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Finishes

A place to discuss tenkara nets. Techniques for making it, woods used, designs, etc.

Finishes

Postby Daniel @ Tenkara USA » Thu Jul 15, 2010 12:48 am

I have been reading on finishes for a while, and got some great input from members on this forum. I'd like a finish that is readily available, not too hard to apply, provides great waterproofing and resistance to the wood, yet enhances its natural features while keeping it natural. Here's a quick reference guide: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wood_finishing

Stephen suggested Tung Oil,
Researching it more, it indeed seems to be a very good finish for the nets. It's relatively "natural", that is, not synthetic, and I like that. It rubs in well and penetrates the wood well too, initial testing on a piece of manzanita has given me great impressions.
Sources online say:
"Tung oil may be a better choice for wood products that are often in contact with human hands" (http://www.ehow.com/about_5938734_watco ... z0tja9U7c7) - GOOD.
"provides a tough, flexible and highly water-resistant coating" ;
"resists marring, penetrates well, is elastic and unlikely to check. Tung oil builds quickly, consolidates the wood surface and builds a transparent matte finish";
"In recent years, those who appreciate the warm richness of beautiful wood have begun to realize what the ancient Chinese knew; when turned into a finishing product, Tung Oil is the finest natural wood finish in existence and has yet to be duplicated synthetically!"
Polymerized Tung oil as a penetrating oil allows wood to continue its aging process and to develop its patina. The wood's rich color and grain are enhanced by the natural ambering (coloring) of Polymerized Tung oil over time. Any sign of wear disappears when a thin "maintenance" coat of oil is rubbed in. The maintenance coats, rather than cause a build-up, actually improve the patina as they protect and preserve the wood." (http://www.mastergardenproducts.com/tungoil.htm

The other finish I have been most intrigued by and researching is Nitrocellulose lacquer.
Nitrocellulose lacquer is widely used for finishing guitars. It's not nearly as commonly found as Tung oil, but it may be found with some research. The main benefits are its water resistance, protection, and if desired it has a glossier finish (Tung oil doesn't seem to offer much of a "shield", but for a net one should plan on some 7-10 coats and that should be good). It also dries more quickly. But, it can also be more prone to cracking. In sum, I may test this one out if I get my hands on it, but my bet right now is on Tung oil.
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Re: Finishes

Postby rsetina » Mon Jul 19, 2010 3:45 pm

I stopped by Rockler Woodworking this afternoon and showed them the tamo I'm making. I asked the salesman what finish would be best for the purpose and he also suggested tung oil. I was told it crystalizes and dries to a hard finish. I think we have a confirmation on what to use. Can't wait for the nets to come in.
Rick

テンカラ。小さなストリームのシンプルさ。
My Tenkara Rods:
13' Ayu, 12' Yamame, 11' with a conversion handle, and an Ito.

My Wife's Tenkara Rods:
12' Ebisu and 13.5' Amago, 12' Iwana with a conversion handle, and an Ito.
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Re: Finishes

Postby Daniel @ Tenkara USA » Mon Jul 19, 2010 7:47 pm

I have applied a few coats of tung oil on one of the nets. It works like a charm, and seems to have all the characteristics I'd like for a finish (mentioned on the first entry here).
I stopped at the Woodcraft store this weekend, and actually bought some nitrocellulose type of finish. It's really not worth the trouble. It changed the color of the wood just a little, doesn't rub as well as tung oil, and it's a bit stickier. Plus it could crack later on and is harder to refinish/touch up.

VERDICT: TUNG OIL!

As Stephen suggested, a nice first coat followed by some good rubbing with the hands to work it into the wood, and successive coats thereafter until desired gloss/protection. I think between 8-10 may be ideal for most woods.
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Re: Finishes

Postby rsetina » Mon Jul 19, 2010 8:24 pm

8 - 10 coats is alot of work, but it will be worth the time and effort. I can't wait for September. We'll have lots to talk about and share.
Rick

テンカラ。小さなストリームのシンプルさ。
My Tenkara Rods:
13' Ayu, 12' Yamame, 11' with a conversion handle, and an Ito.

My Wife's Tenkara Rods:
12' Ebisu and 13.5' Amago, 12' Iwana with a conversion handle, and an Ito.
rsetina
 
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Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2009 7:55 pm
Location: La Crescenta, CA

Tung and Cashew oil

Postby Daniel @ Tenkara USA » Mon Aug 02, 2010 6:45 pm

So, I think a good number of coats of tung oil (finish) ended up being about 7 or so for most nets. I think this will vary according to people's tastes and application too.

I was doing more research on cashew oil, and came across this forum discussing use of cashew oil for guitars/musical instruments, pretty relevant to our discussions too: http://www.delcamp.us/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=43086. '

Of particular interest is the fact that they mention several Japanese guitar makers use them, and also that it's seen as a substitute for the "Urushii", a type of lacquer which (the natural form) is actually used in the making of the bamboo tenkara rods. And, coincindentally someone in the form says: "A friend showed me a fishing rod he had made and varnished with Cashew . Ten years of use in the sun or snow , still flawless." Interesting discussion.

Stephen,
Perhaps you saw that thread too. Who is the supplier that has cashew oil available in the US? Did he only sell very large quantities?


I'm particularly interested, especially as it may give the warmer color I was hoping for, which would enhance the Jeffrey pine wood I'm using, and may be more durable. I suspect the tenkara net I bought in Japan for using has a cashew oil finish indeed, it's a bit warmer in color and pretty hard too.
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Re: Finishes

Postby Stephen McGowen » Mon Aug 02, 2010 9:20 pm

Daniel I sent you a PM....... I suspect that the "cashew oil" finish used in Japan might be mostly tung oil, especially since the makers talk of thinning down the initial coats. Tung oil in its pure form is quite viscous. What we purchase here is a tung oil preparation for lazy Americans. Look into Ace Hardware brand Spar Varnish....it is mostly tung oil and dries slowly ( 2 days) to a high gloss. Sounds like what the tamo sites complained about ! It has a slight amber tone that increases with each coat. Sanding between coats is required ( again, like the tamo makers complaints). You can stain the wood before you apply finish. You can also add stain to the tung oil preparation and brush that on ( and that appears to be what the tamo sites document). The MinWax system is good and readily available. Their stains mix with any tung oil prep ( NOT the water based stains MinWax makes). If you are going to mix use only artist's quality turpentine to thin. Buy it at an art store. The paint store turp is not as refined. Use regular paint thinner only for clean-up.
I suspect we have a lost in translation event here. I've seen "cashew" on the cans on the tamo sites and it might be there for political reasons as Tung oil has long been associated with the Chinese...don't know..... but it could be something as silly as that.
I was taught that a thin finish was better than a thick one. I have musical instruments that have traveled and been on stages and in bars all over and their thin finish has held up well for 25 years.
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Re: Finishes

Postby Daniel @ Tenkara USA » Mon Aug 02, 2010 9:30 pm

Many thanks for all the insights, Stephen. I do like the look and feel of tung oil, and it's readily available. I think I should stop right there and experiment with your suggestions. I really appreciate the input on staining and mixing with stains. I have a couple of new nets and would like a bit of extra color to these, so your tips will come in very handy.
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Re: Finishes

Postby Stephen McGowen » Sun Aug 15, 2010 4:01 pm

Had breakfast this AM with an old friend who happens to be a cabinetmaker. We chated about the latest finishes and stains and he recommended a staining agent that he really loves because of its diversity. It is a dye stain and is made by Heritage Finishes. You mix a few drops with your chosen finish , tung oil etc, and it provides a transparent coloring that allows the wood grain to reveal itself with complete transparency. You get darker colors by using more coats...sounds like what the tamo makers on the posted sites are doing. You mix and match the dyes to get a chosen color and my buddy says there are charts and all that explain their system
I've been using the same old system for the last thirty years and the stains I use are a mix of pigment and dye for coloration. More all purpose, but antiquated compared to whats available now.
I've been experimenting with building up a body of 5 coats of Tung oil and when completely dry, using one coat of spar varnish over all. Very shiny and quite hard after it dries completely. Spar varnish must be sanded between coats and it is hard to get all the nooks and crannies on the tamos I've been making. The final single coat of spar varnish requires only drying.
Of course, one should experiment with stains and finishes on scrap wood of the same variety as your tamo.
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Re: Finishes

Postby tnitz » Wed Aug 18, 2010 1:07 pm

I may very well be incorrect, but I suspect the "cashew" referred to is a type of lacquer, most commonly used today to finish wooden scabbords for japanese swords. There is a restorer in Portland, Oregon, who sells small quantities - you can find him online.

I haven't used tung oil for quite some time, but have used a marine-grade "teak" finishing oil on various softwoods and liked it's build and durability. I believe it was a Watkins product, but am unsure.

The key is simply to keep the finish solid through the life of the frame. I'm not sure it much matters beyond that.
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Re: Finishes

Postby Daniel @ Tenkara USA » Wed Aug 18, 2010 5:43 pm

Hi Tnitz,
Thanks for posting that, and welcome to the forum.
Do you know who carries the cashew oil, specifically? Stephen and I have done some research on it, but haven't found anyone who would sell small quantities so far. Do you have experience working with it? I heard it can be pretty toxic.
So far I have liked tung, but am still in the experimenting phase, so I may try it too.
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