Finishing and finishing
I have completed my TV stand and it came out better than I hoped. I learned a lot from this project and can’t wait to make my next piece of interior furniture.
I wish I could say everything went off smoothly but I had a few problems finishing the project. One major problem was splotching, where one area stains dark than another. I also had a hard time learning to fill the wood. I tested about 12-15 different stains and dyes until I came across two of them that I really liked.
This is something to remember, when making a project, purchase extra wood so you can test various stains and your complete finishing process.
I used a test board and went through my entire finishing process. When I started putting the stain on the project, it was a different color than what was on the test board. It was too dark and I didn’t like it. So I sanded the wood and used the second stain I liked and it turned out to be perfect.
My last blog left off with my project being sanded with 220 grit.
If I were to do it over again I would sand it all to 320 grit. I think African mahogany needs to be sanded to a higher grit because it’s so porous. I read a lot of articles about finishing mahogany but I think the articles are talking about genuine mahogany where as African mahogany is more porous and caused me more problems.
Once I finished sanding, I used a vacuum to remove the dust. I then used Mineral Spirits to remove the remaining dust. I wiped on a coat of 1 pound cut dewaxed SealCoat.
This is another thing I would do different. Since I had a problem with splotching I would wipe on a thicker coat of shellac. I would use at least 1.5 pound cut if not a 2 pound cut.
I tried different stains from General Finishes. They can be purchased from woodcraft or Rockler. I tried a formula that the WoodWhisper suggested. He used Merlot as an under coat then wiped on their gel Brown Mahogany. I tried this and didn’t like it. I tried merlot under a lot of other colors but didn’t like any of them. I did come across two colors that I really liked but not for this project; their Warm Cherry and Vintage Cherry were beautiful colors. Some people use their Rosewood stain, which I also tried, on Mahogany. I almost decided on this stain because it would give it a very dark, Bombay Furniture, type finish. Since it wasn’t exactly what I wanted, I decided to order some powder dyes from Lockwood.
W. D. Lockwood
I read a few articles of Fine Woodworking in which the author used a Lockwood powder dye finish. I was told the Lockwood is also sold by Woodworker Supply but under their brand, J. E. Moser. I purchased 5 different colors; 3 were water based (Colonial Red, Redder Mahogany #333, Standard Red Mahogany #54, Conlonial Dark Red Mahogany #34) and 2 were alcohol based (Bismark Brown, Dark Red #5083, Bismark Brown, Reddish #6288). The two colors I liked were # 333 and # 34 (this is the color I ended up using).
I use Ball glass jars for mixing my stains, shellac and other things. I purchase the 32oz in a 12 jar case and the 64 oz. jars in a 6 jar case. I found the best price for these is at an Ace Hardware. There are so many uses for these jars.
I mixed the powder dyes in the jar. I then filter the dye into another jar. I tape the label that came with the dye on the jar.
After getting the stain correct, I wiped on a coat of 2 pound cut shellac.
Water and oil based fillers – In the articles I read if you use water base you use it before you stain where as if you use oil base you stain first, then put a layer of shellac then fill the wood.
Behlen’s Mahogany filler
I first tried Behlen’s Mahogany filler but no matter what I tried the filler dyed the wood almost black. I tried a bunch of different things but no matter what I tried it ruined the wood. Not only didn’t it work but it’s a mess to work with. If you notice in the photo below the liquid on the top has to be mixed with the rest of the filler. This makes a complete mess so use gloves, a lot of newspapers and even another mixing cup.
Behlen’s Natural Filler
Next I tried Behlen’s none colored wood filler. This filler is a grey color and needs to be colored. If you don’t color it the filler stays grey. Again I tried a bunch of different things but couldn’t get it to work. It wasn’t as messy because it didn’t stain everything it touched but I still didn’t like working with it. Someday I’ll try it again with a different type of wood.
CrystaLac Clear Waterborne Wood Grain Filler
I tried this filler but didn’t like it at all. It covered the wood in a clear coat. When I tried to sand the coat off the top and leave the filler in the pores, the sanding removed some of the stain. I might try this again on something else or try putting a couple of coats of shellac over the stain before I use it but I really didn’t like the way it looked.
After trying all these things, including pore filling with rottenstone and pumice, I discovered that if I added a couple more coats of a 2 pound cut shellac to the stained wood, then use the Behlen’s Mahogany wood filler on top of that, it wouldn’t stain the wood and worked perfectly.
It took a long time getting to this point but after I discovered this, it comes out perfect.
It takes a few days for the wood filler to completely dry. You need to wait until you can’t smell it anymore.
Here’s a few very good articles about filling Mahogany. Sorry but they are all from FineWoodworking and you need to have a Subscription to view the articles.
1. Making your own filler
2. Finishing Mahogany
3. Bring out the best of Mahogany
Woodcraft had a good sale on the Earlex HV5500 sprayer so I purchased one. I can’t say enough good things about it. It’s amazing and if you’re thinking of getting one, get it. It is well worth the money.
I used the sprayer and sprayer 5 light coats of a 2 pound cut of shellac.
Behlen’s RockHard Tabletop Varnish
I wanted something more durable on the top than just shellac so I sprayed 3 light coats of the rockhard table top varnish. I wasn’t sure if this stuff could be sprayed because it is thick, but I was advised to thin it 50%, which I did and it worked great.
Attaching the Top
After everything was finished I used table top fasteners (the type of clip that slip into a groove) to secure the top to the case. I didn’t fill the backside of the top only the topside. You can tell a big difference between the two sides.
I used a handheld router and routed small slots for the clips.
Attaching the front molding
I used screws to attach the molding and only used glue to glue the seems together.
I installed one of the doors even though I haven’t installed the knobs yet, I have some knobs on order.
I would have like to added some molding under the top edge but since I messed up on the sizing of the top it wouldn’t have looked right.
It took awhile to get everything done but I wasn’t in a hurry and I learned so much. I hope the sharing of my work helps others.
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