Wipe on, translucent color finishes? How about non-toxic finish options?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by dB, Jan 9, 2018.


  1. dB

    dB Member

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    Are there any good quality wipe on finishes that would yield a Mary Kaye sort of look? Preferably water based, but not critical.

    Part two...what are some good quality, non toxic finish options?

    I'm trying to make the switch in our school wood shop to get away from the nasty oil based Minwax stains and clear poly finishes...but I'd also like it to be a system that lends itself to guitar and furniture quality finishes. Ideally, having some actual color choices would be nice so that everything is not always a shade of brown and amber.
     
  2. KGWagner

    KGWagner Member

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    There are a number of water-based dyes/stains/finishes out there that aren't quite as toxic as the solvent-based stuff. For that matter, the oil-based stuff is relatively benign. Unfortunately, most "safe" stuff is typically not as durable and so isn't as well-suited to things like furniture and musical instruments that are exposed to a lot of handling and/or abuse.
     
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  3. dB

    dB Member

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    For oil based are you referring to Tung/Danish/Tru oil types of finishes? We do use those a bit, and stuff like Watco and some of the Sam Maloof recipes. It is a good alternative to Minwax.

    I'm leaning heavily towards giving the Saman stuff a try.

    https://www.saman.ca/en
     
  4. wox

    wox Supporting Member

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    Oil won't hurt you. It's just a bit stinky and will mess up your hands and clothes if you're not careful (and be safe discarding oily rags - let then dry first).

    Big fan of StewMac water-based dyes topped with Tru Oil. Easy finish you can do with no spray or special equipment, and if you give it enough coats and elbow grease, buffs up nicely and looks pro.
     
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  5. KGWagner

    KGWagner Member

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    Yes, those are what are called "polymerized" oils, which simply means they've been slightly altered and/or have additives that allow them to cure rather than dry. They react to oxygen, so cure time can be relatively long, but nowhere near as long as a pure oil finish would that dries via evaporation. As bad as they smell, they're relatively safe as far as off-gassing VOCs are concerned.

    Minwax is not a finish, but rather a brand name. They make a lotta different products, so I wouldn't discount them as an option. They have the advantage of being widely/easily available. Plus, they have "wipe on" polyurethane products that are also safe, albeit stinky. On the plus side, it's more durable than any of the oils, polymerized or not. The Saman products you mentioned sound good, although I have no experience with them. Another good wipe-on poly is Behlen's "Master Gel". I've used that to good effect when I wasn't able to spray something better.
     
  6. gitman

    gitman Member

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