Why buy it when you can make it! #7: Improv Fir Step Stool [Part 3] - SAS Regiment

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Blog entry by paxorion posted 07-21-2014 01:18 AM 1328 reads 0 times favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 6: Improv Fir Step Stool [Part 2] Part 7 of Why buy it when you can make it! series Part 8: First turning project - Cherry Pepper Mill »

After a brief hiatus thanks to work and social obligations (groomsman in a friend’s wedding), I finally had a chance to dive into the SAS regiment (sand, assemble, stain). This project is certainly becoming an interesting exercise in using up what I have lying around.

Sanding: I sanded all the parts (except the top) down to 220 grit prior to the glue-up. It can get tricky sanding small parts (with a random orbit sander) when you don’t have a vise, but you’d be amazed what you can get done with 2 wooden hand screw clamps clamped down to a stable work surface. The 2×12” ones I picked up from Harbor Freight came in very handy. The absolute star of the sanding phase was my Preppin Weapon, which worked like a champ when hand sanding and breaking edges.

Assembing: I must have had a mental lapse because I went straight to putting glue on once I had grabbed my brush (and before getting the clamps I needed. After a bit of a rush job (and a few glue drips that I am paying for), I got everything clamped up to dry.

Staining: When I started this project, I had decided that it would try to use up what I have instead of buying new wood and supplies. For the finish, I initially settled on the General Finished Java Gel Stain I got as a door prize from my woodworking guild. However, right next to it was the old can of Minwax Polyshades (Bombay Mahogany) that was an absolute disaster to use on my first project (a coffee table now re-purposed to be an activity table for my daughter). I decided I had nothing to lose, and I would give it another shot. After stirring the Polyshades, it was surprisingly still viable after almost 2 years of sitting idle. The pre-stain conditioner I was going to use up…not so much (it congealed to a very disturbing yellow-ish white blob suspended in a solvent). Being lazy, I decided NOT to go back downstairs and dilute a 1lb cut of SealCoat, to see what blotching would look like. I also decided to completely ignored all of the instructions and experiment with whether or not the rest of the Polyshades might be more pleasant to use. So after thinning down 50/50 with mineral spirits I started with a wipe-on application. Each coat became dry to the touch after about 2-3 hours, and I was able to apply 3 coats today (light sanding with 320 grit in between…with the Preppin Weapon of course). The result: very clear blotching, especially on the sides of the stool, but the top doesn’t look too bad. The glue splotches I didn’t success in cleaning up can still be seen, but they aren’t as prominent thanks to the blotching. Also, thinning the polyshades knocks out a lot of the brown color, leaving it with more red. Looks like the rest of the Polyshades may have some usefulness for me after all…as a red tinted polyurethane.

PS: I’m still never buying Polyshades ever again…but at least I won’t be throwing away the rest of the can.

-- paxorion

1 comment so far

View robscastle's profile


4968 posts in 2199 days

#1 posted 07-21-2014 01:55 AM

(sand, assemble, stain) I thought this was going to be something that self destructed after reading !!

Anyway the stain looks good from what I can see.
Glue and other foreign object play havoc with stains, and it seems no matter how much prep work you do a section is always missed, and disapointing the creator.

The Preppin Weapon looks to be a worthwile tool, may have to locate one.

-- Regards Robert

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