Woodwhisperer Poker Chip Tray #4: Sanding, Sanding and more Sanding....did I mention Sanding?

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Blog entry by Brad_Nailor posted 08-14-2008 09:37 PM 7662 reads 2 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Making progress...and lots of chips! Part 4 of Woodwhisperer Poker Chip Tray series no next part

OK, let me apologize right up front…I didn’t take any pictures of the next few operations..they were really basic stuff, and I was so focused on completing them I just didn’t think to grab the camera. I last left you when all the trays were glued up and ready for routing. First I did some preliminary sanding of the ends. I clamped the top and bottoms together and installed the belt on my Rigid drum sander. I clamped a temporary straight edge perpendicular to the belt to keep the ends as square as I could. After squaring the ends up I installed a core box bit in my router table to route the shallow grooves in the pieces. I had to double side tape a piece of 1/4” MDF to the table due to the bit being too long and I couldn’t get the groove shallow enough. So after the grooves were routed, I gave the ends a slight round over. With all the routing operations finished, I then began the task of sanding. Most of the pieces were sanded to 150 already, so after sanding all the routed areas to 150 I sanded the rest of the pieces to 220. That was a long and tedious process to get into all the areas inside the holes near the inside edges x 10 separate halves! It was also quite tedious to sand the shallow grooves..I had to use a dowel with sandpaper wrapped around it and try to go with the grain. I ended up just going against the grain till I reached the 220 level and then sanded with the grain to make the sanding scratches disappear. It was a long process but always worth it, because if you chince out on the sanding your finish suffers.

Speaking of finish I was going back and forth between shooting these with cans of Deft or having a friend of mine who works at the same cabinet shop I used to, to spray them with professional catalyzed lacquer. I really don’t mind finishing, but this guy has been spraying lacquer for 15 years, they have a professional spray booth and this stuff covers better than 5 coats of Deft ….in two coats. I would have been spraying cans, in my garage, picking dust and bugs out of the finish. So I had my buddy shoot them …and it was the right descesion..they came out awesome! HERE ARE SOME PICTURES..
I borrowed 20 chips from the guy I am making these for so I could test out the fit..

So, all thats left is to install the little rare earth magnets in the holes, maybe throw a couple coats of fine cabinet wax on them and they will be done!


13 comments so far

View Richard Williams's profile

Richard Williams

162 posts in 3210 days

#1 posted 08-14-2008 09:46 PM

Wow, Las Vegas here in the desert could use those holders. Very nice job Brad.

-- Rich, Nevada,

View Callum Kendall's profile

Callum Kendall

1918 posts in 3121 days

#2 posted 08-14-2008 10:17 PM

They look great!

Thanks for the post


-- For wood working podcasts with a twist check out

View Bigbuck's profile


1347 posts in 3081 days

#3 posted 08-14-2008 10:40 PM

Nice job, those look great

-- Glenn, New Mexico

View Quixote's profile


206 posts in 3056 days

#4 posted 08-14-2008 10:59 PM


These are really great works, I’m intrigued by the finish.

Catalyzed Lacquer? I’m not familiar with a commercial product of ‘catalyzed lacquer’. Catalyzed urethanes, polyurethanes and epoxies are common to me, and adding a small amount of catylist to a base coat of lacquer to enhance a chemical crosslink to a urethane topcoat is common practice in the automotive refinish industry.

Catalyst doesnt dry, it hardens, it activates a chemical in the base paint that combines to form a different compound that becomes a solid. Lacquer dries by the solvent evaporating so it literally dries out. Mixing the two isn’t exactly oil and water,but they are different.

I’ve also used a small amount of catalyst in automotive lacquer to improve flow out, but this was always a bit of a ‘voodoo coctail’ that no paint company would warranty. The very small amount of catalyst will pull enough moisture from the air to harden, but I’ve always topcoated with a polyurethane clear afterwords.

Could you tell us more?


-- I don't make sawdust...I produce vast quantities of "Micro Mulch."

View Betsy's profile


3333 posts in 3314 days

#5 posted 08-14-2008 11:01 PM

Hey David those look great! I’ve been thinking of making a set of these for my boss for Christmas this year. You’ve inspired me to think more seriously of it.

Thanks for the post.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View Brad_Nailor's profile


2539 posts in 3375 days

#6 posted 08-15-2008 02:28 AM

Thanks for the nice comments everyone! I appreciate it..

I should have been more specific…it’s precatalyzed lacquer. here is an explanation of it from the woodweb..

Precatalyzed vs. catalyzed lacquer
The technical differences between these two types of lacquers. July 18, 2000
Is precatalyzed lacquer the same as a catalyzed lacquer?

There are basically two types of catalyzed lacquer: Pre-catalyzed has the catalyst added at the factory, where with post-catalyzed, you add the catalyst at the time of use.

Pre-cats are generally a little slower in dry time and cure because the catalyst is not as powerful, or “hot.” There are also blocker solvents in the lacquer that help prevent the chemical reaction from taking place in the can.

This results in long pot lifes, 6 months or better, and no hassle with adding catalyst. In a word, convenience.

Post-catalyzed lacquers dry and cure faster, and are better for high production uses. I think they cure to a little tougher film, but I cannot put a number on it. Pot lifes can range from a couple of days to a couple of weeks.

Ultimately the chemistry is similar; it just depends on what your specific needs are, speed or convenience.
John Buries, technical advisor

I don’t know the exact brand they use..I think it might be Mohawk..they buy it in 5 gal cans and the dealer puts the pre catalyst in before we would pick it up. Then it would go from there into the spray pots. The benefit of this type of finish over non catalyzed is the finish sets up faster than non catalyzed and it looked to me that you can spray it on a little thicker and it doesn’t run or sag as easy. You only need two coats to get great coverage.Hope that answers your question!


View SteveKorz's profile


2134 posts in 3132 days

#7 posted 08-15-2008 02:46 AM

Wow, these are cool!! Very nice…

-- As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) †

View john's profile


2362 posts in 3800 days

#8 posted 08-15-2008 02:49 AM

Beautiful work David!!! . That looks like a lot of work but well worth the results .

-- John in Belgrave (Website) ,

View jeanmarc's profile


1897 posts in 3134 days

#9 posted 08-15-2008 03:38 PM

Nice job, those look great

-- jeanmarc manosque france

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 3304 days

#10 posted 08-15-2008 05:05 PM

Very nice thanks for the post!!!!

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14167 posts in 3401 days

#11 posted 08-17-2008 05:58 PM

yow ! very precise work. crisp

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View CraftsmanCollective's profile


46 posts in 2980 days

#12 posted 09-09-2008 01:26 AM

WOw, those are really cool. I love poker, some day I’ll have to get on making some of these…or just buy a set from you..

-- Robby Myer, Walnut Creek, CA

View Ken90712's profile


16863 posts in 2607 days

#13 posted 12-07-2010 12:41 PM

Very well done!

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

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