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September 2021 General Meeting


Well, it was a bit different having to remember to bring our own chairs for a meeting, but a welcome change to be back at the Perth Wood School, Carolyn welcomed all the members present and got the AGM started straight away, once again this took a short time and our normal meeting was underway soon after.

David took over the meeting and said that the school had been busy in the past 12 months, including two new staff since our last visit, Grace Fox joining him this year and Jonathan Marriott, a furniture maker from the UK, assisting when he can.

He started his talk with actively encouraging all of us, including members, to actually start building something! As a woodworking association we should also be involved in encouraging anyone to start making one of those projects that that we all have, put on the back burner waiting until we had the time?? That time has arrived!

David spoke about the governments new requirement changing its logging policy to lock up existing timber supplies, which we all thought the Forest Products Commission already had under control, ensuring we had a sustainable supply of timber for furniture making. He said that his suppliers were already having difficulty in completing orders for local Jarrah and Marri. Whilst this can be filled in the short term with imported timbers, the overall effect will be increased prices and local timbers becoming scarce.


David said that these days his preferred finish was “Evolution”, which was an oil plus wax finish, similar to a varnish but based on natural products. He still uses sprayed on lacquer for some of his commercial projects due to its awesome finish, but it is extremely toxic and requires specialised PPE and an effective spray booth.

Wipe on poly (Feast Watson) was still very popular amongst our members due to its consistent finish plus the fact that “Evolution” did not always produce the best finish on short grained timbers, such as Cherry, Rock Maple, Pine or Myrtle. His preferred method of application was with a pre-washed cotton rag such as an old t-shirt.

Regarding which timbers to use he said that Cherry, Walnut and Tasmanian Oak were in the sweet spot for stable timbers, whilst timbers such as Jarrah, Spotted Gum, Salmon Gum and Lemon Gum were really hard but not necessarily the most stable timber for your project.


Talking about staining your timber he said that spirit based stain should be used under polyurethane finishes, but if you were using “Evolution” or one of the new oil/wax finishes it was essential to only use their own compatible stains. You should only apply stain immediately before applying your finish as any further sanding will remove it!

He often used spirit based stain diluted to 1:10 with methalated spirits, which will really enhance any timber with open pour lines. When he uses Walnut he often adds a diluted walnut stain, as this really enhances the colour of the timber.

When considering any project, you should choose your timber, what finish you intend to use and any colour enhancement needed before you start.

Repairs or Filling.

David did not recommend using wood filler, as it is only suitable for very small problems due to a tendency to dry and fall out. You could use wax sticks for small items or scratches and these were usually available in boxes of mixed colours. (available from 22 Services). For anything else he tended to use “Selleys Tradie Bog” which he used with a white hardner (available from Fibreglass Sales) not the pink one supplied and mixed this with small amounts of powdered colour pigment to get the best colour match for the timber you are using.

Any repair should only be filled after the first coat of finish, as that’s the colour your trying to match, and you must not stain bare timber.

When making chopping boards he uses vegetable oil as a food safe finish.

If you are using lacquer you need to sand to 240 or 320 grit before applying.

When using “Evolution” sanding to 180 grit was usually sufficient, but you needed to wait a full 12-24 hrs between coats. Do not leave much longer as after a week it will become very hard and need sanding before applying another coat. He recommended applying 3 coats and sanding with 400 grit between 2nd and 3rd coats. You should not put on in a thick layer. Evolution can be used in plastic cups, but as always, it will go off when used and left in the can.

David had sent around samples of the different products for us to look at and finished his presentation by taking questions and comments from the members about the problems they had experienced.

Perth Wood School

1/119 Welshpool Road
Welshpool WA 6105