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Wood Sealers and basswood

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  • Wood Sealers and basswood

    Before I forget, wanted to thank folks for participating in the thread I started about sanding basswood. The other thread was about the sanding itself. This is sort of a follow on to that as I am interested in what people think I should use as wood sealer between sanding cycles.

    Ian Norbury sands the pure T heck out of his carvings working up through the various grits. He uses Ronseal which is available in the UK where he is. Probably isn't anything particularly exciting about that product...its what he has available to him over there.

    I have always ended up able to use edged tools to put the finishing touches on carvings as my carvings have always been animal carvings that require knife or gouge work to texture in the animal's coat. So even if I have done some sanding, the last things hitting my carvings are knives and gouges. However I am about to do some carvings that will end up with a smooth surface. Will probably stain one or two of them as I have been experimenting with stain lately.

    So I am now interested in understanding what folks think I should use between the sanding cycles.

    Reading posts and blogs by folks that are sanding and filing they appear to be sanding, then sealing then cutting down whatever raised grain the sealer brings up between sanding runs..... then sanding and repeating the whole cycle.

    I have seen posts from members here that intend using...maybe a clear lacquer like Deft as a sealer then sanding again, then applying another coat of Deft lacquer. People that do sand or file talk about some grain coming up all the time and cutting it down as part of each cycle.

    The stain that I will likely end up using will be oil based. So I am guessing that if I am using something other than Deft lacquer that it would be oil based as well.

    Looking for suggestions or recommendations for what to use between sanding runs......
    - sanding sealer
    - Deft satin lacquer
    - something like the KT Sealer I use as prep for acrylic paint
    - something else

    Whatever i use, it appears to be a given that sanding plus a sealer will raise the grain some. Seems to me that people that do this a good deal plan on the grain coming up a bit as part of the process and they cut it back each time. From what I gather if you are doing this the right way, as you progress through cycles, the grain will come up less with each cycle.

    Thanks as always

  • #2
    Re: Wood Sealers and basswood

    The condition that you describe (raising of grain) is related to the density of the wood, the depth and irregularity of carving into it, the substance used to seal it, and what is the final objective. A silky smooth painted surface is a very different objective that the simulated texture of feathers or fur.
    I usually use a water-based sealer to control the selective application of stain on my carvings. Normally I don't remove the sealer or stain by sanding or further carving, but I have in a few cases where the effect was not what I wanted.


    • #3
      Re: Wood Sealers and basswood

      I decided that the really "froggy" parts of my Frog Pie carving in YC needed to be glossy smooth = skin-like. All the rest of it was textured with a #5 sweep chipped surface.

      So I sanded the smooth sections up to 320 to get the shape. Then 2 coats of Minwax Tung Oil Protective Finish, a week apart. Put it away for 2 weeks to get a hard surface. I can buy BullDog brand steel wool. The coarse SW is not made of round fibers, they are flat.
      Rubbing with that, the SW acts like a million chisels to shear off the raised grain. At the same time, it doesn't cut into the finish, much at all. The last thing I ever wanted to do was to shred it all up again with any grit size of any sandpaper.
      Another coat of finish, a week, a rub for the spots I missed and then the final finish coat.
      Brian T


      • #4
        Re: Wood Sealers and basswood

        You're almost sure to raise the grain with any water-based sealer or finish, and it can be dramatic with some. That's not a problem if you know it's coming, but with a carving that can't be sanded, like carved fur and other details, about all you can do is take a Dremel with a natural bristle wheel and try to minimize the effect. I use an oil-based conditioner to minimize the raised grain, and to minimize blotchy spots which are sure to occur when staining basswood. And you're dealing with more than blotchy spots when staining most carving woods. The bigger problem is end-grain darkening, which can end up more pronounced if you apply an oil finish. Mike


        • #5
          Re: Wood Sealers and basswood

          I would love to watch the image...