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Refinishing Classic Woods


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#1 freddiec

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Posted 30 January 2010 - 08:54 AM

I know there are a lot of you who actually do a lot of refinishing of older classic persimmon woods. There are a lot of different polyurethane products as well as sprays, and other uretathanes that you can use to achieve the right finish you want on a club. I was wondering which one or ones have you used? I might tinker this winter with sanding some old hacks I have in the basement and I'd like to put a finish coat that will really bring out the natural grain, but not have a candy coated shine. I have a set of M75s that I posted, the finish on these is really nice. I think its some sort of matte type finish. Could anybody recommend a product?


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#2 sausage100uk

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Posted 30 January 2010 - 09:23 AM

I use goldspar yacht varnish. no mixing, drying time of 15hrs between coats, seems to take the punishment. I apply mine with a brish so its not super shiny.

#3 Maxwell

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Posted 30 January 2010 - 09:49 AM

Frediec - I have only been doing 3R's for about 2.5 years and have about 100 Persimmons under my belt so my experience is limited. I noticed a line in your thread

"I'd like to put a finish coat that will really bring out the natural grain, but not have a candy coated shine"

In my short experience, I have started to learn about using white shelacs and laquers in bottled and canned liquid form which were used on older Persimmon woods. Shelacs and lacquers I've learned also came in different finishes such as matte and gloss. Then there are different levels of protective qualities for different liquid finishes and some finishes were "combined" stain and lacquer.

It's nice to see others try to "restore" clubs to "as originally manufactured condition as possible" as opposed to "candy coated finishes".

My suggestion to you is to do what your doing and try to find a "old timer" who has years of experience and "no one to share it with". They love guys like us. They know they have something to share and are eager to share it. Finding them is the hard part.

My teacher is Jack Baird from Wellend,Ontario, Canada. He's worked on around 200,000 golf clubs and learned his craft on Persimmon wood clubs.  He's got half a dozen certificates on the wall from Dynacraft and he doesn't advertise - he lets his work do the talking.

You know what would be awesome? Detailed manufacturing process sheets from manufacturers of Persimmon woods from the 20's, 30's to the 80's or talks given by craftsman from MacGreogr in the late 40's and 50's on how they manufactured those M85's and others. Books by those craftsman on building those clubs or even some type of journal on "how they built them" would be amazing. I dream about stuff like that. You can obviously tell I lead a pretty boring life. Donna(my wife) gives me a hug and tells me she loves me and then says," follow your heart!"

Edited by Maxwell, 30 January 2010 - 09:57 AM.


#4 freddiec

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Posted 30 January 2010 - 10:08 AM

Maxwell,
Great advice. That is my plan actually. I know an old timer., well, he's really not that old, LOL. (persimonpal). I know you know him. He's offered to teach me someday, which I will take him up on. I just wanted to get different opinions on what people use as finishes, which you've done.  I've seen some of the clubs you've done and your work is pretty nice!

#5 RobotDoctor

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Posted 30 January 2010 - 10:17 AM

I think that if one is able to talk with Don White, now with Scratch Golf, he could offer all the insight needed for the classic MacGregors.  I am sure he was taught by the people who actually made the persimmons from the 40s and 50s.


#6 Maxwell

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Posted 30 January 2010 - 10:20 AM

Never thought of that - good idea!

#7 sausage100uk

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Posted 30 January 2010 - 10:52 AM

Anyone replaced the inserts on persimmons? if so what did you use? I have a Nicoll 1 and 3 to do and need some ideas...



#8 Bella Woods

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Posted 30 January 2010 - 11:47 AM

freddiec

Persimmonpal does very nice work, he would be a good teacher. I have been refinishing clubs for about twenty years and learned by trial and error. Very good idea to start with some "veteran" clubs to practice on.

I have been told (by old clubmakers) and have read that polyurethane did not exist prior to 1960, so its not a good idea for the classic MacGregors of the 1950s. Shellac, lacquer, varnish and various oils (linseed, tung etc) were mostly used on the old clubs. The oils on the antique clubs. The thing is, there are many types of varnish, lacquer and shellac. And I have found that the term "varnish" is used generically in a lot of cases.

The "warm" satin or matte finishes you are referring to, in my opinion, are most easily applied by hand rubbing varnish or lacquer and "building" up the coats to the desired "sheen". There is a really good book called Hand Applied Finishes by a guy named Jeff Jewitt that I found very handy. He describes and demonstrates hundreds of finishing techniques and recites their histories in many cases. I think lacquer or varnish is almost always the best choice for classic clubs. But to hand rub them, they have to be thinned out, what you normally buy in the store is way to thick. Shellac is hard to work with in my opinion. The only time I use it anymore is to use it as a buffer coat to put polyurethane over varnish (you can't put poly over varnish).

Marine Spar Varnish is good but not as strong as polyurethane (plastic) if you are going to play the clubs. Lacquer is able to withstand play also (I play with many clubs that have spar varnish on them, it just wears faster).

Speaking to what Maxwell said about combined stain and lacquer, I have tried for many years to try to recreate the original purple/red finish that came on your favorite clubs (and mine), the M-85s. I still don't know how MacGregor applied that but it appears to be a colored stain over an already stained and filled head. I have come close to the original color by mixing stains.

In my opinion, you have to decide what type of refinsher you want to be. I would consider myself a "minimalist", I try to refinish a club to its original condition in a way that you can't really tell it has been refinished. The 1920s MacGregor World Win driver I posted a week or two ago is an example. It doesn't look perfect and I don't want it to. That club was a wreck when I started.

I always try to save all original decals, whipping, grips, shafts etc. and don't worry about deep nicks and dings in the wood/soleplates etc. Also, any backweights in my opinion should not be sanded smooth because then they look unnatural. Also, I own many types of sanding machines but I almost always hand sand all clubs. Paste wood filler is really important also, if you don't do it, it totally changes the way the finish looks.

Decals can now be recreated thanks to a relatively new product by a company in Florida (although I have thousands of original decals, I think I cleaned out Golf Works when they were still selling them). In the past you could not create a white decal because printers don't actually print white ink.

Have fun with your new hobby.

#9 freddiec

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 09:22 AM

Bella,
Thanks for the info. I also heard that wood filler is a good idea as well. You certainly know your craft, thats for sure..

#10 rgolf06

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 09:57 AM

well, i  sure  would  like to  buy some oil based filler like maltby used to have , cant seem to find any......anyone have ideas?


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#11 persimmonpal

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 02:24 PM

I got mine at Woodcraft.. It is not tinted like the Maltby stuff, but they sell dye powder, which you can use to tint the filler.
Works great! They also have water based filler too..

#12 rgolf06

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 07:11 PM

thanks persimmonpal, and i used to buy a clear 2part epoxy to patch faces , any idea where that can be bought? golworksmaltby,and golfsmith sold it in clear and red .i used mortite to build a dam around the insert .i started my business in 1980 based on wood repairs , and still operate a golf shop. it sure is a lot easier to repair the new ones, but the great feeling of recreating a beautiful wood cannot be beat for a craft..now, i need to post some pics of a few of my clubs when i get time to start some conversations.

ray

#13 persimmonpal

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 05:49 AM

Hi Ray~
Mortite! I use the same stuff to build dams when doing epoxy repairs on faces, etc..
As for the crystal clear epoxy, I have been using "Hardman Green Crystal Clear Epoxy".. This stuff is great! Unfortunately you cant buy in larger quantities, just single use premeasured packets. There are benefits hough.. you know exactly how much you have left, always the correct mixture. There is enough in each pack to do a pretty decent sized repair.. I sometimes find myself using more than one, but not often.The packs cost around 1.00 each.
The epoxy really is super-clear, sets up overnight, and is very strong.
Here is a link to an online retailer.
http://crscientific....poxy-green.html
Let me know if you want to try before you buy.. I can send a few packs out to you!
Post those pics!!! Would love to see some of your work!
Take care
John

Edited by persimmonpal, 04 February 2010 - 05:53 AM.


#14 rgolf06

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 11:55 AM

John,

wow..now i remember the hardman name ....been since 1990or so since i needed any.....thanks for the reminder...i am going to attempt some pics and a post later today.....first time for me, hope it turns out ok...not a real great computer guy ...
ray


#15 persimmonpal

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 01:20 PM

Ray~
Looking forward to seeing some pics Ray... Dont sweat the computer stuff; If you are thoughtful enough to be able to refinish a persimmon driver then you most likely can figure the computer out! lol..
Like I said, if you want a few packets of Hardman, just pm me your address, and I will send a few out to you gratis..
-John


#16 rgolf06

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 06:40 PM

ok persimmon pal and others....i messed up with pictures i think...i posted some kenneth smith stuff.....then i wanted to post some bert dargie , and wilson jp....but the site would not let me , said the files were too big, so i went into my profole page, deleted attachments...but then i found out that the kenneth smiths were gone from that first post....so how do i post more and not lose the pics in the threads before that?

help  please

thanks
ray


#17 cubfanbob

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Posted 04 June 2010 - 02:50 PM

Bella Woods -

You wouldn't happen to have any Sam Snead Blue Ridge decals for woods, would you?

I just found a set that matches my first clubs that I got back in 1966 and they need some work.
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#18 Bella Woods

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Posted 04 June 2010 - 08:43 PM

cubfanbob:

I do, PM me.

#19 dan360

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Posted 05 June 2010 - 02:37 PM

I haven't tried my hand at restoring or refinishing a wooden club because, well, I suck at woodworking.

Just a suggestion, but check with gunsmiths and gun stock builders for wood restoration and finishing materials.
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