Using Amaco Rub ‘n Buff For the First Time
I’ll start this article by saying that I am not a person who does craft projects on a regular basis. I do the standard maintenance around the apartment, paint the occasional wall, and hang shelves when necessary, but I am not a ‘crafter’ by any stretch of the imagination. That being said, Amaco Rub ‘n Buff is one of those products that is so easy to use, that even an amateur like me wound up with a very nice finished product. I coated 17 small wooden cubes in each of the available Rub ‘n Buff colors, some of which can be seen below.
First impressions – using Rub ‘n Buff is a bit like working with a thick finger paint with a very fine grit (the metallic flakes). Make sure you shake the tube a good bit before squeezing. On first opening, several tubes had separated so that what came out was a thin liquid full of pigments and metallic flakes while the wax stayed behind, but a quick shake was all that was needed to blend the contents effectively. Be sure to use it sparingly at first – a little goes a long way. Each of the cubes (3/4″ on all sides) required only a pea-sized amount to cover fully.
I used both methods of application recommended by the manufacturers – a finger and a dry cloth. Using your finger is the more effective of the two methods and results in the least waste (quite a bit gets absorbed into the cloth), but your hands look like they have been bronzed when you are finished. Acetone gets most of the paint off, but you are still left with a lot of the metallic flakes and pigmentation stuck in the grooves of your fingers. It wears off in a day or two at most. Using a dry cloth results in a lot of wasted material and a very shiny rag. I haven’t tried running the cloth I used through the washer yet – no idea if it will come out and how it will effect everything else in the load. I would recommend application by hand, just be prepared for a mess afterward.
The directions on the package suggest letting your project dry overnight and then buffing with a clean cloth for a greater luster. It was pretty apparent that the my cubes were dry after about an hour. That could be because the wood absorbed the moisture quickly, so be prepared to wait longer with plastic and metal projects. A little light buffing did bring out the shine for the more metallic colors, but there isn’t much you can do to make ‘patina’ shiny. So unless the words ‘gold’, ‘silver’, or ‘copper’ are in the title, there isn’t much shine to be had. Not that the non-metallic colors aren’t perfectly nice. Check out the photos below to see what I mean.
All in all, I was very impressed with Rub ‘n Buff. It is very easy to apply, and the result is a very nice looking metallic or jewel-toned finish. I’d be interested to try it out on some other types of surfaces. For wood, it seems to work very well. On plastic and metal, I would expect it to take a while longer to dry.