001: maple lazy susan #3: finishing work begins

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Blog entry by Gary Fixler posted 02-25-2009 02:34 PM 1156 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: unclamping, cleanup, and sanding Part 3 of 001: maple lazy susan series no next part

Getting close to the end here, and I finally locked down my simple finishing schedule. Here’s how it’s looking right now:

2 coats of shellac with light sanding in between

It looks a little blotchy, and it is, but that will be healed up soon, I believe. Here’s what you’re seeing so far, and what I did tonight:

1) light sanding to break the edges a bit, refine a few things, tack-cloth away the dust
2) very light foam brush coat of Zinssler® Bulls Eye® SealCoat™, w/ 45 minute dry time
3) light sanding with 150-grit, evening out paint job and matting out all glares, tack cleanup
4) another light coat of SealCoat™ (a dewaxed shellac), and another 45 minutes to dry
5) light sanding as above with 220-grit, tack cleanup

I had done a coat on a scrap piece of this maple with teak oil, rubbing it in, and it’s dried now for a day or two (needs 72 hours before topcoating), but it hasn’t changed, and it just looks bad. It evened out the coloring of the grain and made it all look muddy. I’d even call it ‘soggy’ looking. In contrast, the shellac didn’t so much pop out the grain (the lights and darks) as it did transform it from a pale, simple maple, to something shimmery, deep, and holographic. It’s really lovely to see it with both eyes, tilting it under the light, watching the light and dark shadows and reflections dance across the surface. It much better matches the cabinets in the kitchen where it’s going now. The color is fairly similar between the teak oil scrap test, and this first stage of shellac work, but the former depresses, while the latter dazzles. Here it is without the light reflecting in it, showing how the whole dark/light patterning changes:

the pattern of lights and darks changes when I changed vantage point and the lazy susan's orientation with the room lighting

As for my less-than-perfect coatings, it’s pretty hard to get a perfect coat with a foam brush and 3lbs coat shellac (which is what Zinssler sells). I wasn’t so worried about it, as I’m going to be spraying on the topcoat, which will be a semi-gloss Helmsman spar varnish. I can give it several coats and sandings of that to get the surface looking super smooth, I suspect. I have a feeling it’s going to look great. Here’s one last shot with the table turned to a point where all the holographic spots vanish:

from this angle, the shimmery, holographic look fades out

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

3 comments so far

View CHEYENNE's profile


2 posts in 2800 days

#1 posted 02-25-2009 08:11 PM


View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1000 posts in 2804 days

#2 posted 02-26-2009 09:43 AM

Thanks, Cheyenne! It won’t look a whole lot different, but I think I’ll make a quick video to show off the finish under a few lighting conditions, rocking it around in natural and artificial lighting, trying to keep the camera settings so it looks closest to how I’m seeing it in real life.

Now that I mention it, I think I’d like to do that with my finishes from now on to create a kind of video bank of what each finishing schedule on each type of wood looks like ‘in motion.’ This will show off things like the shimmery quality – if any – and how glossy or matte a finish seems. It’ll be a nice, growing reference tool, especially for someone looking for something quick and easy, because that’s probably what all my finishes are going to be! I’m a little lazy about finishes.

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

View PurpLev's profile


8523 posts in 3071 days

#3 posted 03-01-2009 04:20 AM

looks good. nice result with the maple edge work – adds an elegant touch to the piece.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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