Diemen Design
Diemen Design
DIY Timber Finish Recipe's
DIY Timber Stains

DIY Timber Finish Recipe's

Published: Apr 5th, 2020 4:04 PM
Categories: wood

I've been seeing a lot of people asking and offering DIY (Do It Yourself) recipe's for common Timber Finishes. These can vary slightly from country to country and even be regional depending on the ingredients available. I am not trying to take work or product away from those that sell finishes, on the contrary, if you would prefer to purchase a particular finish and support those making large quantities I wholeheartedly endorse you doing that and in turn support someones business and family.

Before I start listing popular finishes, let me first endorse and link those businesses and brands that you can try out if you don't wish to go to the effort of making your own:


OB Shine Juice

This recipe I got from one of Capt'Eddie Casteline's YouTube videos.

It's pretty simple, made up of 1/3 equal quantities of 2 Pound Cut Shellac, Methylated Spirits/Denatured Alcohol, and Boiled Linseed Oil.

Simply wiped on, and rubbed in, it gives a good shine, and durable finish that can be enhanced easily by adding a fresh coat.


Frenchy's Shine Juice

This recipe was taken from the WoodChuckers Facebook Group by Allen Mayles. I'm pretty sure I've also heard Kim Tippin on YouTube mention a similar recipe.

Frenchy's shine juice. 10%BLO, 30% Metho/Denatured Alcohol, and 60%shellac. Faster build up.

Yorkshire Grit

This recipe was taken from the Wood Turning Basics Facebook Group by ‎Butters von Buttersworth.

For anyone that needs it, here is my recipe and process for making York Shire Grit. By volume 1 part mineral oil. 1 part bees wax, 1 part diatomaceous earth (food grade). Measurements do NOT need to be exact. Melt the bees wax in the mineral oil stirring till it’s all dissolved. Then add the diatomaceous earth (DME) stirring constantly till it firms up. If you don’t, the DME will settle.
A few tips that I have picked up. An old large tin can works great for making and storing this stuff. I bring about 2” if water to a boil on the stove. I pour the mineral oil into the tin can and set the can in the boiling water to make a double boiler. I then add the wax and allow it to melt, stirring occasionally. When it’s melted, add the DME. Then I get a big bowl of ice water and move the tin can from the boiler to the bowl of ice water. This greatly accelerates the cooling process. But, you still need to stir it till it’s firmed up. Once it’s hardened up, you’re ready to rock. Super cheap and takes about 45 minutes total to make.

No guarantee that the above is correct, use at your own discretion.


CA Glue Finish

Usually used for Pens and smaller items, CA (Cyano Acryolate) Glue produces a durable plastic finish.

By simply sanding the project to be finished to the desired grit, several coats of CA Glue can be wiped on and left to harden, or an activator used to reduce time between coats. Then after several coats, most turners then use micro-mesh sanding pads to produce a high-gloss finish.

Alternatively, turners may want a satin look, and here's how I achieve that look.

Sand the project up to 240grit, then use Methylated Spirits/Denatured Alcohol to clean up dust and raise the Knapp (fibre's of the timber). Then using a piece of paper towel place a few drops of Thin CA on the towel, and a few drops of BLO (Boiled Linseed Oil) directly on the CA, then with the project spinning at a slow speed rub the CA/BLO into the timber until it starts to become tacky from the friction. I then allow that to harden without using activator (I Usually leave between 15-20 minutes, good excuse to make a cup of tea). What this does is gets the CA into and beside the grain deeper into the pores, and helps with stability, and also brings out more of the Chatoyance in the timber. I then continue sanding, cleaning the dust between each grit, up to at least 600 grit which I find adequate for most timbers. I then start applying the Medium CA finish, I don't use activator myself, but there is no reason not too if you wish to speed the process up. I usually apply between 5-10 coats depending on how things look, then use micro-mesh to remove any scratch's or unusual unevenness that can occur when apply the finish.

Activator, or the lack of it

There are various alternatives to using Activator, which I'll list below so if you find yourself without it and can't acquire it and need to get that project done.

  • Glen 20. Can leave a cloudy look to a finish. Might ok if the glue isn't visible, obviously no good if using as a finish.
  • Bi-Carb Soda. This has been used for decades esp. by model makers in the film industry as explained by Adam Savage as not only does to accelerate the drying process it also acts as filler making joints stronger, Adam also mentions using Bi-Carb Soda in his book "Every Tools a Hammer". I have also seen suggestions of dissolving Bi-Carb Soda in water and used in a spray bottle as an accelerator.
  • BLO (Boiled Linseed Oil). Used directly, it's not as fast as actual accelerator, but it does work.
  • RC Nitro Fuel (without Caster Oil). I'd like more information about this as well.

The majority, if not all of the above finishes are used on Wood Turning Projects, but this doesn't mean they can't be used on other types of Wood Working.

I'll update and add more as time permits, or if you have suggestions or recipe's you would like to share, please comment, or contact us.

Happy Finishing