Recommended finish for redwood burl peppermill

TimR

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Never worked with redwood, doing a set of redwood burl peppermills and don’t want to blow it on wrong finish.
Search in this forum didn’t really give me a solid feel for recommendations other than stay away from oil. Especially if any endgrain that wants to really suck in the finish and darken it.
@Mike1950 I’ve got some Generals waterbased woodturners finish, is that similar to what you’ve used?
Obviously want that shimmer in the grain to pop. Should I maybe hit the top (endgrain) with some wax free shellac sanding sealer, regardless of finish used??
Thanks in advance folks!
 

Mike1950

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I only have built, should say started to build one thing out of redwood burl. Did not know and use wipe on oil poly , nice effect but whew it was very dark. Used a different wood. I would test on a scrap before i did anything.
 

rocky1

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I would say Minwax polycrylic, it won't darken it at all, actually wished it had darkened this one a little, but it didn't. Still not finished finished yet, but it's got a couple coats of polycrylic on it waiting to be finish sanded and touched up, or final coated, or whatever I decide with it. Redwood burl mini-bowl... it's sitting on a fine point felt tipped marker.

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TimR

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Nice! Convenient since I have about a gallon and a half of the stuff left. I’ll still perhaps test on a blank I have, but that looks good to me!
 

TimR

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@rocky1 , did the end grain portions darken much or pretty consistent with rest?
 

barry richardson

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I went through a spell of using water based poly, either Minwax or varithane, can't remember for sure, but what I found is the waterbased robs the wood of some of its depth and chatoyance. I have some of the same wood where I used either lacquer or poly on some, and water based on the other, the difference is very noticable.. Lacquer would be my choice for redwood..
 

TimR

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I went through a spell of using water based poly, either Minwax or varithane, can't remember for sure, but what I found is the waterbased robs the wood of some of its depth and chatoyance. I have some of the same wood where I used either lacquer or poly on some, and water based on the other, the difference is very noticable.. Lacquer would be my choice for redwood..
Thanks Barry. I’ll experiment with the Polycryl and some lacquer in a test piece
 

rocky1

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Really wasn't any darkening Tim, the darker hues in that piece, as best I recall, I wet sanded with BLO trying to darken it, hence the darker tint around the rim of the bowl, then allowed to dry thoroughly before applying second coat. That one was a small core I got from Doc, and it was extremely light in color to begin with. A pale Pink to White.
 

rocky1

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Have to agree with Barry on that count, cause for attempting to darken it was, it really didn't darken it as much as I had hoped. There was no contrast in the grain, in a darker piece of Burl, that showed more figure it would probably work great, this one simply lacked distinction in grain. Like you, I didn't want it to darken it substantially, but had hoped for a bit more darkening than I got.
 
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TimR

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I’m doing a test piece now. Will be doing clear shellac, polycryl satin, gloss poly, lacquer, and WTF...Woodturners Finish. WTF is a water base as well.
Somewhat subjective test, in that the grain varies a bit on the test piece depending on which side and even along a side. Still better than not testing at all.
Will do 3 coats of each. Hope the poly doesn’t take forever to dry!:coffee1:

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TimR

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Well, gonna rule out the polycryl. Even though “satin”, just no pop to the grain, Shellac looking good going into next round.

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DKMD

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You could always use the shellac for pop then top coat with something more durable.

There seems to be a lot of variability in redwood density and coloring. I’ve used oil in the past with good results(I like Minwax Antique oil), but the softer burls seem to get pretty dark.

This was two coats of antique oil:
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TimR

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Thanks David @DKMD , I’ve got a couple spots on my test piece left, and I have some Antique Oil, so I’ll give it a shot. Always liked how fast that stuff dries and buffs out.
Oh, and I thought about using the shellac as a base coat for something else. May be a small experiment of its own with shellac base and other top coats.
 
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TimR

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You could always use the shellac for pop then top coat with something more durable.

There seems to be a lot of variability in redwood density and coloring. I’ve used oil in the past with good results(I like Minwax Antique oil), but the softer burls seem to get pretty dark.

This was two coats of antique oil:
View attachment 169835
By the way..killer vase!:good2:
 

Maverick

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@TimR Resurrecting an old discussion. What did you end up using....and are there pics?!?!? Inquiring minds want to know. Thanks,
 
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TimR

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@TimR Resurrecting an old discussion. What did you end up using....and are there pics?!?!? Inquiring minds want to know. Thanks,
Dang, I should have followed up...but pretty sure I went with shellac followed by wipe on poly. Here’s final pic

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