Date registered: Jul 2011
Vehicle: 380SL diesel
Location: San Diego County
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Quoted: 204 Post(s)
There are countless ways to finish wood. The one I've used with great success is to
- strip the old finish by soaking in acetone. Use a sealed container and a few ounces of acetone - it doesn't need to be submerged as the fumes will do the job. Be patient, this can take up to a week. When ALL the old finish has flaked off you're done. Don't rush it. Remove all plastic components as the acetone will dissolve them and make a huge mess
- very lightly sand the surface with 1200 grit or 0000 steel wool - just enough to knock off any grain that's raised. Let me repeat - VERY lightly.... in most cases this step won't be needed.
- shoot the wood with a good two-part catalyzed polyurethane automotive clear coat. Follow the directions on the technical sheet but usually this means 10 minutes or so between coats. Give it 5-6 or more coats and let it cure overnight. Get all your coats in at once following the spec sheet and sanding as directed. you'll need to wait a week (typically) to recoat if you don't.
- if you want an even better finish than what you see at this point, you can cut and buff to get a truly flat, mirror finish
If you don't have a compressor and spray gun, you can use some rattle can automotive clear for acceptable results. I use this method occasionally on wood pens I make, but they're not typically sitting out in direct sun and can be finished, buffed and polished on the lathe.
You'll find other opinions, but I'd personally avoid any brush-on materials, varnish, lacquer, shellac, epoxy, anything water based, anything that doesn't have serious UV protection, anything from the big box stores
You've opened a can of worms....let the opinions roll!