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Thread: Best finish for DIY wood camera large format: stain and clear clear coat on wooden LF

  1. #1

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    Best finish for DIY wood camera large format: stain and clear clear coat on wooden LF

    Ever find some materials that you just love working with?
    Here are mine, selected for joy of handling in my work, as follows:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    1. Sherwin-Williams BAC Wiping stain, especially colors that use the Chestnut Base (more of a neutral walnut brown), which is nice as a straight color but also used to make other colors that include my fav Traditional Cherry No. 3214 (warmer and tastefully, well, cherry). These just flow on so smoothly, they are a pleasure to apply! Personally, and this is extreme subtlety, I find that that a quart of cherry 3214, the stuff they mix in-store, seems to handle a wee bit better than the factory pre-mix — but that could be the free Keurig coffee while waiting

    2. Deft Spray Lacquer in aerosol can. This is a “nitro” (nitrocellulose) clear finish also favored by guitar and mandolin makers, etc. Spray in thin coats, recoat in 30 mins. Starts looking amazing on fourth coat. Starts to dry before your eyes! Sanding between coats NOT required, but I lightly sand with superfine sandpaper (or steel wool 000-0000) after first coat. Just wipe after sanding with dry soft cloth - the next coat will melt and remaining dust back into the finish. Available in gloss, semi-gloss, and satin. Can later be polished if you are a fanatic.

    3. Minwax Pre-Stain. Usually not needed for hardwoods like oak but if you have a more absorbent wood, Pre-Stain applied prior to stain will lessen absorption of stain into the wood and greatly help to give an even coverage of stain. Especially useful if you use a dark stain on softwood like pine or spruce. Stain before this stuff dries on the wood!

    The stain and lacquer also happen smell yummy as only a woodworker can appreciate, but I wear a 3M respirator mask with two 3M (NIOSH) vapor cartridges (US$39) to keep from inhaling spray and vapors. Most places stock Medium in the masks, but a Large fits me better: here is the painter version at Homey Depot 3M-Large-Paint-Project-Respirator-Mask

    Knock yourself out and please share your favs!

    Paul Chaplo

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    Last edited by pchaplo; 15-May-2018 at 13:12.
    Dallas Texas HABS / HAER / HALS Photography
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  2. #2

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    Re: Best finish for DIY wood camera large format: stain and clear clear coat on woode

    Have an older camera refinished with stain and then Tung Oil. Looks very nice and not so shiny.
    "My forumla for successful printing remains ordinary chemicals, an ordinary enlarger, music, a bottle of scotch - and stubbornness." W. Eugene Smith

  3. #3

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    Re: Best finish for DIY wood camera large format: stain and clear clear coat on woode

    Another vote for tung oil.

  4. #4

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    Re: Best finish for DIY wood camera large format: stain and clear clear coat on woode

    My own experience with finishing wood is that the nomenclature can get in the way. For those who really know what they are doing, this won't be an issue, but it was for me. For example, I found that one company's 'tung oil' was not actually tung oil, yet the stuff sold by another was.

    It's been a couple of years, but I checked something out of the library, and I'm 95% certain it was Understanding Wood Finishing by Bob Flexner. I was making a wooden telescope tube, and wanted something fairly specific for the finish. I would have absolutely made the wrong choice if I had not read this book.

  5. #5

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    Re: Best finish for DIY wood camera large format: stain and clear clear coat on woode

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Kinzer View Post
    My own experience with finishing wood is that the nomenclature can get in the way. For those who really know what they are doing, this won't be an issue, but it was for me. For example, I found that one company's 'tung oil' was not actually tung oil, yet the stuff sold by another was.

    It's been a couple of years, but I checked something out of the library, and I'm 95% certain it was Understanding Wood Finishing by Bob Flexner. I was making a wooden telescope tube, and wanted something fairly specific for the finish. I would have absolutely made the wrong choice if I had not read this book.
    You do need to check to make sure what you are using. Unfortunately too many things are not labeled properly. You buy a product and discover it isn't what it says. Just look at Olive Oil. Many Extra Virgin oils are blends and not pure. Pays to check things out, finish or oils or girlfriends/boyfriends to make sure what you have is the real deal.
    "My forumla for successful printing remains ordinary chemicals, an ordinary enlarger, music, a bottle of scotch - and stubbornness." W. Eugene Smith

  6. #6
    Jac@stafford.net's Avatar
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    Re: Best finish for DIY wood camera large format: stain and clear clear coat on woode

    Aw, what ever happened to that old Navy Surplus grey leaded paint?

  7. #7

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    Re: Best finish for DIY wood camera large format: stain and clear clear coat on woode

    Quote Originally Posted by Jac@stafford.net View Post
    Aw, what ever happened to that old Navy Surplus grey leaded paint?
    Is that the stuff Ansco used so much of?
    Real cameras are measured in inches...
    Not pixels.

    www.photocollective.org

  8. #8
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Best finish for DIY wood camera large format: stain and clear clear coat on woode

    Pure Tung Oil would be useless. It's the thickness of molasses and won't dry. The driers have to be incorporated into a second vehicle like urethane or phenolic resin. Good brands include Zar (UGL) Wipe-On Tung Oil and Daly's various liquid finishes, which vary in proportion. I'm not familiar with East Coast brands, but Minwax is cheap home center junk - very few carrots in the soup. Their pre-stain conditioner is one of the few products I like - useful on blotchy woods like pine. It should be used wet on wet - wiped down but not allowed to dry before applying stain. Open-pored hardwoods like red oak should have a
    grain filler or sanding sealer instead, which is allowed to dry.
    Last edited by Drew Wiley; 22-May-2018 at 14:39.

  9. #9

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    Re: Best finish for DIY wood camera large format: stain and clear clear coat on woode

    I note that the title of this thread is best finish for a DIY wood camera. Just curious, but I wonder why people keep mentioning spruce and pine, which are just about the worst woods you could choose for camera building.

    Alan

  10. #10
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Best finish for DIY wood camera large format: stain and clear clear coat on woode

    Alan - some hardwoods go blotchy with dye stains just like pine does, so the analogy applies. Alder would be one of them, which otherwise machines nicely like cherry, and can be stained to look almost identical, but is more economical.

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