|Project by Pwilhelm||posted 10-05-2016 05:45 PM||570 views||2 times favorited||12 comments|
While I continued the sanding/finishing process on the Ambrosia Maple rocker, I bought a few pieces of 8/4 hickory to begin construction of another Maloof style chair, this time with no direct help from my brother Mwilhelm This one was built in September and October of 2015, in the interest of trying to sell it near where I lived at the time, Farmington, NM.
I like the clean, light-colored hickory grain and the subtle curl ripples in some of this material. Accents are walnut, of course. Initially the hardness of the hickory annoyed me because of all the effort required in sanding and care required to prevent burning when cutting, etc. Eventually I decided I liked the hardness since it was easier to get the shape you wanted with the grinder and sander without having a momentary random-orbital sanding mistake make a big mess as it would with a softer wood. It’s a good learning wood, I guess.
The previous Ambrosia maple chair seat was assembled with a 7 degree seat bevel, using 5 seat boards. I felt like it was a little too deep of a bowl, so on this hickory chair, I went back to the more standard 5 degree cuts. I’m a fairly narrow person, so it turns out the more bowl-like seat fits me better and when I sit on this hickory one now, I feel like I’m sitting on a bench. Wider folk may prefer the flatter seat so as not to feel too constricted?
My finishing process began with several coats of Minwax Tung Oil Finish, sanding with 200 grit paper every second or third coat. Then I switched to using 320 grit for a light sanding after every other coat of finish. After a few of those, I built a few coats without sanding, and used 1500 grit paper and a little bit of water on a paper towel for a super-smooth wet sanding effect. Another couple coats, and wet sand again. I may have been a little too aggressive at a few points, because even though you may feel like 1500 grit paper won’t take off all the finish, the water makes the paper cut much faster and not load with finish. A couple coats of well-rubbed Howard’s Feed-n-Wax finished it off. In total, there are probably 15-20 coats of finish on it, but it was still not enough to completely fill the grain.
I only half-heartedly tried to sell the chair, and as we started packing up to move back home to Ohio, I decided to bring it back to give to my grandparents, so I still visit the chair frequently.