Dovetail Box #20: Finishing Fun

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Blog entry by Eric posted 07-01-2008 09:56 AM 1337 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 19: Is This a Finishing Problem? Part 20 of Dovetail Box series Part 21: End Grain Finishing Issue »

Well, after my last post I decided to back up a step. I sanded down a bit with 360 grit, and then without thinking I wiped the whole thing down with mineral spirits to make sure the sawdust was all gone. About halfway through doing that, I realized that I was also stripping off whatever finish I had already had on the box (or at least much of it)! Hah. Oh well, could be worse, right?

So I went with Marc recommendation to use a straight wiping varnish with a 50/50 mixture of varnish (I bought a new can that seals properly) and mineral spirits. I applied it nicely, I thought, and let it dry. And I have to say, so far I really like it! It’s only one coat, but still – when the light hits the wood in certain ways, the grain looks really something.

But there’s one thing that’s bugging me. On just a couple spots, the wood is slightly lighter in color. I suppose this is from uneven sanding or uneven stripping of the finish? I’m not sure. I’d probably not worry too much about it except the problem areas are right in the front. Here’s a pic – look along the bottom of the box lid and along the bottom of the box:

varnish/spirits coat 1

What do you think? Do I need to strip the whole thing again, or is this something that will even out over time? To be honest, I don’t mind if that’s what I have to do. I’m kind of having fun with this whole thing and I’m not in a huge rush. I just want to understand what I’m doing and how what I’m doing affects the end product.

-- Eric at

2 comments so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3791 days

#1 posted 07-01-2008 12:31 PM


I really don’t see a problem with this. In any wood with a natural finish you are going to have some variation in color that cannot be eliminated. I thought at first that you might have some glue spots but I really don’t see this here. If you want to try and even out the color you might want to apply a gel stain over the finish and selectively wipe it off to even out the wood tones. But, to tell you the truth, it looks fine to me simply as is. The wood will develop its own patina over time and should help with the color variation.

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

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3642 days

#2 posted 07-01-2008 06:39 PM

nice job on the dovetail box.

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