11

To keep the surface appearing as raw as possible and protect against water, I would suggest mineral oil. It will not prevent any mechanical abrasion, but will look natural and non-glossy without altering the sheen (much).


9

Most finishes, even the "penetrating oil" ones, don't penetrate very deep (maybe 0.020", 0.5 mm). The soft fibers below the cured finish fail, leaving a dent. Having a thicker, hard surface will prevent denting. This could be achieved with a thick "bar top" type finish, or a matte or piece of glass over the center portion of the desk.


9

You can use the plastic from many common food packages to make little washers for this purpose. I've used the softer plastic from the flexible lids to a few food canisters, e.g. Cadbury's cocoa, in the past which is polyethylene (PE, recycling symbol 4): The high-density version HDPE (recycling symbol 2) as used in plastic milk bottles can also be used. I ...


8

Based on your comment (i.e., you're more interested in the look than the feel), it'd suggest using a matte finish. Rich Lawrence suggested a water-based poly, but I'd actually go for an oil-based poly (varnish). Water-based poly's aren't very scratch resistant (I actually finished my oak table with a water-based and had to replace it within a few months). ...


8

Another option to consider is wax. In this case, butcher block paste wax would be a traditional option (which is edible/non-toxic, like the wax on apples). It has similar constraints as the aforementioned mineral oil. Paste waxes also come in various tints which leave an unfinished look but allow some slight modification to color of the table.


7

Not burning or charring the wood, but heating it to a high temperature. In this article dealing with the "Strength properties of thermally modified softwoods..." that deals specifically with three different softwoods the authors present information about distinct changes that occur in the mechanical properties brought about by heat-treating. First, the ...


7

Perhaps the most common solution is to build hardwood face frames for your cabinets. The face frame conceals and protects the edge of the plywood. If your cabinets are already built, a film finish will help protect against damage, but may not hold up to seasonal movement over time along the mitered joints. Personally I wouldn't bother with the clear ...


7

Use epoxy resin, thinned with acetone, and brush it on. Use a very thin mix for the first coat, then if necessary, come back with a second coat. Acetone will allow the epoxy to flow and penetrate deep into the fibers of the bark and wood, and stablize it. It will change the appearance of course, making it look darker and "finished", but I don't think you'd ...


6

One thing to keep in mind is the season in which the branch was cut. If the wood is of a decidous variety the bark will be very easy to remove in the spring and very hard to remove in the fall. Keep this in mind if you are looking to leave the bark on the edges of boards in finished pieces or want to remove the bark easily in other situations. If the ...


6

I think the short answer here is: Bark is never permanent, unless it's alive. One the one hand, imagine bark as your skin. The surface of your skin today is not made up of the same cells today as it was a month ago. Bark is very similar in this way. While it's living, it is constantly replenished and growing. Once this 'living' process is halted, the bark ...


6

While Tung, Boiled Linseed Oil (BLO), and other hardening oils will provide some protection, non-hardening oils like mineral, olive, or vegetable oil do not provide any significant protection. Hardening oils contain resins that undergo a chemical reaction (non-reversible) within the wood. Naturally, non-hardening oils do not. Wipe on finishes like Danish ...


5

Let me shortly explain my background on this topic. I completely sympathize with your desire to keep the natural wood look and color in wood projects. In my experience most woodworkers love the finished look. Whenever I hear a woodworker say: "And now for the most satisfying part: the finish", I personally feel I'll often see a beautiful modern looking piece ...


5

By beveled, do you actually mean mitered? You could use a little cleat of hardwood, which is something you can even do after you've already assembled the cabinets. (with plywood, biscuits are possibly not necessary, although personally, I'd probably use anyway). Here's a picture of what I'm suggesting: (picture from 12 ways to build cabinets faster and ...


5

Cut slowly. Watch out for kickback. Be aware that blades/bits will dull faster than they would on a softer wood. I'm not sure what family "desert ironwood" belongs to, but Ipe (the most common "ironwood" sold in this area), like many tropical hardwoods, can cause allergies in some people due to the same chemicals that make them naturally resistant to ...


5

The branch was very dead when I found it, so I think it's pretty dry, There are various levels of 'dry' for wood. Sitting exposed outdoors, especially if lying on the ground, the wood won't be quite as dry as you'd imagine (especially in its interior). When you pick up any wood from outdoors it should be expected that in the relatively dry and stable ...


5

It's not the burning of wood, it's the heating of it. By heating it one of the things that happens is you remove the moisture from the wood. This makes it more physically stable. Letting a stick dry out in the sun will have similar properties (as long as it isn't in the rain). Moisture helps keep wood supple and when you want to push a stick into ...


4

You have several options. A good reference is Bob Flexner's books where he compares all in terms of hardness (which is what you're looking for), reversibility, transparency, dent proofness, water resistance, etc. I actually don't own the book (I borrowed it from my local library several times), but from memory, here's the order of protectability: Oil-based ...


4

what options do I have to protect the surface from physical damage? "Physical damage" is really too broad a category to answer simply. It needs to be broken down a little in order better define what protection certain finishes can provide. With softer woods conventional finishes don't really protect from significant impacts, such as would leave a dent, ...


4

I did a walking stick in exactly the above manner. Several thick coats of polyurethane. My big mistake was using a high gloss, so that it has that sort of 'fake' look, but its the inside bark of a birch so is quite nice looking. I did that about seven to ten years ago and the bark and stick still look in mint condition. Thats heavy use year round so is ...


4

I used a water based polyurethane matte finish on an oak table recently. It gives a slight amber tint but is protective against water and alcohol.


4

I have use Clark's Cutting Board Finish which leaves the wood looking more unfinished that anything else I've ever used. Even so, it does darken the wood slightly (all finishes do). Like any wax, it is very easy to add more after the surface has been in use for awhile. It has a nice citrus smell which dissipates after 12 hours or so. I used this on ...


3

A matte or flat water based poly will give the closest look to no finish and provide a lot of protection. I recommend Target EM9000. It may leave the wood with a little bit of a wet look. I've not tested for it because I always want some color to the wood.


3

I've used Tung oil with good results. It is mildly protective. Keeps moisture out for the most part. If the wood is inherently soft, it doesn't do much to prevent marring though. It darkens the wood the tiniest bit, but doesn't make it look like it's got a finish on it. Here's the one I used, low gloss finish:tung oil Here is a table I used it on. ...


3

One way that I have used for this is to just use overlap corner joints for the plywood. This type of joint covers one raw edge of the plywood. On the other piece that is left with the raw edge showing I've glued on a thin strip of solid wood of the same type as the nice face of the plywood. The thickness that works nicely for this is 1/8 inch. There are ...


3

As said above make sure you are cutting slowly. I do have other things to say on that along with his answer on the blade dulls fast. My neighbors have worked with it and have talked about how it even caused a spark, be true or not. Take cautions. Have protective head over blade, use push sticks with both hands. (Unless you have at least 8" from the blade to ...


3

Another solution is to design real-wood edging into the piece, to cover the plywood edge. This can range from veneer tape (edgebanding) to a piece of hardwood chosen to match the color and thickness of the ply and glued tightly to it -- or may be thicker, shelf edging often extend below the shelf both to stiffen the shelf and to make it look more ...


3

The comments have a lot of good discussion about wood choice, but to directly answer your question, yes. You can use epoxy to make a surface harder. However, you need to be careful about your choice of epoxy. Normal hardware store epoxy is designed for repair work, i.e. bonding two parts together. To do this effectively it needs to be quite thick. This ...


2

It looks like the damage is being done by impact rather than abrasion. The teflon tape might help, but I don't think it will eliminate future damage. You might get the protection you want by using self-stick foam or glued on felt weatherstripping applied to the vacuum. Maybe something like this: Door Weather Stripping or this: Heavy-Duty Self Adhesive ...


2

To me it looks like damage to the finish from sunlight. Red oak seems to do this more often. Not sure why. Maybe sunlight interacts with the tannin's or the pits don't let the finish cure evenly across the surface. Either way, I've seen lots of old red oak furniture that has that wear pattern, and it's much faster to appear on items that have sunlight ...


1

You can use pretty much any finish on a door, depending on the look you desire and what you want to work with. Doors don't really need a highly protective finish unless there are young kids in the house. I do not want to paint or add a gloss/sheen to them. But the part in bold is the key thing here, since you don't want to add gloss this rules out many ...


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