"Hobbit Holes in MyWorld" --by RusticWoodArt #36: Prepping Wood and Shellac for Rain

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by frank posted 09-29-2008 02:55 AM 1841 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 35: Lets Test Art-Full Shellac Part 36 of "Hobbit Holes in MyWorld" --by RusticWoodArt series Part 37: Live Free....Work Wood »

Prepping Wood and Shellac for Rain

I do hope that all reading herein are understanding that I am writing in retrospect….as these writings are running a few days behind where I am today. My life is much too busy to be writing and testing, plus taking photos on a daily basis, so one could say that I am writing from within a time warp as I also must keep in mind that winter is coming. Winter involves putting some machines to sleep and then there is the waking up of those winter machines, plus firewood, land and cabin to home projects. Notice that in my writings I don’t talk much of play….but yes, I also have to fit some play days into my schedule….which means some more kayaking and hiking yet.

Well moving on to this past Thursday and, since I knew there was rain coming, I decided the time was right to work on this piece of maple slab that I am using for a ‘test’ test shellac.

After applying the 5 coats of shellac on top of the maple, with no-thing done between coats last Sunday and then the good days of sun and warm, the shellac had a good time drying and curing. My next step that I am showing here is sanding the topcoat of shellac with #80 grit sandpaper and then following up with #000 steel wool. If one is a frequent reader of my blog//stories or the stories I have included in projects, then one will notice some-thing different by what I have said concerning the steel wool. I will use #0000 steel wool for finishing and #000 steel wool when I am in the still before finishing stages of working a piece of wood….and yes, there is a difference between ‘finishing’ wood and the ‘before’ finishing stages of wood-working. I can-not take the time to explain that one now….but as this story continues, the process between the two will come out in words and photos.

Maple slab of rock-sugar….and this is where we left off last time after completing 5 coats of shellac in about 2-1/2 hours time….

....and then we’ll start with some sanding to be followed with the steel wool. Some might wonder why I’m sanding the wood….and at some high points I’ll even be burning through the finish and hitting on raw wood. To those I would reply that one must remember that we are testing shellac here….and so I am pulling out all stops in order to test the shellac when//after the rains come. I mean we’ve all heard what water does to shellac right, by what all those other’s ‘tell’ us ‘sell’ us….but what if….

....and so I start sanding, yes that’s right….I get to do the work while you can just sit back and watch. I might add that I hope you will not sit to long though and that this might inspire some-one reading herein to try some test of their own and even if not with shellac…..well you pick the finish. Most important though is the point that I am trying to get across of be-coming your own master tester of your woods destiny….

....looks like the sanding process is working out good. The finishing of a wood project along with testing different finishes and tints along with color dyes is most enjoyable or in-joy-able for me and one that I all-ways look forward to….

....ah yes, as one can see I have ‘burned’ through the wood and yet we have a good sanded top at this point, after the steel wool also. One might even take a moment and notice some of the spalting that has taken place within the maple wood….

Now proceeding on, I’m going to start working on the live edge’s of the slab with some older but still used hand tools that I keep all-ways close at hand. Yes at the moment all power tools are un-plugged and out of sight….like out-of-sight, is out-of-mind….

....first tool to use on the live edge is this curved ax. This ones all-ways my first choice for workin’ on slabs and works best by pulling towards me at a slant…. comes the broadax and what a tool this one is to work with. When working the live edge I will push this one forward at a slant, much as one does when using a hand plane. And yes, I also use this one also for working in the rough as a hand plane. I do apologize that my step with the timber slick pictured above, will be a no-show shot, since I’m working by myself and there was no-way to take a picture as the slick would not stay in place. The timber slick is more of a finishing tool and therefore it is not used to gouge as much//deep into the wood….the timber slick is all-ways pushed and never does one strike the head of this tool…. now this stage of the process is finished….and I can wait for the rain that is coming….

....and yes, the rain did come early Friday morning. I took this picture around 9:00 am on Friday in the rain, but this is an-other story….

The colors are changing up here, so I will leave you with some starting reds in the trees….

More to come as the test of shellac continues….

Linking back to in this series to:
1.) All Good Wood Projects Need….
2.) WoodWorking Vision
3.) Drupes and Drupaceous Nuts as Tung Oil
4.) Go Ask The Lac-Bug About Finishing Wood
5.) Tales of A Wood-Worker’s Tools
6.) Lets Test Art-Full Shellac

Thank you.

’’ smart, work safe, and live, to work the wood....’‘

-- --frank, NH,

5 comments so far

View lew's profile


12060 posts in 3753 days

#1 posted 09-29-2008 02:59 AM

As always Frank, I learn and see so much.



-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View frank's profile


1492 posts in 4204 days

#2 posted 09-29-2008 03:11 AM

—thank you Lew;
I guess one might even say that I continue learning even in the going over of these photos and words. One thing I could never learn to stop was….asking why; “why does one say this….?” Much like pickin’ an-other’s brain for answers, till I also learned to pick the brain of wood, which I found was better. Never yet had a piece of wood get mad at me….LOL….

Thank you.

-- --frank, NH,

View Rustic's profile


3253 posts in 3594 days

#3 posted 09-29-2008 03:21 AM

awesome Frank I always look forward to your blog

--, Rick Kruse, Grand Rapids, MI

View trifern's profile


8135 posts in 3765 days

#4 posted 09-29-2008 05:48 AM

Great blog, Frank. Did you really use 80 grit sandpaper? That hunk of crotch in the first photo looks scrumptious. I must pass my gratitude to you for this series of finishing blogs. It has motivated me to experiment with my own finishes. I turned a 14” walnut platter/shallow bowl today. The first coat of finish was BLO/mineral spirits/ orange leather dye combination. The orange really warmed up the walnut. I was inspired by your red tinted walnut project.

Thanks for sharing.

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

View frank's profile


1492 posts in 4204 days

#5 posted 09-29-2008 01:00 PM

—thank you Rick….
—hello Trifern; ....yes it was #80 grit sandpaper, now if I may add some clarification. I usually all-ways keep #80 grit on this sanding block, as I use this grit very much and often in my ‘prep’ sandings. When I went to originally prep the wood for the 5 coats of shellac, I used the sanding block with #80 grit on it and so the same paper was still on it for this bit of prep and yes, there was still a lot of good grit in the paper. While sanding this time for the prep and the rain coming in, I noticed that because of the friction (heat) caused by the sanding, I had to stop ever so often and pick a build up of fused on clumps of shellac off the paper. This happens and so I will use the end of a knife and just pick those hardened clumps off. Before I use the sanding block again, I will have to put on some new #80 grit paper.

One must also remember that I have put 5 coats of shellac on this piece of maple all-ready and that is, as the shellac was….straight out of the can ( about a 3 lb. cut) so that is some build up and then 4 days of cure in the sun….so even with aggressive sanding there was a ‘level’ of protection on the wood.

Today I will take some more pictures after this weekends rain, along with those I took during the rain and so I will also start some more wood prepping….this time with #120 grit sandpaper. Maybe I should do a story on sanding and sandpaper along the way also….where//when will this story end. I still have the other test piece of what is be-coming wood art and then there’s the original countertop waiting on the side-lines also. One more point I might add, is that when choosing//buying sandpaper….never get the cheap stuff!

....many projects,
short and long,
long and short,
make my hands very happy in the sweet of sweat

Great news there about the ‘motivation’ level of this story and keep on experimenting//playing with those wood finishes of your own. I also can see how the orange would warm up some walnut….keep me posted….

Thank you.

-- --frank, NH,

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