Mission Style Pedestal Table #5: Applying finish and completing the build

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Douglas posted 06-10-2013 02:09 AM 2120 reads 2 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: Completing the top, putting it all together Part 5 of Mission Style Pedestal Table series no next part

After a few weeks away due to travel and rainy weather, I was finally able to finish the table. The formula I was following was similar to what I used on an earlier folding step stool water based Transtint dye, sprayed shellac, and then as this was a table, Arm-R-Seal oil & urethane topcoat.

I started with the dye, first wetting everything to raise grain, and then light sanding with 220 to knock down the stander uppers. I then mixed the Transtint Mission Brown dye power with distiller water. I’d used this before, and gotten good results, but somehow I talked myself into thinking I’d made too “light” of a mix, and went much heavier this time, making the mix very dark. I applied it to my project, and after foam brushing it on, letting it stand a bit, and ragging it off, let it dry.

Now, if you’ve ever used water dye before, you know about this phenomenon: after applying the dye, your project looks like crap. It doesn’t matter if you’re gently coloring, or going at it hard, it looks like crap at this stage. I knew this was coming, but added to that was the fact that I’d never mixed the dye this strongly before, and my piece had this super matte, dark chocolate color that was awful. I kept telling myself it would look fine when the shellac was added—after all, that’s how this finish gets its great look. But that didn’t stop me from agonizing that I’d screwed it all up, and was maybe going to have to try and rag some of it off to make it lighter. Thanks to my travel ,and the life/weather, I had about three weeks to worry myself about it.

When I finally made it back to the shop, I tested some shellac on the least visible piece; the plywood board that the split sliders attach to. And to my relief, THERE was the color I was looking for! So, it was time to HVLP spray shellac. I’d ordered some garnet shellac flakes for the first time—previously I’d just used amber shellac from a can. It was garnet shellac from, and I’d picked up some 90+ proof denatured alcohol to mix it in. After the flakes had dissolved, I loaded it into the sprayer, and started applying it. It was looking great, and the “chocolate” from the dye combined with the shellac to make the ray flecks pop, and the whole thing developed a deep, rich, textured glow. But, it turns out I didn’t mix enough of the garnet shellac, and ended up mixing in amber shellac as I went. It looked and worked fine, and I laid down 4-5 thing coats, sanding lightly in between.

After the shellac was dry, I moved on to General Finishes Arm-R-Seal, a wipe on urethane and oil mix, and I chose a satin. This stuff levels very nicely. I applied 3 coats of it with a foam brush, and let each coat sit 6-8 hours before wet sanding with 400, 600, 800 (respectively) grit wet-dry paper wetted with mineral spirits to level the nibs.

And then, I was able to re-assemble, and set it in our kitchen. I’m thrilled at how it turned out. I’ll post a project on this soon with better pictures.

-- Douglas in Chicago -

6 comments so far

View sgmdwk's profile


308 posts in 1871 days

#1 posted 06-10-2013 03:26 AM

Looks fantastic.

-- Dave K.

View pintodeluxe's profile


5659 posts in 2812 days

#2 posted 06-10-2013 03:36 AM

Dye then shellac, wow looking at the table I would have sworn it was stain over dye.
At any rate, the finish and the table look great. The color is classic arts and crafts, and it highlights the figure in the oak so nicely.
What ratio of dye did you mix?
I have used Transtint Brown Mohogany mixed 1 oz / qt of water and it sure gets dark quickly.

Nice technique, and great project!

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View BigRedKnothead's profile


8515 posts in 1981 days

#3 posted 06-10-2013 05:25 PM

Very nice. Your making me want to try some dyes again.

-- "At the end of the day, try and make it beautiful....because the world is full of ugly." Konrad Sauer

View AandCstyle's profile


3052 posts in 2256 days

#4 posted 06-11-2013 12:30 AM

Thanks for sharing this project. It is a great looking table and I really like the finish.

-- Art

View Brit's profile


7376 posts in 2842 days

#5 posted 06-11-2013 11:47 AM

Wow! that came out great. My wife would love that colour. I’ve got to do six internal mahogany doors soon (not looking forward to it) and I hope they come out as nice as your table did.

-- - Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View Dennis Zongker's profile

Dennis Zongker

2734 posts in 3591 days

#6 posted 06-14-2013 08:27 PM

Sweet Table!!!

-- Dennis Zongker

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics