Unfettered by tradition or dogma, woodworking students can have occasional flashes of brilliance. To wit: During a class last week at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking, I noticed that two of the students were using a waterbase finish I’d never seen before.
The finish didn’t add much color, but it didn’t have the blue cast than many modern waterbase finishes do. It was in fact the most “water-white” finish I’d seen. It also was thin enough to be ragged on and had very low odor. Like all waterbase finishes, it cleaned up easily with water.
Downsides: You have to use quite a number of coats before you get any significant build, it raised the grain (of course) and – similar to a linseed oil finish – it has to be renewed regularly. Very regularly.
Another downside: Despite the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS to safety nerds), several of the other students in the class were worried if the finish was food-safe. The MSDS noted traces of chlorine, giardia and (surprisingly) fluoride. So perhaps you should just stick with walnut oil or salad bowl finish to be on the safe side.
And speaking of safety, while the students were applying the finish without nitrile gloves, I think it’s always best to err on the side of caution. Use the nitrile gloves and work in a well-ventilated area. And always dispose of your rags properly.
In any case, it’s another finish you can add to your arsenal, unless you live in California, where woodworkers are worried that the legislature might ban it.
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Most parties seem to end up in the host’s kitchen. But at my house, most social occasions end up in the shop. Perhaps I should get some Bench Cookies to use as coasters.
A little more than a week ago, Jameel Abraham of Benchcrafted stopped by as he was headed to Berea, Ky., to teach a bench-building class at Kelly Mehler’s School of Woodworking.
Near the end of the evening, Jameel fetched a working prototype of his Crisscross mechanism from the back of his truck. If you aren’t familiar with the device, check out the video on the Benchcrafted blog.
Jameel walked us through the installation – it sounds easy, even as a retrofit. But the highlight was getting to actually use the the thing. I’ve never minded moving the pin in the parallel guide in my leg vise – it’s the smallest annoyance in what is my favorite style of vise.
But the Crisscross mechanism is a game-changer. It made my favorite style of vise even easier to use.
Score another one for Benchcrafted. I will order one as soon as Benchcrafted takes orders, and I will be replacing the leg vise on my 2005 Roubo with all-new Glide and Crisscross hardware.
— Christopher Schwarz
P.S. A note for the safety police: Yes there is a beer on the bench. No sharp tools or machines were used while drinking.