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Student desk #2: The devil is in the details..

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Blog entry by MarkTheFiddler posted 12-07-2014 01:52 AM 1461 reads 1 time favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Frame and top. Part 2 of Student desk series Part 3: Please give me time! »

Howdy,

I was supposed to visit a small saw mill about 80 miles north of me but I don’t have a truck. I was going to use our family van but Martha took my daughter to a Christmas parade and made an entire day of it. I got stuck at home so I worked on the desk. It needed a good sanding so I got on with it. About the time I was planning to go, I still didnt have the van so I said “Sanding sucks but I can do another hour.” 2 hours later, I was close to getting all the rough sanding done so I finished.

What a drag! I still have to do all the ‘finish sanding’. At least that part will go fast.

I did get to add dowels and I trim routed the desk top. Little details and a good sanding just seem to make projects jump to the next level.

I have also been thinking about how I want to skin the drawer cabinet. I have some terrible utility oak flooring. It will never be used on a floor.

I got the warped junk oak down to 1/2 inch thickness and removed the warps while I was at it. I think it’s going to look great. I just need to decide if I should fill the knotholes or not.

Thanks for reading!

-- Thanks for all the lessons!



14 comments so far

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

17172 posts in 2571 days


#1 posted 12-07-2014 02:14 AM

Hi Mark. You might want to leave the knot holes for character if is just for skinning the sides. but if you fill them, a contrasting color like the dowels would look nice!..........Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View MarkTheFiddler's profile

MarkTheFiddler

2053 posts in 1654 days


#2 posted 12-07-2014 02:33 AM

Jim,

I was thinking about leaving the knots but the thought of epoxy and walnut sanding dust is feeling just right. I like your vision.

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View patron's profile

patron

13538 posts in 2806 days


#3 posted 12-07-2014 02:45 AM

smart women
they got out before the sanding dust

desk looks great

felix navidad dude

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View stefang's profile

stefang

15512 posts in 2799 days


#4 posted 12-07-2014 01:40 PM

Your work so far looks excellent Mark. The little taper on the legs at the bottom are a very effective design element too.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View GrandpaLen's profile

GrandpaLen

1643 posts in 1738 days


#5 posted 12-07-2014 04:37 PM

Well the Desk is looking great and I think you should thank your wife for providing you with the ‘big chunk of shop time’ to bring it to this point, ‘cause now you don’t have to ‘look forward’ to several nights of sanding.
I know I would much rather look forward to a trip to that Mill than the sanding chores.

Your Desk top may be a challenge when it comes to building up even/level coats of finish. The alternating plys of long grain and end grain will absorb the finish quite differently, as I’m sure you’re aware. I think a couple coats of shellac and a light sanding might help to seal the end grain first. ...just a thought, you’ve probably already had.

Time to get back into the shop. My Great-Granddaughter is getting an American Girl Doll from Santa and he asked me to make a Bunk Bed and a Wardrobe to go with the doll. ;-)

Best Regards. – Len
Work Safely and have Fun.

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View MarkTheFiddler's profile

MarkTheFiddler

2053 posts in 1654 days


#6 posted 12-08-2014 12:09 AM

Patron, I always knew they were smarter than me. ;) Feliz Navidad!

Howdy Mike. It’s amazing how much extra time a little taper takes when you have to build a jig first. Thanks for noticing a simple touch. That simple touch is a small step forward in my woodworking skill.

Len, you are a true gentleman. I’m grateful for your advice every time. I’m also humbled that you instruct in such a way that would spare my feelings. We are always good my friend. If I were the best woodworker on this planet, it would only be because I listen to the advice of others.

Be that as it may, I aspire to be a decent woodworker so I can express my art better. You have helped me so much my friend. I’m able do things I have never dreamed of because of you and many other lumberjocks.

I still stumble quite a bit. I spend countless hours fixing. And yet, those hours are worthwhile because they mean I went out on a limb. They mean that I’m trying something new. They mean I’m ready to learn.

And then I completely luck out. You all offer a piece of advice that saves me from a big mistake. If you ever feel remotely hesitant about doing that, banish the thought my friend. I only learn by paying attention and considering. For some people, I don’t even have to consider. I just pay attention and take their words as fact. It’s a comforting shortcut. All 4 responders to this thread are such people.

If by chance I already know something you have shared. I am nonetheless grateful for the advice and for you taking the time to help. I can learn more from everyone if they believe my knowledge base is empty and I’m willing to learn. I would never fault someone for that.

Thanks you for a ll the help and advice everytime you give it!

I was planning to use tongue oil and dewaxed shellac. Is that a good combination?
I wonder, is advisable to add coats of shellac then sand them off until the end grain stabilizes? I may add a few extra coats and an extra week or so but I believe this process will eventually allow me to add consistent coats. If that’s the case, I can do my final sanding on the top and drawer fronts and start finishing process immediately.

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View GrandpaLen's profile

GrandpaLen

1643 posts in 1738 days


#7 posted 12-08-2014 04:41 AM

I think you will be good with 2 – 3 coats of shellac, the end grain will tell you when enough is enough.

In regards to the tong oil finish;
If you’re going to use a ‘Desk Pad’ for the writing area then tong oil should seal it well enough, in which case you will need to shellac the entire desk, albeit fewer coats on the vertical panels, so that the oil darkens equally on all surfaces.

If you think it may get used with out the pad, you will need a film forming finish, extra coats on the writing surface, as the end-grain plys will be too soft to stand up to a pen or pencil point. IMHO.

I may be showing my age, talking about a writing desk, in this age of electronic media, but on the off-chance that someone wrote something on a single sheet of paper, you wouldn’t want that to telegraph through to the finish.

Work Safely and have Fun. – Len

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View MarkTheFiddler's profile

MarkTheFiddler

2053 posts in 1654 days


#8 posted 12-08-2014 05:10 AM

Len,

Thank you sir. I do have another question now. I believe I under stand the film forming finish through context. Does the dewaxed shellac count? I don’t think my son will be using a desk pad. If not, can you point me in the right direction? I’ll use whatever you recommend except extract of mountain oyster. ;)

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View lightweightladylefty's profile

lightweightladylefty

3139 posts in 3178 days


#9 posted 12-08-2014 08:15 AM

Mark,

The desk is coming along great. I find that I learn a great deal by the questions others ask. Just knowing what to ask can make a big difference. And when the answer is something I already knew, well, it helps this forgetful mind to be reminded again! Keep up the good work!

L/W

-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View MarkTheFiddler's profile

MarkTheFiddler

2053 posts in 1654 days


#10 posted 12-08-2014 02:04 PM

L/W, Thank you very much for the kind compliment and words of encouragement.

I like lumberjocks and one on one training. I can ask the questions that are important to me without feeling like I’m ruining someone else’s learning experience. Of course one on one can try the patience of the instructor and website questions can go unanswered. There is no such thing as a perfect learning session.

I’m blessed by every answer I get from one of the masters here. I’m glad some of my blessings are yours as well. ;)

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View GrandpaLen's profile

GrandpaLen

1643 posts in 1738 days


#11 posted 12-08-2014 05:41 PM

Mark,
With pizza, cheeseburgers, sodas, PCs/keyboards, laptops and hobbies sliding around on that desk top I would like to recommend Waterlox Original. I have had great results with it over the years and it is really simple to repair the finish when and if need be.

I will defer the process to an excellent post on the Finishing Forum.

When LJ, KentuckyTreeRat, posted his questions, LJ, Charlie hit this one out of the Park.
Please refer to the link below. Excellent response Charlie. ;-)

http://lumberjocks.com/topics/51913

There are many finishes out there that would work just fine, but I can vouch for this one.

Work Safely and have Fun. – Len

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View MarkTheFiddler's profile

MarkTheFiddler

2053 posts in 1654 days


#12 posted 12-08-2014 07:22 PM

Len, thank you again. You went out of your way to find that post. I can see why. On top of that, it’s a good reminder to use clear finish on the first applications. I’m good thanks to you.

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View GrandpaLen's profile

GrandpaLen

1643 posts in 1738 days


#13 posted 12-09-2014 06:06 PM

Mark,

You’re welcome.
You are good because, You are Good.
When I see/read a post, Tip, Technique, or Review which is as in-depth as Charlies’ is, I bookmark it so that it is readily available. It saves a lot of research from past posts when a question arises here on our site or in my daily activities. (not to mention the time it takes to compose, at length, the info in Charlies’ response)
There is so much information and experience at the ready on the LumberJocks site it’s like a shout out to a family of Craftsmen/women who are more than happy to help you do your best to bring that special project to fruition.

...as I stated before, there are many great products out there and when we share our successes and our failures with others here on the site, it provides information to hundreds of others which, one day, my have a need for that specific information.

Always happy to share info for what it’s worth, ...just my 2ยข.

Best Regards in completing the Great Student Desk project.
Work Safely and have Fun.

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

9446 posts in 3518 days


#14 posted 12-20-2014 07:29 AM

Coming right along!

Looks REALLY GOOD!!

COOL work!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

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