Saturday, July 13, 2013

Wait for it...

I know I promised pictures of the project this weekend. Well, it is in fact done. It's done in theory also, come to think of it. After fighting the weather for weeks, i was able to actually get finish on, and it actually dried. For those of you who don't know, this summer has been humid and rainy here in Central New York. I was wondering if I was ever going to be able to get the finish on.

The finish is simple.  I already talked (ok, wrote, ok, typed) about the black dye used on the maple and poplar to ebonize those.  The next step was two coats of shellac to seal in the color.  Finally, there are about five coats of semi-gloss polyurethane.  Why five coats?  I'm glad you asked.

While it is true that poly finishes are done in three coats, I didn't apply it full strength.  I used a 50-50 mix of poly and mineral spirits to create a wipe-on poly.  What I learned is that there are many benefits to using this method of finishing.

Ease of application is probably the most obvious benefit.  With the poly thinned down, you have better control over where the poly goes, and how thick it goes on.  Cleanup is also much easier. Just open up the rag you're using to wipe the poly on, spread it out on a noncombustible surface till it's dry, and throw it away.  The noncombustible thing is because heat is generated as the poly cures and could cause ignition of the rag.  My favorite benefit is the difference in drying time.  Had I used straight poly, I would have been able to get one coat on in a day.  If I was lucky, the previous coat would be dry enough for sanding and the next coat in about a day.  With the humidity we've had lately, this would have been more like a couple of days.  With the thinned poly, the coats go on more quickly for a couple of reasons.

First, there is more solvent (the mineral spirits) in there, which dries more quickly than poly.  Second, the layer of film (the poly) that's left is much thinner and able to dry more quickly than a thicker coat of brushed-on poly.  All of this is good information about finishing, but after the last few weeks, you don't want to know about this.  Sooo...

Wait for it...

Here it is...

Stacey's jewelry chest.

 Here, you can see the contrast between the beautiful cherry and the ebonized maple top, feet, and drawer lips.

I never realized what a pain peel and stick felt could be to apply.  Thankfully it came out alright.  The pulls on the doors and drawers are held in with epoxy, and the mirror under the lid is epoxied in place also

 This was also my first attempt at etching glass.  It could have been better, but at least the letters and numbers are pretty straight. The other side reads, "Happy anniversary Angel."  We were married in 2006, the 2013 should be self-explanatory.

 These pics show the necklace hooks, there is one on each side.

What were the reactions of the Shop Puppies?

 Moose! Moose! Look what I made for mommy.
 You woke me up for that?
Dale added her opinion, but you can't see her eyes.
Obviously the Shop Puppies are not interested in fine woodworking!

As always, I'm glad to read your comments.  I also invite you to follow me on Twitter @cnyredneck. You can also like me on Facebook  Look for me on Google+, too.


  1. Beautiful job, Dan!!

  2. Great job Dan. There is a great deal of work in a piece like this.

  3. Thanks for the compliments. Graham, you're right, it was more work than I actually expected. The good news is that I enjoyed the process, so it didn't seem like work- most of the time.