Worktop treatment advice needed

Discussion in 'Carpenters' Talk' started by Sara, Dec 5, 2003.

  1. WOLF

    WOLF New Member

    OI!!! chucks, timber will move regardless of what you lot shove on it, and varnish on a food prep surface is 10000% NO..NO.. basic health and safety states that...and charlie, come back dear chap!!!the trade's person's still love you that's an idea, why can't we have "TRADE" or "DIY-er" with our forum name, to show that some of us practice what we preach for a living.. and so know what we are advising, and not the WE did this and it turned out ok(i hope!!) brigade....i'm sorry if i offend any of you here, but timber is a LIVING product, and so has properties and characteristic's all of it's own, and should be treated accordingly... not butchered and botched, i spend enough of my valuable workshop time putting right items totally wrecked by the "KEEN" amateur, and the state that timber is left in sometimes breaks my heart...
  2. Evs

    Evs New Member

    Would sugest that as the supplier/manufacturer almost always recomends oil (normally rustic) that this is by far the best guide as to what should or shouldn't be used.
  3. Charlie Far!ey

    Charlie Far!ey New Member

    Thanks Wolf

    It's a difficult concept I am trying to put across and I have probably gone about it badly but for those subscribers out there, if Wolf said paint it with bitumen I would change my methods today and bitumen would be bought in this afternoon. There are few men with greater knowledege than Wolf and if you dont wanna listen to me and you dont wanna listen to Wolf - You aint gonna get better advice - So paint away with whatever you think you should but dont come back and ask how to get whatever off because someone has fallen ill as a direct result of the application.

    You next point of enquiry is realistically a medical practitioner you have all of the trade information you can get.

  4. Pugley

    Pugley Member

    Folks, can we have a bit of common sense here and stop being luddites. Sara wishes to know what options are available for putting a finish on her worktops. This is nothing to do with trade or DIY viewpoints, it's about choice.

    I contacted the ICI/Dulux helpline and was advised that the customer can use oils or varnishes depending on taste and the use to which the surface is being put.(they manufacture both products in vast quantities) As food is not actually being prepared directly on the wooden surface contamination risks are minimal so the issue comes down to taste.

    Clearly I prefer Varnish and WOLF prefers oil. Please, let's not be dictatorial and accept there is more than one option.
  5. bilco

    bilco New Member

    I can understand anyone, in good faith, giving their notion of good advice in some genuine wish to help others...for the life of me I can't comprehend the reason anyone would persist in their view against qualified contradiction especially when it's so manifest...

    You can quite easily remove oil (peanut or otherwise) varnish is not so easy nor are the black stains you get when water leaches under varnish...Linseed oil is good for cricket bats, your outside step and your TV quicky softwood makeover
  6. WOLF

    WOLF New Member

    pugley, you will find that charlie and myself, will use what is required for that particular job, and what it will be used for...we can only advise through many years of experience, nothing else, personnal preferences do not come in to it..
  7. woodsmith

    woodsmith New Member


    A slight diversion from the original question but what do you use to treat the insides of drawers which are going to hold clothing?

    I was taught that oils can stain fabrics so I have always used p/u or french polish.
  8. Charlie Far!ey

    Charlie Far!ey New Member

    Treat the inside of drawers with this...
  9. Mr Kitchen

    Mr Kitchen New Member

    I'm with Wolf on this one. Having worked with many woods and finishes (How many people can say thay have whittled snakewood?), I still like the warm colouring rustic oil gives to a wood like beech. It will change the colour of the raw wood to a darker, warmer look, but I think this is better and the finish of Rustic oil is yhe one I prefer. It is (or was) a living product and as such will expand and contract under different conditions, thats why it should be fitted using brackets with elongated holes and screwed not to tightly to allow movement within the confines of the said brackets .there you go.
  10. WOLF

    WOLF New Member

    now woodsmith, like you i was taught that oils stain cloth, so when we make up a piece of furniture with drawers, the face of the draw front will be stained/oiled etc(to the clients wishes, and the remainder of the drawers, inside, middles, back, bottom, etc are left as nature intended, the only thing that i do subscribe to putting in to a draw, is quality brown pare, to help ease any moisture content that may arise during the year, completely cover the base and lap up the sides by about 1"... okay, i trust it helps...............
  11. WOLF

    WOLF New Member

    whoops, sorry folks, that should have read QUALITY BROWN PAPER...........appologise, been a very bad weekend for me!!
  12. woodsmith

    woodsmith New Member

    Thanks Wolf, I live in woodworm heaven you can't give the buggers an even break; they are moving in when the glue is still wet. So I always give any non visible wood a dilute coat of p/u or french polish to at least give them indigestion. Woodworm killer is not practical as people don't like their smalls marinated in biocide. Seems to work, so far anyway.
    I got a call to look at a ladies chest, it was a cryin shame, woodworm had got it, brought it back to the workshop on a pallette; took four weeks of intensive care to put it back together but she'll never be the same again.;-)
  13. chucks

    chucks New Member

    Hi Wolf & others, just coming back to say how happy I am to have contributed to such a long topic! So what if I've been talking cr*p, it's keeping the conversation going that matters! When Wolf weighs in against me I know I'm punching above my weight!

    But, with due humility (honestly) and not wishing to be argumentative (honestly!), I have some genuine questions:

    * What on earth is the difference between treating a kitchen table (where I suppose a p/u finish would be acceptable) and treating a worksurface? I always make my sandwiches on the table anyway - use the worksurface for standing the kettle on!

    * Wolf, of course I know that wood will move anyway, but are you saying that I'm wrong to think that, in humid conditions, giving the same treatment to both sides will guard against one side taking up more moisture than the other (& so being more inclined to expand?). If you say so, I'll stop wasting my time!

    Oh, and as for your professional/diy point - no, I'm not a professional in this field in your terms, though I do make my living out of the whole business. Whatever I've learnt, though, I have learnt from 'professsionals' - it's just that they weren't you or CF!

    I have respect for your opinions and for the advice you've given on this forum. It doesn't necessarily follow that I agree with your judgement of what is the best advice for Sara (given, anyway, that she's wanting to do a diy job and that her oiled wood is in a mess!).

    Also, can you clarify for me - am I wrong to suggest using real turpentine as part of the oiling process? My understanding has been that it's best to mix oil and turpentine, giving better penetration and improved drying of the oil (avoiding the sticky, dirty goo that I think Sara's ended up with).
    It's certainly the way they do things in France! (Long story, never mind!)
  14. WOLF

    WOLF New Member

    firstly woodsmith, there are a few,common furniture bettle(woodworm)timber treatments out there that are actually, non-toxic, natural product based, that do not leave an odour or contaminat other things around them... and i bet you ENJOY LOOKING AT LADIES CHESTS & DRAWS....Letch!!!!(only kidding(lucky sod) then chucks, you had to go and say the "magic word" FRENCH(useless twonks...and that is polite... them lot over there know sweet FA about timber or anything else for that matter)... but i will still answer your questions/queries....
    1) treating a kitchen table with varnish, is ok(if you like that sort of thing, but the reason it is acceptable, is that most normal people would use a plate, bread board etc, when using a table... but for most people the idea of a kitchen work top, especially among true chefs/cooks is that they will use the work surface itself to cut/chop/prepare, so therefore it has to be maintained/setup correctly..
    2)if the lumber, is setup for a work top then the thickness is generally 38-50mm thick, which if painted /varnished below would have no real baring on the timbers properties, as the depth of the timber is to great, there would /can be still movement in the timber, unless of course you are /were able to leave the worktop, in the area it is to remain, untouched and uncut for many months to fully season...preferably 12 months minimum, to remove the entire(well 90% ) of the moisture content..most people see "STARS" like ol'NORM, applying a laminate to the under side of the worktop etc to stop it cupping, this is due to the fact that he /they have actually used a contact adhesive, which is known to shrink slightly over the years as it fully dries.. some trade contact adhesives, have been known to still be plyable in the centre 2 years down the line....painting the non-showing side will stop some moisture ingrees but not all as you will have used nails/screw.. cut the timber etc... but it can be a good idea if using in high humidity area's....
    3) ah!!! you are at least partly right on the thinning down of oils with real turpentine, but however the reasons you have given are incorrect(sorry).. the actual idea of thining down of oils is purely to dilute the oil, so as to aid absorbtion of the oil in to the chosen can actually use either REAL TURPENTINE OR PURE WHITE SPIRITS... not the clear muck, found in do as you like shops...the slightly milky coloured spirits... and if you actually wish to aid the DEPTH absorbtion of the oils, again dilute the oil, then, gently heat the oil/spirit solution in a double boiler arrangement(like the old horse glue pots)then apply, heating will aid the fluid state of the oil, making it much "thinner" and so aid DEPTH absorbtion..the real trick with oils is to actually build up the layers/applications over a period of DAYS... not hours... or the oil will PUDDLE internally of the timber.. not that you will ever see it..
    the 1st coat is applied with a paint brush, fairly generously, but no as to puddle/flood the work piece, let dry for 24hrs, then aply the 2nd coat, sparingly with a lint cloth, and again leave for 24hrs, the build up applications to your particular taste daily...
    hope the aboue helps... i know it may seem long winded, but the above is actually the abridged version...and again , french...yuck!!
    p.s. and they did not invent FRENCH polish, they just happened to love the stuff foir furniture(well i suppose they may be able to do something right)
    regards MATT
  15. WOLF

    WOLF New Member

    wwodsmith, you state you live in wood worm heaven... do you mean around your work shop??? if so you may actually have an un-noticed infestation with in your very walls and the little blighters will actually seek out new wood when you first off bring the material into your workshop/area... sneaky gits they are to...
  16. chucks

    chucks New Member

    Cheers Wolf, nice answer. I did actually talk about penetration, which is much of what you're on about, I think! Also, I think, the proportion of turpentine will affect the level of the glaze - more turpentine, less glaze but faster drying & vice versa. And don't tell me about France, I know! You can't even get builder's sand or browning there! (Now this is getting off-topic!)
  17. WOLF

    WOLF New Member

    chucks dear chap!,please stop thinking in terms of more turps, quicker drying, as it does not work like that in reality...the turps is only a "carrier" for the oils/stains that we use , what actually happens is that the turps will evaporate off, leaving the oil to dry at it's natural rate, it will only seem to dry quicker as the oil has penetrated slightly deeper that if used on it's own...and as for the sheen to the oil beening different with the more turps used, again, it's an illusion, as the oil is spead deeper in the timber, so takes slightly more coats to build up a sheen-able level.
    (off topic- france is a waste of space!)
  18. woodsmith

    woodsmith New Member

    Wolf, with regard to woodworm (how could you put gits and not get moderated?) I live in a very rural part of rural England the climate must be perfect for wooodworm. My workshop is a converted stables, when I moved in 4 years ago I sprayed it with stuff that I had to use breathing apparatus from my scuba gear because it was so toxic. The problem is there are several farms arround with lots of derelict buildings where the wood looks like Crunchie bars it is so full of worm.

    I also have problems when I buy wood in; I had some oak, sawn through and through, seasoning in my loft and I found longhorn beetle in it, now those buggers can really chew wood!!!!

    I have just bought some air dried oak, used it to make some rafters, I had to machine one edge and one piece was full of the buggers.

    With regard to the non toxic woodworm treatment I had not seen any but I would not have much faith in something that I could use as a mixer with my next gin.
  19. WOLF

    WOLF New Member

    because i told them that it is not a swear word, which it is not... look up in any DECENT dictionary, and under the word git, it will have a listing for a pregnant camel... for many years i called my sister "moggy" as a term of affection(but of course slightly sarcastic) until i read that a moggy, is actually a calf that has a brain disorder, or basically a mad cow(maybe i was right the first time)
  20. chucks

    chucks New Member

    Wolf said: "please stop thinking in terms of more turps" -

    ....but I'm really hooked on the smell of the stuff! (It's 'terebenthine' in France - they sell it in the supermarket, next to the cornflakes). Look, an addict knows no reason....


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