EMAIL FROM Brian 3rd April 2023

To make it easier I have answer Brians email (in black), in line below (in blue).

Hi Neil, I have contacted you in the past by phone, and want to follow up with some questions. I have been turning wood for 20 years and run classes in woodturning as well. I have always used EEE and Glow, and since reading your book and using some of your other products I want to increase the quality of the finish on my products so hence the series of questions.

  1. Sometimes I need to spruce up articles that have been sitting around for a while and the finish has become dull. What do you recommend to use and what method? Is a coat of Shellawax and then swansdown mop the best way?
    Depends on what it is:
    For furniture and non turned articles:

    Polish Reviver
    and if needed follow up with Traditional Wax.For turned items:
    Traditional Wax and Swansdown Mop. Apply the wax to piece and buff with mop on a grinder or on the lathe as per info on Traditional Wax page. Once you have done a couple of pieces you may be able to use just the mop for a couple more items without the wax as the mop gets slightly impregnated with the wax.
    For both the above be aware that the wax can be damaged more easily than the Shellawax or Aussie Oil, or any other surface coating that has been applied.
  2. Burls- is it best to use the liquid Shellawax as it is desirable not to clog the crevices with a polishing agent. How would you treat the inside of the crevices- use Danish oil?
    EEE then brush any of the excess wax out of, or down into, the crevices. Alternatively blow out crevices with compressed air if you have it. Probably better to use Aussie Oil on a burl as what goes in the crevices won’t show like Shellawax. It will give the same high finish that Shellawax, Glow, etc. will. You can use air to force it deeper into crevices for more protection.
  3. When making natural edge bowls/vases it is difficult to apply friction equally all over to the article due to their shape. Would it then be better to apply a right angle mounted drill mop to apply friction (whilst the lathe is stationary)
    For natural edge you can apply any of the friction polishes by running as fast as it is safe to. On a bowl Polish the outside before working on the inside as far as possible up towards the top, with a thick wad of cloth and you should remain safe without any bruises or broken knuckles.
    Turn and sand the inside a stop lathe and apply shellawax or Aussie Oil to the surface then use a thick wad of material on the outside and move it to mirror the movement of the cloth doing the polishing on the inside. This will keep you safe as it is all but impossible to get caught in the natural edge especially if your running at speed.
    The drill mop could cause more damage than doing it as described above. I have done natural edge bowls up to 600+mm, square turned and even banana bowls this way without a problem. You just have to bite the bullet and do it and when you do you will say “Huh that wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I thought it would be.” Not saying it isn’t a bit scary first time but you soon find out what the (your) limitations are.
  4. When polishing fine finials do you recommend Aussie oil, rather than Shellawax?
    Both will do the same job however you will need to use a pincer grip with the application cloth to stop from applying too much force on the piece.
  5. In what situations would you use cellulose sealer?
    Never use it myself. Ideal as a first cheap coat on furniture as it’s easier to sand flat and doesn’t waste the top coat of lacquer which will be much harder to sand if it goes wrong. I don’t recommend using it under our finishes as it may well move a different rate to the top coat and cause crazing in the finish, down the track. 
  6. After ebonising, what recommended polishing system is recommended?
    If it’s for turned work any of the friction polishes, but not until it is completely dry as the finishes are all shellac based and may bloom if there is any water still in the wood.
  7. I often get streaks after using Shellawax on large bowls- does this mean the Shellawax has become too dry before applying friction? Or would it be better to use the Shellawax cream?
    Large bowls are better done using a mix of Shellawax and Shellawax Cream (or Glow and Cream) put a little cream into a small class, or plastic (not metal) container and add about twice as much Shellawax or Glow and mix them together. This will act as a retarder for the Shellawax and allow it to stay on the surface a bit longer giving time to burn it into the wood as it should be.
    On large bowls and platters, the Cream may dry before you get a chance to work it in properly so adding the Shellawax or Glow will help it to do it’s job.
    On deep bowls most of the wall area is end grain and the Shellawax or Glow may soak into that end grain so adding some cream as above will help it to sit on the surface.
    DO NOT add cream or anything else to Aussie Oil.
  8. I think I understand that when applying heat with the rag after the  Shellawax liquid, that the rag has to be used in the same position to complete the polishing, otherwise dried parts on the rag can leave lines on the article. Is this correct? And maybe that is why I’m getting streaks as per above?
    You hit the nail right on the head there. This is also an indication that you have applied too much of the friction polish and applies to Shellawax, Cream, Glow and Aussie Oil although the oil is a little more forgiving than the others and the cream is the worst offender.
    Always make sure the friction polishes and EEE are applied in a reasonably quick and even coat with the lathe stopped and burnt into the wood with the same piece of the application cloth that has the polish on it.
    For a small 100mm bowl about you need enough friction polish to cover a thumbnail. A little less for hard close-grained wood, or a little more for soft open-grained wood better to have too little than too much.
  9. Do you offer polishing courses?
    Unfortunately not. You’re about 28 years late for the last class. 

Thanks for you anticipated help Neil, but I do not need and urgent reply. If you would rather call me to discuss that is fine with me.

Regards, Brian

Hope all or at least some, of the above is of help and hasn’t made your brain explode.

Cheers – Neil

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