Sealing a wood palette like the New Wave ones?

I really like their palettes but I am to cheap to own one. Would really like to try making one like it so I am hoping someone here knowledgeable in wood sealants could guess what they are using.. is it just a basic urethane or something else?


  • edited October 2021
    They are made by the Amish community. They use tung oil mixed with a citrus solvent. The solvent helps the tung oil penetrate the wood better, speeds up drying time and gives a citrus aroma. You'd just need to follow good instructions for tung oil - which would be sanding to about 150 grit, then several coats over about 3-4 days, allowing the oil to absorb but wiping it back each time so that it doesn't cure on the surface until you've had good penetration. Tung oil oxidises and polymerises in the same way that linseed oil does.
    I make musical instruments but I'm not a oil finish expert - I prefer spray on nitrocellulose lacquer and I use a glass palette for painting.
  • dencaldencal -
    edited October 2021

    Five coats of linseed is the recommendation from Jackson’s

    I too use glass palettes.
  • I use glass as well, with a neutral gray paper under the glass (instant value feedback), and then a piece of masonite on the bottom.  I duct tape everything together on 3 sides. The open side allows me to slide a piece of paper  under the glass and over the neutral gray paper. I find it useful to work out the color harmony on a small piece of paper before the painting; this is what I slide under the glass. Its very easy then to match the palette paint blobs to the color harmony. Hey, I need all the help I can get! Plus, for me, painting is also about problem-solving. 

    I have my palette resting on a small table next to me, not held in my nonpainting hand.
  • I spray paint the back of my glass in a neutral gray and have stick-on rubber feet for mine.
    But @desertsky I love the idea of the ability to slide references beneath the glass. That's just brilliant. I think my next palette will be like that.
  • edited October 2021
    Thanks guys, I appreciate it. I tried linseed but you do not end up with a new wave finish no matter what you do.. will try tung oil.

    I also use gray glass but recently realized that there are huge advantages to the old timey wood palette. You can step away from your painting and mix your colors when viewing it from several feet and you can also bring it up to the painting and tilt it so that it’s in exact same light.  No matter how much I fuss over my glass palette setup its just not the same. You can also tone the wood to the color of your canvas tone. I am all for making things easier!
  • NotACat - Yes, for your goals, a big and heavy glass palette will not work. I agree with making things easier. I never want to suffer for my art :)  Are you a Sargent aficianado?
  • Yep! And the Boston school in general
  • I don't know that palette, what is the finish you are looking for?  You can get everything from natural wood, to epoxy, as you prefer.  If you want an oil finish Watco, and Waterlox, are great.  I use Watco because it is designed for furniture, and you can eat off it after a few months.  A lot of cabinet guys seem to like Waterlox.  You simply apply either to surface, and wipe off before it gels.  You will need a few coats.  If you want high glass, at least with the Watco, you can build the finish as one normally would, then buff when it is hard.

    If you can't get linseed to dry, or be quite as glossy as you might like, mix it with a real varnish, or something like valspar polyurethane.  As much as 50/50.  The varnish will kick off the linseed and will make more of a top finish.  The absolutely classic version of this is Valspar semi gloss, boiled linseed oil, and polymerized tung oil in equal amounts.  Occasionally sold as Sam Maloof varnish.  For finish you want boiled linseed oil, and you want P. tung oil.  Do not get a tung oil preparation as it is probably a version of the short varnish described, and you won't get the right mix.  What you get is something that behaves like an oil finish but largely won't water mark from glasses.  Of course you are finishing a palette.

    If you look online you can find patterns for various famous artist's palettes, if you prefer that to basing one off a routine design, that may have been created with input for the shipping department.
  • Hey @NotACat
    If you already sealed the palette, all you need to do is start painting. The palette is going to slowly turn grey like the new wave palettes you're taking about.

    That's how it's looks like at the moment after about 15 paintings.

    I agree about the advantages of a wooden palette. I way prefer it to glass
  • Thanks for posting this- I've had trouble with getting a wooden palette to seal with linseed oil and just assumed I was doing something wrong. I've tried using a glass palette but definitely prefer a wooden one you can hold and walk around with...
  • @NotACat I checked the New Wave website and you can purchase their finish from them.
  • @Abstraction Thanks! I did not see that. They even have a video of the process on youtube. Good guys
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