001: maple lazy susan #2: unclamping, cleanup, and sanding

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Gary Fixler posted 02-23-2009 06:10 AM 3121 reads 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: everything up to, but not including the finishing work Part 2 of 001: maple lazy susan series Part 3: finishing work begins »

The edge-band/rim glue-up dried well, but it was about an hour of work to chisel, scrape, and sand away the glue squeeze out, especially where I couldn’t get to it under the strap clamp while it was drying. I cut the rim/edging myself from the same maple to a 3/16” thick strip, though finish sanding has brought it down a bit. I’m leaving it a little rough for a more matte/utility finish, though I see areas that need some finish cleanup, and I want to ‘break the edge’ a bit around the square top to make it a little less susceptible to obvious dings and chips. Now I need to worry about finishes. I’m part of that large group of new woodworkers who don’t know much at all about them.

After an hour of chiseling, scraping, and sanding...

The bottom shows the raised rim detail.

Here's the overlap of the edge banding, with dark glue peaking through.

clearer shot of the recess below the raised edge-band/rim.

I did a test tonight on a scrap piece of the same maple using teak oil. I know it’s more for hardwood like teak and mahogany, but it looked really nice, and I think matches the cabinets well enough in the space where it’s going. It should dry overnight, but I’m wondering a few things:

1) should I go with several coats, and if so, what kind of sanding steps in between, if any?
2) I want more than teak oil to protect this. The can mentions a top coat of polyurethane. Should this be oil based, or can it be water based (I have some of that from Minwax). Any gotchas here?
3) what about shellac? I have some Zinsser Bulls Eye in clear, and am thinking maybe that would be better for the high-traffic kitchen at work. It’s only a matter of time before someome spills scalding coffee on it. Thoughts? Is shellac okay over teak oil? Is the teak oil even necessary with shellac? I’m thinking ‘yes,’ but what do I know? (A: little :) Mostly, I just want to hurry up and be done. It’s already a 3-day project, which should be more like 1, and it’s very low-profit, and meant for a high-use location that isn’t going to highlight how it looks anyway. I’m trying to go with what I have on hand, if it’ll work alright.


-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

12 comments so far

View Karson's profile


35126 posts in 4429 days

#1 posted 02-23-2009 06:11 AM

Thats a great looking lazy susan. Very nice.

-- 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 Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1001 posts in 3410 days

#2 posted 02-23-2009 06:22 AM

Thanks, Karson! I appreciate it. I feel a bit sheepish posting such a simple creation with all the incredible things on this site, but I’ve decided I shouldn’t hide anything. It’ll keep me trying harder to know that an audience that knows what it’s doing will be checking in on me, and it’ll also hopefully end up laying down a trail of improvements to look back on in the future, to see how far I’ve [hopefully] come by then! I’m hoping each project I post gets at least a little bit better.

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4275 days

#3 posted 02-23-2009 01:48 PM

Great looking turning. Teak oil with shellac over it would be a great finish. Don’t shake the can of shellac, gently stir it, according to Frank, the king of shellac, he told me you don’t shake your kids do you? It puts bubbles in the finish. Which are hard to get out. Very pretty maple.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3850 days

#4 posted 02-23-2009 02:32 PM

Gary, this is looking pretty good. Now I understand the banding. That is a nice idea. As far as finishing goes, after you have sanded the maple to 180/220, a teak oil is a nice start. Once this cures (overnight) I would sand it lightly with 220 or higher and apply a seal coat of the shellac that you have. Within an hour or so this will be ready for a very light sanding and subsequent topcoating with either another coat of the shellac or polyurethane. That is largely your choice. If it were me I would go with poly. Water based poly will go over shellac w/o any problem but it does not produce a “warm” appearance as does oil based poly but, again, this is a matter of personal preference. It will remain largely clear whereas oil poly imparts an amber coloring to the wood, which is a “warmer” appearance as opposed to the “bluish” color of water based poly.

By the way, with respect to the teak oil, if you are going to use this routinely in your finishing technique save yourself some money and make your own mixture. Depending on the manufacturer, teak oil is about a 30% mix of either linseed oil or tung oil that has been diluted with mineral spirits. Wiping varnishes, such as this, are very forgiving, easy to apply and impart a nice look to the wood.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1001 posts in 3410 days

#5 posted 02-23-2009 03:03 PM

Thanks Mike!

And Scott, thanks for the detailed info. Reading up on finishing is always extremely laborious for me, as there’s often a lot of conflicting info. It really seems like the kind of thing one simply needs to grit their teeth and experiment a lot with, and unfortunately I don’t [yet?] have the bug. It could be the small handful of finishing failures in my life. I know I perk up a lot when I succeed in my projects, and then want to work all the more. The failures suck the fun away.

One thing based on your poly recommendation there. The can says under it’s “APPLICATION” section: “Not recommended for use as a sealer under polyurethane. When sealing wood under polyurethane finishes, use Bulls Eye® SealCoat™. DO NOT THIN.”

Are they just trying to sell me more stuff? What do you think they don’t like about poly over their shellac?

There are a few things I’m going to check out at work tomorrow, based on about an hour just now of reading up on shellac – all the way from lac bugs in Thailand and India to stick-lac, seed-lac, the processing thereof, and its use in American heritage furniture and the old style Pickwick paneling (which we have in our living room back home – very old stuff, never knew the name of it before!). One important thing is that shellac breaks down at 150°, so I need to see where the coffee makers will be. I think they’re going to be immediately next to this thing. I don’t want the shellac boiling. Also, it will get white ringed or splotchy around a lot of typical cleaning products, which the cleaning crew use in the kitchen. That has me worried about leaving shellac as the outer coat. One thing making me less worried is that regardless of what I do, my coworkers are probably going to beat it up anyway :)

Oh, and is Jeff Jewitt the god of finishing? Everything I looked up tonight eventually brought me back to him somewhere, whether I was reading up on teak oil, tung oil, maple finishes, shellac, or just archived discussions in forums – I found one where a guy mentioned he was going to call him and ask him some questions about finishes. These were all random Google finds, too – not based around some common site’s search functionality. Maybe I should just invite him over for a free meal, and then see if he wouldn’t mind finishing a few projects for me before he leaves.

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1001 posts in 3410 days

#6 posted 02-23-2009 05:02 PM

Thanks, bentlyj. This was all so seat-of-the-pants, I can’t believe it worked out this well. I had to rip a lot of poplar planks recently for a project, just to parallel them up after jointing, and I ended up with maybe 15 long strips from 1/16” down to paper-thin, some pretty even all the way, some tapering from thick to nothing, and they were all so bendy. I could coil many of them up like edge banding, and that put the notion in my head on this project that I could just make my own thing out of maple, though I did fear maple would be too much harder than poplar. It is harder, but at only 3/16” from a board from Home Depot – not too dry – it worked out.

I wrapped my first test piece – 1/32” shy of 3/16” thick – maybe a dozen or so times when coming back to it to test other things, or snap a picture, or mark off where the taper needed to be, and it held up every time. Then I decided that before gluing it, I should run it under hot water to soften it up. It snapped when I wrapped it wet like that. I had a spare piece cut, just in case of that – a full 3/16” – and did the wrapping with no water, steam, or anything – just brushed on the glue, fought it around the edge, and fought the strap clamp around that, then did a lot of smooshing it around until it lined up exactly how I wanted it, and finally cranked the strap clamp to nearly bursting. It’s holding just fine, though I imagine there’s a bit of internal stress going on. I’m hoping that settles out over time, and that maybe the oil coats will help release some tension, too. I have no idea, though :)

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 3756 days

#7 posted 02-23-2009 05:55 PM

This is just a guess (and I’d love to hear more authoritative advice myself for my own project) but I think regular shellac contains wax. Thsi wax ay prevent a good bond when you apply poly. If you use their “sealcoat” it hink you are essentially using 99.99% dewaxed shellac. This would theoretically prevent the problem. My plan is to us regular shellac, then apply sealcoat, then apply poly for real protection. I hope more poeple respond to your question. you may want to drop your question in the forum. you will probably get more responses there.

View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1001 posts in 3410 days

#8 posted 02-23-2009 06:10 PM

That makes sense, HokieMojo. In my hour or so of reading everything I could about shellac last night, I learned that the bugs responsible for excreting the lac add about 4%-5% wax created by them to it, and it does keep other finishes from adhering. The wax also – confusingly – makes it all more water-permeable, so you don’t get nearly the water protection. It makes sense that the sealcoat would simply be the more commonly-termed dewaxed shellac.

I wonder how much of my confusion about finish work is just based on brands renaming common things to something trademarkable. Teak Oil Finish indeed! I’d prefer them to honestly write in large letters “Fake Teak Oil” on the package. I’d probably still buy it, but at least I’d be better prepared for its effects.

I’ll give it a bit more time here, and then ask again, and more concisely in the forum, which I hadn’t remembered was an option. I’m new. Thanks!

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

View gizmodyne's profile


1780 posts in 4118 days

#9 posted 02-24-2009 08:36 AM

I would go with a Poly or spray it with a can of lacquer. Dewaxed Shellac can be used as an undercoat for the poly.

Shellac dissolves in alcohol, so if anyone spills anything alcohol based on the project you will have problems if it is the top coat.

Get one of the major books on finishing and they will have a comparison chart for resistance to heat, water, and alcohol.

Good luck.

My new philosophy is make a finish sample before starting the project, it makes the finish something to look forward to.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1001 posts in 3410 days

#10 posted 02-24-2009 08:59 AM

I like that philosophy, John. I think we’ve basically arrived at the same place. I picked up a can of dewaxed shellac, and a spray can of semi-gloss Helmsman spar urethane. My schedule is going to be something like this:

Sponge-brush on a few thin coats of Zinsser® Bulls Eye® SealCoat™ (dewaxed shellac) tonight, with about an hour of dry time between each, and a gentle 220 sanding after each coat dries to smooth them out. Then maybe tomorrow I’ll have some time to run through a coat or three of the spray on spar urethane. That should give me a pretty solid result, I think.

In other news, all of Home Depot’s shellac cans are 4 months old, with one of the two dewaxed shellac cans being 5 months old, and the other more than a year (‘07!). I think I need to tell them, though obviously no one’s buying it, if two cans have been sitting around that long. I need to re-find that Sherwin Williams paint store. I know it was around here somewhere.

Thanks for the suggestions!

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 3587 days

#11 posted 02-24-2009 01:43 PM

Very Nice job Gary. I think you got all the pointers you needed. Even simple jobs one can learn a lot by asking questions on this site. Glad we all could help.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1001 posts in 3410 days

#12 posted 02-24-2009 07:52 PM

Thanks cabinetmaster, et al. It was indeed a great learning experience. I will make sure to post how the finish came out in the end, and a final shot of its installation. I like thoroughness!

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

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