Greene & Greene Magazine Rack - my "own" design #9: Double disasters.... and recovery ending with assembled case

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Blog entry by Mike_D_S posted 07-01-2016 04:30 AM 2053 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 8: Doing the finish on the case and shelves, case assembly Part 9 of Greene & Greene Magazine Rack - my "own" design series Part 10: Breadboard top assembly and dye, preparing the ebony accents »

I’ve been busy with a few other tasks around the house and the weather has not been cooperating much, but i finally got a chance to spray the final lacquer top coats on Tuesday. I use a poor boy spray booth which is essentially an EZ-Up with 2 or 3 sidewalls (depending on the breeze). It works well for small projects and as my house is right in the middle of a fairly heavily treed neighborhood, the wind break effect lets me get away with it. But it does mean that I have to wait for right-ish conditions to spray.

Tuesday seemed like a good day to give it a whirl and I got out and set up the ez up,hung the sidewalls and then set up the collection of portable benches and my lazy susan I use when I spray. I have previously had good luck spraying the DEFT brushing lacquer and it’s available at the HD 3 minutes from my house. So I set up like always and gave a quick test pass spraying just thinner on a piece of spare board to check the pattern. A few tweaks and I add the lacquer to the gun. I start spraying on the bottoms of the shelves and did the three shelves and set them aside to dry, getting ready to spray the backs of the shiplap panels.

Now here is where it gets a bit pear shaped. I noticed that the lacquer is almost seizing up on the shelf bottoms. It’s got a very rough texture and just generally looks like crud. Now it’s pretty hot by this point and I’m thinking it’s simply drying too fast to flow out, but this DEFT lacquer is supposed to be for brushing, so I’m guessing it has retarder in it already? So I’ve basically ruined the top coat on the bottoms of the shelves and I’m not in a super great mood. I clean the gun and decide to get professional advice.

I head out to Epic Paint which is a local shop that has been recommended to me by a full time cabinet maker I know. My wife is home, so I don’t break everything down, I just jump in the car and take off (this will be important shortly). I get to Epic about 25 minutes later and talk to the guy there. I explain my problem, he tells me in a nice way don’t spray brushing lacquer. I ask what he recommends and he suggests Gemini pre-cat which he says will be fine with the heat. So I buy the Gemini and head to the house.

So on the way home, I notice it’s getting sort of dark towards my house. Pop up showers are not that unusual in Houston, so I don’t think to much about it. But five minutes later it’s getting really dark and now the wind is picking up a bit and I’m starting to get a little nervous about having to pack everything up in the rain. But it gets better, while I’m worried about the rain, the wind at the house is apparently gusting like crazy and it flips the dang ez up. This knocks over the workbenches and the shelves and the shiplap back panels all end up either in the grass or on the driveway. My wife calls to tell me this when I’m ten minutes from the house. She picks the pieces up off the ground for me, but by the time I get home I’m just flat out furious at myself for leaving everything set out. The case itself was also out under the ez up, but fortunately it didn’t get damaged.

So I arrive at the house, collapse the ez up, pick up the scattered bits and pieces, put away the tools and try to find my happy place. After cooling down, I inspect the pieces and as you would expect from bouncing things along a concrete driveway, in addition to a bad lacquer job, several of the pieces now have major league scrapes. So I just put it all away and go inside to consider selling all my tools and picking a new hobby.

Wednesday morning dawns and I go out in the garage to survey the carnage. After looking at everything, I realize that through pure blind luck, all the major damage areas are in places that won’t be visible. So I realized that I can save all the pieces with careful sanding and a little tweaking. So I put on the apron and about four hours later, I’ve sanded out all the scrapes, taken the bad lacquer off and touched up the dye as necessary. The bottoms of the shelves don’t have the same deep luster the shelf tops have, but I decide I can live with that and that anybody who comes in my house and notices the shelf bottoms are not the same can just go home.

With all that done, this morning I decide to get back on the horse. First thing is I started earlier in the morning so it wouldn’t be as hot. I setup the ez up and get everything ready. I stirred the Gemini and setup the gun and now it’s the moment of truth. I spray the bottom of one of the shelves and put it aside for about 10 minutes. This time results are as expected and the lacquer flows out and dries just as expected. So I get busy and about an hour later I’ve got two coats of lacquer on all the pieces and the case.

I give the last coast of lacquer a bit to dry well and then go ahead and assemble the case. Despited all the trials and issues, the piece looks good and if you didn’t know about the disasters, you wouldn’t know it from looking at the case.

So the last thing to do is to finish the top, but the case itself is essentially done. So if you’ve read through this very long post, then here are the pics of the piece as it sits.

-- No honey, that's not new, I've had that forever......

8 comments so far

View BurlyBob's profile


3485 posts in 1688 days

#1 posted 07-01-2016 04:55 AM

That’s real nice looking. I really like how you placed the grain pattern.

View JimYoung's profile


219 posts in 1010 days

#2 posted 07-01-2016 01:12 PM

Hi Mike,

I’m glad you were able to salvage the situation. Its amazing how little cooling off helps you refocus.

The piece is looking great.

-- -Jim, "Society is well governed when its people obey the magistrates, and the magistrates obey the law." -- Solon

View splintergroup's profile


734 posts in 645 days

#3 posted 07-01-2016 02:39 PM

Looks wonderful Mike! I really like pieces with the satin look. If it is glossy, it looks too ‘plastic’ for my tastes.
The grain orientation and leg/styles/shelf thicknesses all work together very nicely.

Kudos on the save (been there, done that 8^). Stepping back for a while is probably the #1 cure. I have successfully sprayed the Deft brushing lacquer after I discovered that it is really too thick to even consider brushing. Basically just a lot of added thinner until it sprays/settles nicely (helps to use temperature-specifc thinner). Of course the catalyzed lacquer will be a far more durable finish.

View Mike_D_S's profile


174 posts in 1637 days

#4 posted 07-01-2016 03:13 PM

I’ve had good luck spraying the Deft before and started using it after reading a lot of comments from people who have done the same. Because I can get it close to my house, I stuck with it, even though I know it’s not necessarily the best choice.

I do have to say, the Gemini was nice to spray. As per the advice from the guy at Epic, no thinning was required and it was basically pour and go.

I like my finishes to be sort of shiny satin. A little bit of shine, but not glossy.

Today I’m getting out and finishing the top assembly up to dye ready state. I always struggle with shaping the ebony accents, so I ordered the William Ng custom 3/4” fingernail bit he uses with his jig for shaping the accents. So some of today will be spent assembling some jigs and testing. But with any luck I should be a long way towards finishing up today.

-- No honey, that's not new, I've had that forever......

View splintergroup's profile


734 posts in 645 days

#5 posted 07-01-2016 07:28 PM

It’s the right call to get the Ng bit. When I did my accents on my bedside tables, I used a template with a simple bearing guided roundover bit. It worked, but setup was touchy. Watching William’s video and seeing how easy they are to make has motivated me to surrender the wallet and buy the bit for next time.

View Mean_Dean's profile


4946 posts in 2570 days

#6 posted 07-02-2016 12:52 AM

Well, that was an amazing save on those damaged parts, and the situation in general. I for one really hate screw-ups. And the bigger the screw-up, the more I hate it. I’ve learned, as you have, that the best thing in that situation (as much as you don’t want to….....!) is to walk away, and do something else. Watch a movie, go to bed, whatever. And then, right in the middle of the movie, the solution comes to mind! Amazing how that happens.

And another thing I’ve learned is that no one else ever notices your screw-ups. And I mean no one. Generally not even your fellow woodworkers. So I’m learning (slowly…..) to be more tolerant of screw-ups.

You’ve reached woodworking Zen, when you can pass by the thing, and be perfectly at peace with it.

-- Dean

View Mike_D_S's profile


174 posts in 1637 days

#7 posted 07-02-2016 03:39 AM

I wanted to make a specific note that the G&G technique of cutting a waterfall profile in the front of the shelves really did give the shelves a delicate more balanced look. Over about 60% of their depth, they are 3/4, but in the front they are thinned out to 1/2 inch. It doesn’t sound like much, but even in the pics the shelves have a lighter thinner look.


-- No honey, that's not new, I've had that forever......

View htl's profile


2038 posts in 582 days

#8 posted 07-02-2016 11:43 PM

Out standing work!
Love the G&G

-- There's a hundred ways to do anything, alot depends on the tools at hand.

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