Preaching to the Choir - Fun with paint and finishes

Submitted to Community Café

First, I took Lana’s comments in good humor. Yes, Rust-Oleum wants its customers to be happy and they obviously work hard at it. I buy a lot of Rust-Oleum (and MinWax) products based on satisfaction and results. However, I am working with wood and that increases the number of variables tenfold or more over working with metals and that takes it out of Rust-Oleum's hands and puts it in mine. I can paint 10 pieces of basic but different materials (metals, body filler, and plastic) and get them to be so close in shade you will not see the transitions on my hot rods. Wood has a different basic physical property than metal, body filler, or plastic.

Here are some pictures that need a bit of explanation if the choir is still in the church.

The checkers are from two different dowel rods. All were cut with a 20 tooth per inch (fine) band saw and then sanded with 150 grit sandpaper on the belt sander. The thin ones, on the left, have four coats of Rust-Oleum gloss red and gloss black brushed on with sanding between each coat. They are relatively glossy, especially on the sides which is “running grain.” The end grain is fairly glossy and fairly smooth to the feel. After four coats the thick checkers on the right are almost as glossy in the side or running grain and not very glossy in the end grain. Even after sanding between coats these are still absorbing paint and raising grain. I simply gave up and gave them their visual marker “S’ so they do not hide on the board.

Even the “S” has a different appearance between the thin and thick checkers. The lesson of the day is that these checkers are cut from two different pieces of 1 ¼” diameter dowel rod that looked identical and they accepted finish differently. Am I disappointed? No. Surprised? No. This is reality.

The little boxes are both finished with Watco Danish Oil, (Medium Walnut?) from the same can, same treatment, same number of coats, three. They were sanded with 220 grit sandpaper between coats. Different woods. One went pretty dark, one went really nice “brown.” One end grain almost matches the side or running grain. The other end grain, on the lighter one, really stands out.

Again, Am I disappointed? No. Surprised? No. Reality. I think this is one of the things I love about working with wood. I have a good idea what it MAY look like when I am done. Nature rules here. So, when you pick that paint or finish in the store under fluorescent lights and take it home under LED or incandescent lights, expect a “shift” between the paint strips at the store. Those really nice sample pieces of clear pine wood probably will not match your birch or oak when you get it in your workshop.

And I love woodworking and its surprises. My Dad used to say stuff like, “If you want a 3’ wide cabinet start by building a 4' wide cabinet and you will get there cheaper and quicker.” And “Measure twice, cut once, then go buy another piece of wood.”

Note - for a good gloss finish the material has to be smooth and even. Tough with end grain.