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Natural Finishes

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Thread transferred from Previous Forum - Original Post started by Kev

Original Post:

There seems to be this push for more natural finishes lately. I attribute this mostly to some of the woodworking bigs leaning this way for "health" reasons.

My question is, considering how good current PPE options are, do these "non-natural" finishes really pose a health risk and does that out weigh good protection for the furniture that we're creating?

Follow Up Posts:

1)  To be honest, when I find something on a menu that I like, I don’t venture too far from that. A couple of years ago, a bunch of you guys convinced me that ARS was finishers heaven and I locked in. Then Chet opened my eyes to shellac and It broadened my horizons. Then Chet and others tell me how cool it is to top coat with GF HP, especially when blowing it on. Having said that, I have the three above options as experience and like sheep, I just follow the crowd.
Are the “ woodworking bigs” living too close to the west coast or is this really a concern? I guess I just reverted back to your original question and did’t realize it.

2)  I agree with Coop, I will use what I know. I guess if your goal is making money via commissions or content, then you need to appeal to the masses. By that so many people are concerned about VOC's and other things that may or may not be a risk.

3)  I think the whole industry of finishes are heading in a direction of less VOC's.  House paint, car paint, woodworking finishes, I just think it is a way things are headed and it's not just a California thing.  If the content producers do a proper job of evaluating the healthier options it is a good thing and I take note.  But if they just slap it on and saying look at me I am being healthy, even though down the road the finish looks like poo and they don't report back on the failure, well that is of no service to me.

Having said that I think you need to come up with a finish kit that serves you well, but for me I still want to keep it as simple as possible because in reality that is my least favorite part of the hobby.  If I had someone to do the finish for me I would be happier then pigs in mud.  Here is my basic kit - Shellac on some items like small boxes and things of that nature that aren't in high use i'll us some shellac.  ARS on things like nicer furniture pieces that I want to build a nice warm film finish on.  Species like walnut that are going to lighten over time I will put a coat of garnet shellac or even ARS to bring the grain out and keep the rich color and then spray with GF High Performance or Endro Var for the protection.  I usually formulate a finish plan while I am working on the project... and then I probably change my mind.

4)  I'll trade you my sanding for your finishing.. ;)

5)  Hey, I’ll take you up on that. I’ve got me a new green accented sander that connects to a green accented vac that I love using. You pay the freight?


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