Applying a Deft and Oil Finish (Woodturning How-to)

Hi I’m Mike with Craft Supplies USA and
today we’re gonna show you how to apply Dale Nish’s favorite finish to your woodturnings. Dale Nish taught this process of
finishing in our woodturning workshop program for over 25 years.
It was his go-to method and is still one of our favorites. It produces a nice, even appearance on high-figured woods with changing grain directions and splotchy
woods like cherry. It’s also extremely durable and requires little maintenance and it doesn’t darken the wood like an oil finish. We’ll need a few supplies to complete the finish. Deft Clear Wood Finish, lacquer thinner, a top coat finish
like Waterlox or ARM-R-SEAL, a finish bottle, sand paper, a fine woven pad or steel wool, cotton cloth and wax. Before we get started we need to thin
the death clear wood finish 50/50 with lacquer thinner. This will make it a lot
easier to apply and it’ll dry faster too. Give the Deft a good shake to mix all
the solids together and then pour a 1 to 1 ratio of Deft and lacquer thinner
into a finish bottle. Now let’s get started with the finishing
process. Start by thoroughly sanding the piece through at least 320 grit. take
your time to remove all the scratch marks, blemishes and torn end grain
because the finish will accent them which we definitely don’t want. Using a rag, clean off any dust on the piece. With the lathe stopped, apply a generous coat of the thinned Deft onto the piece and let it soak in. Endgrain areas tend to need more finish,
so look around the piece and apply more Deft to any dull areas and let them soak
in a bit longer. While the Deft is still wet, wipe the piece dry with a clean cotton cloth and let it dry for about an hour. This will create a barrier that
will prevent the top coat from darkening the wood. Now that the sealing coat is
dry, apply the top coat with a fine woven pad or steel wool. Dale liked to use Waterlox, but similar finishes will work just as well. Use the fine woven pad to
wet sand at slow speed, removing any raised grain and any shiny spots
remaining on the surface. Keep wet sanding until you’ve got a nice
consistent sheen. It shouldn’t take too long. Now buff the work piece dry with a soft cloth, allowing 30 minutes to dry. If you want to build up the gloss, keep adding more coats. I’m gonna stop at two coats of Waterlox for nice close-to-the-wood finish. Once the Waterlox is dry, final
buffing can be done using a soft cloth and some wax. Dale liked to use Lemon Oil Wax, so that’s what I’m using here. The wax doesn’t add any protection, but
it gives the piece a nice soft feel and it smells great too. We’ll that wraps up this pro tip. Now we’ve got a durable, natural looking finish on this highly figured piece of Silver Maple. If you liked the video, give it a thumbs up and subscribe to our Channel. Also, be sure to visit us online at for the largest selection of woodturning supplies in the industry.


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