This latest project has completely rocked my world. I’ve done the bottom piece of the bar…the the satisfying part being the woodworking piece. The finishing part is what makes me crazy. So many variables, and a whole lot of chemistry. I’ve made mistakes…big ones. The following series of phots are of the panels which will be pieced together into the pony wall of the breakfast bar. I had shellaced one of the panels three times as well as applied a coat of stain and it came out poorly. So I resanded the entire piece…oh my…as well as sanding down the other pieces that I put too much shellac on…they pooled and frankly I just need to get better at it. I’ll reshellac the pieces tomorrow and then look at staining again.
And I sanded and sanded…
These are that other panels that I sanded down…but fortunately hadn’t stained. I sanded off most of the shellac cause I applied too much and it pooled.
There’s an end panel I didn’t take a pic for…anywho…there ya have it and this is the set of draws at the end of the breakfast bar. End the boards beside it are the finished footer and header that’ll go over the panels.
That’s it for today…I’m planning to put three coats of 2 pounds of shellac and then apply an oil based penitrating stain…it should come out as an amber, or light brown finish, matching the kitchen cabinets.
I took teejay’s advise and purchased a paint spray gun. It hooked it up to the compressor and did a couple of test runs in the shop. What a mess. So I elected to take the project outside and give it a spray there. I’m using shellac sealer Zinsser dewaxed 2 lb straight up with cuting it. Now I’ll have a snooze (did I mention I’m on holidays right now?) and see my results. Each section I did seemed to come out a little different – we’ll see how it dries.
I got up early and had full intentions to exercise. But my exercise room is in my shop and I was eager to see how the stain would take on the breakfast bar wall panels. There was some bleeding through the shellac…but over all is all went pretty weel.
Here’s the bleeding part:
and here’s a closer look:
...and here’s where the stain didn’t bleed through:
I used a spray gun to apply the shellac sealer, full 2 lb strength, three coats, and then wiped on the oil based stain.
The jury is out on how I feel about the look of it (very subtle amber, although the colour is right it is a little too glossy. I’m hoping the final coat of Varathane satin will taker ‘er down a notch)...but really, it’s time to move on.
The following is chronicaling laminating a small piece of maple to be placed at the bottom of the set of drawers, whiohc will be at the livingroom end of the breakfast bar.
First I chose the piece to be working with. It’s maple of course, but with considerable curls and details that I liked in it.
This is the cabinet I’m working with. I built it about a month ago and will explain more about it as we go.
I’m seeking to fill the bottom space wihich is about 9 1/4” X 21”. The board I’m working with is rough cut which poses a number of chellenges. The first is to make both straight and flat. I decided to change the planner blades in my DeWalt planner first. This is the DW735. It has done a lot of what I’ve asked of it in the last couple of years. The blower is great and when attached to my Delta dust collector 50-760 1.5 HP 1200 CFM, it sucks like nobodies business (smiling). It’s a nice set up.
Replacing the blades on this unit is a snap. But I gotta say I was disappointed in the results of the new blades. There were lines left in the wood that I had to sand out after I did some planning with it. Maybe I put them in wrong…but I doubt it.
Anyway, I first needed to chop the board in half to made it more managable on the jointer. I’ve handled 8 to 9 foot boards, but they’re heavy…the shorter the board the easier it is to handle on the jointer.
Oh, that there is my buddy Botsch compound sliding miter saw. I’ve had it for years and apart from my table saw it’s the one tool I use the most. The gear under ‘er I purchased last year while building the house, so as to be able to move ‘er around the yard. It’s a great thing to have and I wished I’d purchased it years ago.
After cutting the board down I needed to edge the pieces so as to have a straight edge to slide on the table saw fence.
That there’s a King jointer…yep a King, but it’s an industrial one and has served me fine for a year now. I have it connected to the dust collector.
Once I have a straight edge I cut the two boards down to 4” each. I do that so I can handle them on the jointer again, this time seeking to flatten them.
That’s a Jet table saw that I bought off a woman who won it in a raffle…she had never used a table saw and realy only wanted a picnick table. So for about $600 and a picnick table IO got this bad boy and have used it almost weekly for many many years. My dad weilded a frame for the bottom and put wheels on it. Being able to moce the saw around the shop is very important.
I’ve learned that planning boards with the thickness planner is much easier when one of the sides is flat. So I run the 4” boards flat over the jointer about the times set at 1/6”.
Once all the boards are flattened they’re ready to be run through the thickness planner.
I do as instructed in the thickness planner manual and flip the board from side to side through the process. I’ve learned through hard knocks that doing lots of runs taking off thin layers at a time is much much better than trying to take a deep cut right off the bat. Go slow…be patient…I keep reminding myself.
Once I’ve run all the boards through and have their thickness the same I need to edge the boards again on the jointer. Why? you ask. Because now they’re flat and true they run a solid 45 degrees on the jointer fence. This is very very important cause you need a 45 degree edge so as to laminate the boards without gaps betwqeen them. Many many times I’ve not had the fence set proper and have ended up with ugly gaps betwen the laminated wood.
And here’s the space I’m trying to fill.
After edging all the boards I check to see if they’re flush with eachother…and they’re not too bad, although I later have to do some cheating with fill.
Then I cut the board into 9 1/4” lengths as I start to prepare to laminate them.
Then I set them up how I want them and mark where I will be placing the biscut joiner.
After putting in the biscuts and clamping it all together I let the glue set up for a couple hours. Then I removed the laminated board from the clamps and got ready to sand.
My sanding process is with grits 60, 80, 120, 180, 220, distilled water to raise the grain, 320 by hand.
I soon see that all my careful joining edging isn’t perfect and I need a little filler to hide a join line.
The sanding takes a while but it’s always worth the time.
And then it fits in the space. I wanted the bottom of the set of draws to be inset a bit like this…but now I’m not certain why…I it’s wood, so it’s good…right?
Bar Top Supports:
The next set of pics are just showing me puting together the two supports that will hold up the bar table part itself. I used my DeWalt jig saw and hand cut the pieces after drawing the pattern on the wood…I was going for a long sort of batman look….I don’t know…but I like the way they turned out.
I didn’t get a pic showing it but I screws the pieces together through the back.
These are, of course, upside down.
So after much diliberation I decided to scrap the wall…just was nuts about the finished product. I’ll use those boards for window sills in the boy’s rooms later. I’ve had a complete change of heart around the look and feel of the finish. I will abandon my quest for the perfect stained piece of maple and return to what I know best, when it comes to finishing, and that’s tongue oil. I usually use Danish oil, but I’m very comfortable and happy to be using oil again.
Off I went to the maple wood pile.
I was also abandoning the whole notion of working with clear wood…I’ve always been drawn to wood with character…the more heart it has, knots, curls and faults the better. So again, I’m returning to what’s familiar to me. And I grabbed these rough cut boards to work with.
My learning about laminating from the beginning of this project is that the more work I put into the front end of preparing the wood the less I have to do when it comes to sanding (or so I’m hoping).
So I sent easily 8 hours planning and edging the wood, then truing it up.
This was my machine set up, running the wood over the jointer and then the planner…taking the rough cut wood from 1 7/8” down to 1 3/4” was extremely time consuming and filled one and a half bags of saw dust.
I put an old door slab on saw horses on the other side of the planner to catch the wood as it came through. All in all it was a tidy little set up for the work. Those new blades I’d just put in the planner were dull by the end of this job.
And then I got to doing the biscut joining thing and gluing and here’s the clamping.
And it’s now ready for sanding.
This is a 28” piece or section and I need to another one and then a 48’ section…all pieced together as a complete 97” X 43” wall.
At the end of the day here I managed some progress, but not a lot to show for it. It was very difficult working with the oards for the second panel. The more narly the wood, the more twisted, curved, and bent it is. Getting the board to line up to be laminated was quite a feet…involved a lot of persuation.
But even clamping it and making damn sure that the biscuts were lined up and everything I still had ridges to sand out…starting with 60 grit paper on the sander it took me a couple of hours to get through the first piece and probably another hour with 120 grit. I skipped the 80 grit step cause frankly I was down right tired of snading.
I have the second panel clamped and tomorrow I’ll finish sanding the first panel down to 220, then wet sanding to 320…then…thank God, I’ll be through Danish Teak oil on it.
...enough for one day. Back at ‘er tomorrow.
So I’ve been struggling with this stuff as usual…I did a whack of more samples to try and get the finish down right. I tried using Danish Oil, and Tung Oil, and actually that product called Danish Teak Oil (which is really linseed oil) turned the wood green and the blotching, along with all the oil samples. I was very disappointed.
I had spent so much time sanding and preparing the new panels I certainly didn’t want to wreck them. The fellow at the paint shop suggested Sikkens Clear Coat satin finish. I gave that a try and it was a nice finish…like I really hadn’t done anything to the wood. Then I tried staining after two coats of the clear finish. I tried a gel stain and a penetrating oil stain. I was happy with the gel satin finish. I then put another coat of Sikkens over that, then for the hell of it put another layer of gel stain on it. I liked it. I was duplicating the same process I’d used with shellack. But I didn’t like the gloss finish of the shellack and I liked the application of the Sikkens…just seemed to go on more evenly, and the Sikkens seems to stain better than the shellack. BUT getting the wood completely sealed still remains the trick as even on the test pieces some got through.
I first applied the Sikkens on the panels using a brush. I suck at painting. I recognize the skill involved in an even brush stroke and I know I have not acquired that skill. So I switched to the sprayer on the next set of coats. And that took requires a talent I’m still seeking. So I pursued that. I messed up and fixed things I sanded and re-sprayed…I clogged that damn thing up so many times and sprayed too little then too much, and, ya, just had a difficult time with the process. Hulling the panels outside and inside I managed to pull a muscle in my back. After three goes at the panels with spray I did a test on a part of the panel that will be hidden by the fotter board.
The shot above shows how the stain has bleed through the clear finish. This one below may show it more clearly.
Well needless to say that’s what I’m trying to avoid. So I got to thinking that I wasn’t spraying enough clear coat on and had another go at it. It’s drying right now. But here are so shots of them drying.
While I wait for it to dray before seeing if it is ready for the first coat of gel stain, I started playing with what the drawers could look like. I have a few very unique curly maple boards and I took one out and cut off a piece. The pics below don’t do the wood justice…right after it went through the planner it just came alive.
Wild wood eh.
After cutting it up I placed the wood where it might go…I’m not sure if I want the piece flush inside the drawer or on the outside. Unfortunately I didn’t get the opening completely square…that really bites. I could hide that by having the drawer face on the outside.
Or maybe it’s the wrong piece of wood altogether…might not really match. Or maybe the bottom piece is out of place – although it matches the laminated panels that will be beside it.
I could use some feedback if folks have an opinion on which way I ought to go on this….I think more about this and go sand some other pieces while I wait for the Sikkens to dray.
Later that day
The clear coat had dried and I held my breath and slapped on the gel stain…and it worked! I doubt anyone could see the difference in the pics here below, but I’m on the right track…success. I may want it a little dark, and so will probably stain it again after it dries. F#@K that was a lot of freakin work just to learn how to get a shade of darker look on the maple. My word!
Tomorrow I’m back at the office and back into that whole world. GAWD. Here are my results.
These are the guys that came through for me:
Like I say I’m doubting you’ll be ale to see the diffence.
So that’s it….I think I got it, and now I’m back to work…oh well, there’s always the weekends.
Success! The Morning After
After the stain had dried I brought a panel in to see if I’d matched the wood colour of the kitchen….seems to have worked. The Kitchen is from Rona, and is made from Hickory and has an Amber Stain to it. I didn’t have enough time, or confidence, to build the cabinets myself. In the show room this tone of amber was appealing…but in hind sight matching this tone in maple has been the bain (sp?) of my existence.
This is the wall that the panels and cabinet will cover. In this particular place the set of draws will go. But I was just seeing if it all matched up.
...and now, I’m off the the office (oh what a shame).
The Weekend – Feb. 08
Well, actually I get every other Monday off and today is one of those great days.
I wasn’t sure how I would get the cabinet in and out of the shop without messing up the finish after spraying on the clear coat. So, be committed to this process, I emptied my exercise room (small as it is) and turned it into a spraying/drying room. Worked well enough.
And I sprayed a coated of Sikkens clear coat satin over the gel stained panels and gave the cabinet it’s first coat.
After the this coat had dried over the gel stain I noticed that the panels didn’t match (arg)...the two 28” panels were a shade lighter than the 42” panel. So I gave them another coat of gel stain. I’m glad I did, although I was nervous about doing it. The shades are not exactly the same, but closer and I’m sure once they dry it’ll be all good.
These shots are with the flash.
...and without the flash.
I’ll put yet another coat of clear satin over these panels to seal the works. All in all I’m liking the look…although I’m constantly second guessing myself.
I remember what I liked about the hickory cabinets with the amber finish…I liked that it wasn’t glossy, and that the grain was toned down…I thought at the time it looked classy. So, I’m sticking with that.
I’ll put another coat, maybe two on the cabinet before tempting applying the gel stain…but not until next weekend.