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Tortoise finish, the special antique finish

Tortoise is an animal that is very well known. It is unique and special with hard shell on its back. The tortoise back has a distinctive shape and appearance. The uniqueness of the tortoise apparently has inspired designers to create furniture models with tortoise looked. The appearance of the tortoise is expressed and created by the finishing that is then called with the tortoise finish.
Tortoise finish is the finish that mimics the appearance of tortoise. It is the type of antic finishing that needs lot of hand works with special techniques. Here in this article we will share the finishing process to produce a tortoise finish.

Tortoise shell finish

The finishing process for tortoise finish.
1. Stain and wash coat application
Tortoise appearance is created with the combination of solid color or paint color with heavy antic effect with glaze or pad stain application thereon. The stain used is the base coat, paint or toner to make solid color as the base color of the finish. We need the base coat or toner with light color, such as: light brown, cream or off white base coat as the base color. The light base coat will be combined with the glaze with darker color to produce an interesting and lively looked tortoise finish.
Spray wet the base coat evenly to the wood surface, wait for about 30 minute to dry. We will get a rough surface, since the raised and stiffen of the wood fibers as the result of the base coat applications. Therefore, we need to sand the base coat layer. Use a # 280 or # 240 grade sand paper to sand the base coat layer to cut the stiffen wood fibers. 
One layer base coat usually is not enough to evenly cover the wood surface. The repeat the base coat application; apply the second base coat by wet coat spray, and wait to the base coat to dry.  Sand the base coat layer when it is dry. The second base coat layer is much more smooth then the first one, since most of the wood fibers are already cut off by the first sanding. Make sure that we sand the second base coat well, and the smooth surface is obtained.
After we get the base coat layer with smooth surface then we can layer a wash coat. The wash coat application is purposed to relieve the sand mark form base coat sanding. The sanding mark and rough surface will affect the glaze coloring; then we need to make sure that we well sand the base coat and layer the wash coat evenly. Wait until the wash coat layer dried check surface of the wash coat, make sure we got the wash coat layer with smooth surface, and the base coat with the right color.
2. Glaze application
The glaze application is the main step to produce the tortoise looked. Use the glaze with the color that is quite contras but still well blend with the color of base coat. Remember that the final finish color will be the combination from the color of base coat with color of the glaze. Glaze with a dark brown color such as V.D.B. or Burnt umber can be used on the cream or light brown base coat to produce an interesting tortoise finish.
Dry brushing the glaze with stippling technique evenly on the wash coat layer, do the highlights to the glaze layer. The tortoise effect is made in this finishing step, then do the glaze application correctly. It may take long time since it is fully hand work. Always check and control the color and effect resulted. But the glaze is very flexible and easy to be applied in this way; we can always wipe or reduce the glaze layer with steel wool every time we need. You can visit our previous post : stippling the glaze.  Make sure we got the right effect and color in this step. Wait for about 1 hour to let the glaze layer dry, then layer it with a sealer coat.
Let the sealer to dry, then check the color and effect we got. We may need to add some more glazes to get the right color and effect. Apply the glaze with the same color and technique as the first one. Let it dry and check the color we need. Make sure we got the finish effect we want.
3. Sealer application
Sealer is needed to give the film built and to make the smooth surface for the top coat application. Apply a layer of sealer by wet spray coat after we got the right color and antique effect from the glaze. Let it dry, and sand the sealer layer well. Use the # 280 or # 320 sandpaper to sand the sealer.
4. Top coat application
The top coat is the last layer in the finishing. Make sure the sealer is already well sanded, and the smooth and flat surface is obtained. Check the color of the finish; make sure we get the right color and effect. If necessary we can add some color with pad stain or glaze on the sealer layer. Then apply a layer of top coat as the final coat. Spray the top coat evenly to overall surface, make sure we do a even coat layer.

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