Gary sent me this picture recently showing a problem he was having with Minwax gel stain bleeding into the lacquer.
I did some testing to see if I could find the culprit with my stain bleeding problem. I bought some Varathane gel stain in cherrywood along with some Deft Lacquer. As much as it pained me to test on a finished piece, I need to figure out a fix for the one I started and a little more won’t hurt anything.
First, I tried some Varathane on a side that had already been pre-coated with Watco lacquer, partially stained with Minwax, and had showed signs of bleeding. The Varathane showed no bleeding! Okay, that’s good. It’s probably not the lacquer. But, to prove that the Minwax was at fault I sprayed an unstained side with Deft Lacquer and let it dry. I then applied a small bit of Minwax and it started to bleed. That is more than enough evidence for me. I don’t need a highly controlled DOE (design of experiments) with statistical metrics to prove which of the many variables was indeed the culprit. Visual proof is sufficient for me.
One side note on the Minwax gel stain. I have used it on many, many projects with no problems. But, I have noticed a significant change in the consistency of the product recently. Initially, it was quite thick and hard to stir to a smooth consistency, which the label clearly says should be done. It was, for lack of a better term, very “gel” like. However, for the last project it would get much thinner when stirred. More the consistency of cheap latex paint or maybe even buttermilk. You would think it would be the opposite as it aged. I haven’t used more than a half cup of the stuff in the two years I have had it. There is no expiration date anywhere on the can so I am not sure what happened with it, but it has definitely changed. Oddly enough, the Varathane that I just bought is about the same consistency as my current Minwax yet it doesn’t cause bleeding. Go figure…
With all that said, this is not a condemnation of the Minwax product, as such. But, for chip carvers using basswood it’s a word to the wise.
Here’s some more ideas on using a glove to improve your grip when carving
Thanks, Gary, for sharing this information with me so I can pass it on to everyone else!
I had sent you an email telling you how much I liked the glove idea you had included in one of your newsletters. I did all my tissue boxes using that idea and it was a welcome addition to my carving journey.
I haven’t done much actual chipping in the last few weeks while I wrestled with my finishing issues on the tissue boxes. I happened to be in the garage working on a different project and glanced at my golf bag thinking I needed to hit the links soon. And, hanging on the side of the bag was my golf glove. That got me thinking. I wonder how that would be as a carving glove? So, I ordered a right hand glove from my favorite company to give it a try and it works great! Super comfortable and the cabretta leather is very grippy. Since the glove fits fairly tightly there are no wrinkles to deal with and the leather is like a second skin which gives a very positive feel with the knife handle. Almost like not wearing a glove at all.
I buy my gloves from MG golf.com. They make a really good glove for a very reasonable price. I think I paid $9 for the right hand glove, which is a bargain for a high quality golf glove. For this experiment I bought the version that has lycra panels in it since my knife handle is smaller than my golf grips. I have used these gloves for golf for the past four years and they wear like iron since they are made entirely of cabretta leather and are butter soft. I can play 30 – 40 rounds of golf before wearing one out. My guess is that a pair of these gloves would last for long time as carving gloves.
I have just started some napkin holders using the golf gloves and they are excellent! All the benefits of wearing a glove yet they are almost like not wearing a glove at all.
The only down side I can see is getting the right size. If you are not a golfer it takes some “shopping” to make sure you get one that is snug without being too tight. A sizing session at any sporting goods department that sells golf stuff should do the trick. Since most golfers are right handed they use a glove for the left hand. Just try on the left handed gloves until you find one that is just right. Chances are that that same size will work for your right hand as well.
While you can buy cheap golf gloves at the big box stores I would shy away from them since they are almost always faux leather. They don’t breathe, tend to be hot, and tend to stretch out and get loose. 100% Cabrera leather is the way to go.
How to improve your grip when carving
I hadn’t thought of this until the other day when I was working on making knife handles in my shop.
When I was at the auto parts store I picked up some work gloves to help me hold knife blades during the handle process. I thought the sticky glove surface would help improve my grip. And it sure did!
I picked up a completed knife with the gloves on and my grip was locked on the handle with little effort! Why hadn’t I thought of this before? 🙂
Do you have trouble gripping your knife? Maybe your hands aren’t as strong as they used to be. Consider giving these gloves a try!
This Grease Monkey brand meets my needs. I’ll guess Harbor Freight and others sell them as well. I paid $10 for 10 pair.