|Project by EarlS||posted 04-19-2017 01:34 AM||575 views||13 times favorited||10 comments|
The excellent projects posted recently by A&C Style (headboard), Edward (G&G mirror) MBS (Walnut curio cabinet) have inspired me to sit down and take the time to do a proper write-up for the FLW inspired mosaic panel I recently finished.
As part of the design process for the Taliesin desk I built last fall, I spent a lot of time making panels similar to the stained glass panels in the ceiling of the FLW Oak Park studio. Basically, I was getting into the mood to build the desk and I used the panels as a way to get my mind properly in tune with the project.
The panels are made from lots of little pieces of red heart, cherry, bubinga, yellow heart, bloodwood, purple heart, walnut, maple, and probably a couple other species I forgot. Each panel is 3/8” thick, 12” tall x 9” wide.
I glued up sections and then glued the sections together to form the pattern. Rather than using dye, I chose to go with natural wood colors which resulted in a red theme rather than a green one like the stained glass.
I finished the panels with Arm-R-Seal and sanded them to 4000 grit before the final coat.
Things got in the way, there were other more pressing projects to finish, including the desk. Finally, last week I decided to hang the mosaic panels in a cherry frame with ebonized walnut accents.
Ebonizing walnut meant that I had to make iron sulfate. Actually, it is quite easy, pour a bottle of ammonia from the local big box store into a bucket, throw in some steel wool, cover and let sit for a couple of weeks. Stir the steel wool around every couple days. After a couple of weeks, discard the steel wool, strain the liquid into a bottle and you have some excellent iron sulfate for ebonizing wood. There are plenty of articles on ebonizing wood. In a nutshell, the iron sulfate reacts with the tannins in the wood causing the wood to turn black. You can achieve extremely black ebonization by making up some tea (think Lipton’s) and wiping it on the wood to increase the amount of tannins in the wood. For min application, the walnut turned a glorious shade of black almost immediately. One word of warning, don’t get this stuff around anything you don’t want to stain black. It is potent stuff. If it drips on wood it will turn it black. I wore gloves and an old shirt so I wouldn’t get any on my skin. I still managed a few black stains on my wrist.
After the walnut parts dried, I lightly sanded it with 800 grit paper to knock down the nubs. From there, I glued up the frame and finished it with Arm-R-Seal, sanding between coats with 800 grit then 2000 grit before the final coat. The final dimensions are 20” tall x 36” long.
I bought a heavy duty hanger from the big box store and hung it next to my Taliesin desk.
Does this mean I can check the end grain cutting board off my bucket list? I’d like to think it qualifies.
-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"