More Samples of the ‘Far East Wales’ Finish

The last few weeks have been filled with finishing experiments for “The Stick Chair Book” that answer some minor questions I had about paint, soap and linseed oil/beeswax finishes. 

One question I can’t answer: Does anyone know what’s in Odie’s Oil at $130 for a quart? (Wrong answers only.)

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One of the finishing projects I’ve been working on is to show some of the possible color combinations of the “Far East Wales” finish. (Why do I call it by this name? The answer is here.) I also wanted to see if the finish worked OK with shellac instead of lacquer. Answer: Yes, it works great. And I wanted to see if I could get away with applying only one coat of base color instead of two. Answer: Yes, again!

So here’s the updated procedure I used for the following finish samples.

  1. Apply a base coat of water-based film-forming paint, such as acrylic or latex.
  2. Apply two coats of shellac or lacquer by brushing, wiping or spraying.
  3. As soon as the finish is dry, apply a second coat of a water-based film-forming paint.
  4. When the paint flashes from wet to dry, you can begin the blistering process. You will get more dramatic results the sooner you start blistering.
  5. Use a heat gun on its highest setting (or a propane torch) to heat the paint. Heat a small area (about four square inches) then use a paint scraper to remove the blisters. Work the entire project this way.
  6. Use a woven 3M gray pad or steel wool to smooth all surfaces and remove any loose paint.
  7. Apply a black wax (I use Liberon black bison wax). When it flashes, buff it off with a coarse cotton cloth, such as a huck towel.

I tried a bunch of different color combinations using the paints we had in our finishing cabinet. I was surprised by how much I liked the bright colors, especially the yellows, with this finish. Here are a few sample boards. All paint colors are from the General Finishes Milk Paint (not a milk paint but an acrylic) line of paints.

— Christopher Schwarz

Note: I haven’t tried this process with any casein-based paints, so I don’t know if they will work as the base coat (my guess on this is yes, it will work) or the topcoat of color (my guess is no, it will not work). So feel free to experiment with this yourself.

Lamp Black over Basil.
Twilight over Buttermilk Yellow.
Basil over Sunglow.
Basil over Tuscan Red.
Sunglow over Tuscan Red.


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