3rd Update on the Hymn Number Stand

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Blog entry by Mark A. DeCou posted 07-30-2007 08:15 PM 1529 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I had a nice weekend. Saturday I worked with a local cabinet maker helping him catch up on his schedule. We are nearly finished with the 3rd kitchen cabinet job, and then he will be caught up. I think I have worked about 8-9 days this summer with him on Saturdays.

Sunday was relaxing, went to church and then home with the family, and a nap. A nap makes a lot of things better for some reason (not to take anything away from church).

Today, Monday, I have the Hymn Number Board just about ready for Stain, Finish, & Gold Powder Paint.

I’m working on the number rails, and then I will start with the stain process, which is long, and way over done I am sure compared to most people’s processes..

I had a hard time matching the old finish of the church historic items, and the only way I could make it look the same was to go through a long process:

  • Minwax Cherry Stain, let it sit overnight. This first staining step holds the color of the ring lines light reddish, keeping them a cherry color, instead of going really dark, as I normally get in staining red oak.
  • Minwax Red Oak Stain, wipe it after a couple of hours of drying. This stain provides the coloring I need in the heart word
  • Minwax Early American, wipe after a couple of hours, and decide if another coat is needed. This provides a hint of yellow and brown to the two reddish colors of the rings and heart wood.
  • Deft lacquer, tinted a mahogany red/brown. This colors everything the same, and gives a more professional toned finish. I use it like a highlighter, except in reverse, coloring the dark, shadowing places with the colored lacquer, which provides some antiquing to the look.
  • Deft Lacquer, sprayed, satin, somewhere about 10 coats, rubbed out on the next to the last coat.
  • If things look like a match, then it is done.
  • If it is too “red” in color then I spray a coat of amber shellac on top of the lacquer. The shellac seals the layers of lacquer, so that the yellow lacquer in the next step won’t melt into the other colors. Also, the amber shellac provides a film of yellowed finish that looks similar to the old yellowed varnish that is on the historic pieces.
  • Following the shellac, I spray on a coat of yellow tinted lacquer. This changes a reddish tone to a more orange tone (remember playing with paints in K-garten?).
  • If this looks good and I have the right tone to the color, then I put another couple coats of satin Deft Lacquer and evaluate.
  • The final step is to mix the gold powder into a clear finish and brush the gold-leaf paint highlights where I want them. On this project, the sides of the upper crosses, the lettering, rings around the raised sections of the turnings, and maybe a few other places. I won’t know for sure until I see it come together and know when to stop, or to keep adding gold color.

I realize that this way too much effort, but I couldn’t figure out another method to get the color of the heart and rings in the wood the same, and then give it an orangey, old finish appearance. My goal is to make all of the pieces match, whether built this Spring, or 120 years ago. I did not artificially dent my new work to make them look “worn”, I just couldn’t do it.

Here are photos of the work so far.

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Thanks for checking in on me,
Mark DeCou

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

9 comments so far

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4160 days

#1 posted 07-30-2007 08:24 PM

it’s looking so—amazing!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Duane Kohles's profile

Duane Kohles

40 posts in 4300 days

#2 posted 07-30-2007 08:27 PM

You always do your best, anything less would just not be “you”. Keep up the great work!

-- Duane Kohles

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2009 posts in 4405 days

#3 posted 07-30-2007 08:31 PM

thanks Debbie and Duane.

Duane, did you notice that I am no longer using the jointer for a work table? (at least during photo sessions)

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

View oscorner's profile


4563 posts in 4311 days

#4 posted 07-30-2007 08:48 PM

Words can no longer express the shear joy your pieces bring to me. Such beauty and detail. You’re a special person to help someone catch up on their work, too. I know you must be swamped yourself.

-- Jesus is Lord!

View Karson's profile


35121 posts in 4400 days

#5 posted 07-30-2007 08:50 PM

Mark A great job. They look great. What is the size of the columns that you put the rope twist on?

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4314 days

#6 posted 07-31-2007 01:10 AM

That finishing process is just crazy! Well maybe it’s not the process that is crazy…great looking project.

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2009 posts in 4405 days

#7 posted 08-01-2007 01:37 AM

I know Dennis, it’s me that’s crazy.

Karson: just under 2” diameter.

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 3962 days

#8 posted 08-01-2007 02:37 AM

Pretty fantastic, Mark!!! But that’s what we’ve come to expect. Can’t wait to see it finished.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View PanamaJack's profile


4483 posts in 4077 days

#9 posted 08-01-2007 06:00 AM

I’m running out of words Mark. Fantastic, beautiful, cool, great, amazing, etc….All very good words to describe your work, but sometimes these words just aren’t good enough Mark. You just have a wonderful God given talent. Just keep it up for all of us Mark.

-- Carpe Lignum; Tornare Lignum (Seize the wood, to Turn the wood)

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