Baby Needs a New Crib
Issue: Issue 2.12
Posted Date: 7/17/2001
The trick to building a crib is to complete it before the child in question is collecting diplomas. That's what is worrying this woodworker, because the babyhas been delivered and he's having real trouble with the finish on the crib he built. Now, it's important to understand that he is building this for a friend, not his own child. If it was his own child, we suspect the mother would be making sure the crib was done using her considerable skills and motivational techniques.
Anyway, he finished the piece with water-based poly acrylic and, when putting on a finishing coat of wax, he noticed the finish could be scratched off with his fingernail. That wouldn't do. He sanded it down to bare wood and put a coat of grain filler on the crib. After he let it dry for 24 hours, he put on some oil based stain. Now, 50 hours later, it still feels tacky and he doesn't know what to do next. He's looking for a finish so he can be finished.
There was some talk of temperature and humidity problems, but the woodworker in question already tried many methods of drying without good result. There was a suggestion to use Briwax and the woodworker already had some experience with this stuff, so he was encouraged.
Finally someone suggested something we've written about repeatedly here in the eZine: shellac. This finish, it was written, is the only "food-grade" finish so it will be safe if the child bites on the crib rails. They even use it on MandMs, he wrote. He goes on to mention that dewaxed shellac is preferable and that mixing it up yourself gives you a better result. If you must buy shellac in a can, make sure it hasn't been in the can very long, because it has a short shelf life. He even provided the following method of getting the best finish with shellac if using a brush (though he recommended spraying it if possible):
"If you brush, then use a good brush and lay on the shellac in one direction only. Don't paint like you would the walls. Dip the brush in alcohol to wet it. Tap most of the solvent out of the brush. Then dip it in the shellac about 1/3 into the finish. Tap the brush on the sides of the container to remove the excess. Lay the brush on the surface and pull it across in one continuous stroke. When you see the finish stop flowing, redip and go on. Overlap one stroke by about 1/3 with the next. When you have a section done, use a dry brush with just the tip to even out the finish if needed."