microcrystalline wax can be applied to the bowl by hand and then buffed on wheel C.

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Buffing a bowl An attentive audience with
so much to take in!

Wight Woodturners would like to thank Chestnut Products and Terry Smart for their informative demonstration.


Details of all of the products are on the Chestnut website with some basic application information. Chestnut do not sell their wares directly from their website but through a range of Authorised Stockists. Each product also has a Safety Data Sheet. Terry assured us that the most toxic components had been removed from their products; even so many contain chemicals that do need to be treated with respect. Many are irritants and a few may cause allergic reactions in some people. Do be aware that vapour concentrations may build up to quite high levels in small workshops so pay attention to ventilation. Also, repeated contact with petroleum products can cause irreversible skin effects. So do be aware of the content of the Safety Data Sheets! To download all of Chestnut’s Safety Data Sheets follow this link here.


Note 1: The links in this report are valid at the time of writing but may change/disappear in time
Note 2: Wight Woodturners, while reporting on this demonstration by Chestnut products,
would like to point out that it has no commercial links with Chestnut Products and
makes no endorsement of any particular product nor its suitability in any application.


Peter Smart - July 2013

And don’t forget!

Next Club Meeting 13th August

Open Competition & our popular     Show-and-Tell

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