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Project by Mike Shea posted 01-22-2009 11:26 PM 2131 views 3 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch







Buisness has been slow recently so i have had the chance to help my mom and dad fix the home up. small impovements such as patio’s, fireplace mantles and wood top surfaces improve the look of the home dramaticly.

the fireplace mantle and stairway ledges i finished n a weekend. they are both made from honduras mahogany hardwood and plywood. for the mantle i simpley made a box out of plywood. i then tacked the box with pre fabed mahogany crown moulding.

the stairway ledge is done the same way as the mantle but with a large surface of plywood on top. the duck tape you see on the drywall is covering a hole. i had to cut a whole so that i could secure the plywood surface from underneath with screws. my mother wanted a darker aged mahogany collor. to achieve that age i aplied a mix of potasium dychromate and water to the surface. the chemical enters the wood fibers and reacts with the tanic acids in the wood to darken the fibers. it is a great way to darken cherry, and mahogany. it does not give the fake look that most collorants and pigments do. after the potasium dychromate was aplied i put down a few coats of linseed oil and tung oil for protection and luster.

in the yard i put up a pergola. all i can say about this project is that it was a pain in my ass working with semi green building lumber. we didnt have the money for kiln dried clear doug fir or cedar so we went with construction grade building lumber. this thing was cupped and bowed in every wich direction. meanwhile i am tring to work with the same tolerances that i make my furniture with. put it this way, the nieghbors all heard they’re share of profanity for this year. i came to my senses and settled for a less then perfect arbor or pergola. besides it will be covered with vines in a year

-- i can do all things through christ who strengthens me

8 comments so far

View gbear's profile


512 posts in 4094 days

#1 posted 01-23-2009 12:04 AM

Great job(s) as usual Mike…I always enjoy seeing your work. I might give your “potasium dychromate” a try as I am making some valences for some friends. I am using cherry but they would like it to look like Brazilian cherry. Any ideas?

-- gbear, Carmichael, CA

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4094 days

#2 posted 01-23-2009 12:27 AM

Great work Mike. I know it feels a bit pedestrian after doing your other fine work, but I make money doing these projects and they get me into clients’ homes.

Buy your account of the pergola construction, I have no doubt you have been introduced to building lumber. This is a tough introduction after using nice wood in the shop.

Keep up the great work.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Cathy Krumrei's profile

Cathy Krumrei

364 posts in 4181 days

#3 posted 01-23-2009 03:38 AM

I’ve been wanting (yearning,crying.stomping feet) for a pergola over my deck for sometime. Gosh, it is nice looking Mike! Also the stairway..what a neat idea! Very nice projects. Ahh… what are you doing this weekend??? LOL I promise not to whine! LOL Thanks for sharing!

View BarryW's profile


1015 posts in 3901 days

#4 posted 01-23-2009 05:19 AM

great elegance and added value to your property…fine job.

-- /\/\/\ BarryW /\/\/\ Stay so busy you don't have time to die.

View Mike Shea's profile

Mike Shea

152 posts in 3989 days

#5 posted 01-23-2009 05:24 AM

“gbear” – yea you should try the potasium dychromate. i think i spelled it right. anyways after trying it youl use it all the time. no blotching no mess and a consistant even lightfast collor. cherry is the best wood to use it on. the tanic acids in cherry are greater then any other wood. it will indeed give the darker red tone that brazillian cherry has. the only thing is that you must be carefull on when building your project is your wood selection and grain orientation. if you are planing on using this stuff. it reacts so differently on sapwood then on heartwood but overall it gives a gorgeouse rich collor. i am not sure wear you can get it exactly. i got mine from a wood finishing class that i took a while back. he tought us allot about changing the apearance of wood with chemicals such as potasium dychromate, sodium cloride, and irron buff solution for ebonizing. if you really want to try it i can dig through my papers and see if i can find the supliers for you. let me know

“todd” – never again man. lol. if i ever make another patio cover or frame a house im using honduras mahogany. haha. ok maybey i wouldnt, but yes my intro to rough building lumber came long after using stable sraight grained hardwoods. i need a bit more experience in that field. i mean the pergola came out great and i am happy with it, but it was a pain in my neck. how do you get around all that movement and sloppyness? what kind of lumber would you normally use for something like this?

cathy- thanks. i was looking at your page. nice work by the way. beautifull stuff. i see you like your garden and yard don’t you. if you ever need any help at all let me know i would be happy to help. if your having design issues or if you have any construction questions i would be glad to help. get on it. i wanna see it soon ;)

-- i can do all things through christ who strengthens me

View woodworm's profile


14468 posts in 3585 days

#6 posted 01-23-2009 03:08 PM

Beautiful, sweet, cool, great…!

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View Damian Penney's profile

Damian Penney

1141 posts in 3986 days

#7 posted 01-23-2009 07:01 PM

You can get potassium dichromate from United Nuclear along with lots of other fun stuff.

-- I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. - Pablo Picasso

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 3869 days

#8 posted 02-06-2009 08:19 PM

The improvements look great.

-- Happy woodworking!

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