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A tale of two finishes

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Project by KnickKnack posted 03-26-2012 03:49 PM 2060 views 12 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A long time ago, before I was a programmer, I was a typesetter and publisher. Sometimes posh paperwork with “spot varnish” passed across my desk, and I always thought, when used well, that it was incredibly stylish.
So part of the design aim in this piece was to deploy two different finishes – one haute gloss, and the other matt – hoping for a serious contrast in reflection depending on how the light caught it.
The other design aim was to integrate hinge and handle.
This was the result.

Early on in the build I (erroneously) consulted the wife as to whether it would be OK to post-fume the piece – this is what I usually do – the oak does the magic and the ash takes on a slightly pallid hue. She said that the ash shouldn’t be fumed. The lesson here, of course, is what every lawyer knows – don’t ask a question you don’t know the answer to! Well, having asked I couldn’t very well ignore her (been there, done that, lesson learned), so a whole bunch of challenges cropped up – basically, because you can only do a very minimal sanding after the oak is fumed, it needed to be constructable in such a way that after glue-up it was done.
The other challenge, somewhat similar, was that because I was looking for a high-gloss piano finish on the small red piece (from a dump, possibly mahogany?), but nowhere else, that piece needed to be finished on its own, and then glued into place – again, without the possibility for further work on it.
Getting the piano finish itself was something new for me – I’m a satin sheen guy, and I’ve got OK at that – this was new. Attempt one was a flop – too much muck got into it on the second coat, so I had to scrape it down and start again. Attempt two was going OK – I got to the third coat of varnish and then, disaster struck – I was rubbing it down and a piece of grit got onto the 1000 grit somehow – milliseconds later the surface was trashed – scrape down and start again. Attempt three went well – I’ve done the research, and I’ve spent several weeks looking for pumice powder, or rottenstone – all to no avail here in sunny (and drought-struck Portugal). Then it occurred to me that I could, maybe, use something like metal polish – as long as it was abrasive rather than chemical. In the end I got a great surface using a 20 year old tube of gunk that advertises itself for polishing the chrome on car bumpers – I’ve no idea why we have it since I’ve never polished a chrome car bumper in my life. Given my experience on attempt two, I decided to go with finger tips – I saw a documentary once about laquering in the oriental style and that guy said you could immediately detect something going wrong. He was right! So I finally managed to end up with a great finish, and no fingerprints to boot!
I’d been looking forward to saying that the finish was more “Honky Tonk” than “Steinway”, but, basically, it isn’t – more like a Steinway second. It isn’t perfectly flat, but it does blind you when the sunlight hits it – see piccie 2.
The hinges have 3mm metal rod inside – the ash plugs you see are just for decoration and to stop the rod sliding out – I quite enjoy using my drill to make these little plugs.

Overall I’m pleased with some of it – i’m fairly pleased by my restraint in not just “pressing on” when things weren’t right. That said, as usual, I think there’s something a little off – the mahogany should, I think, have been rounded and proud of the enclosing oak struts, and the legs are a little high. As for the “spot varnish” – the jury is out.

I guess that’s all – this box is destined for the much-suffering lady who’s trying to us Portuguese.

Fumed oak, ash, (?)mahogany. Gloss varnish for the gloss and linseed oil for the matt. 30cm x 15cm x 12cm high.

Comments from all ends of the spectrum are most welcome!

-- "Do not speak – unless it improves on silence." --- "Following the rules and protecting the regulations is binding oneself without rope."





21 comments so far

View JoeyG's profile

JoeyG

1259 posts in 1348 days


#1 posted 03-26-2012 03:55 PM

That’s an incredible box. I like the idea of different finishes on different parts and appreciate the challenges that poses. The design is very cool. I like the handle/hinge idea, and while there is always something to change or do a little differently, I think you succeeded in building a wonderful box.

Thanks for sharing it.
Joey

-- JoeyG ~~~ http://www.facebook.com/JHGWoodWorks

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

7879 posts in 2775 days


#2 posted 03-26-2012 04:13 PM

COOL BOX!

Would be nice to see a pic… with the top UP…

Really like those hinges… and auto stop…!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

View KnickKnack's profile

KnickKnack

992 posts in 2289 days


#3 posted 03-26-2012 04:51 PM

Would be nice to see a pic… with the top UP…

Your wish…

-- "Do not speak – unless it improves on silence." --- "Following the rules and protecting the regulations is binding oneself without rope."

View lizardhead's profile

lizardhead

519 posts in 1564 days


#4 posted 03-26-2012 06:49 PM

Very unusual box

-- Lizardhead---Yeah but it's a dry heat--Tempe, Az

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

7879 posts in 2775 days


#5 posted 03-26-2012 07:09 PM

... thank you… and from the back so we can see the hinges when opened… LOL

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

View Bearpie's profile

Bearpie

2591 posts in 1741 days


#6 posted 03-26-2012 09:07 PM

Very nice, I like!

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View doncutlip's profile

doncutlip

2832 posts in 2279 days


#7 posted 03-26-2012 09:51 PM

That really stands out, nice combination of wood and very well put together

-- Don, Royersford, PA

View Woodbridge's profile

Woodbridge

2808 posts in 1141 days


#8 posted 03-26-2012 10:04 PM

That is a very nice box. Your idea of incoporating the handle and the hinge was very creative and it turned out great.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View Karson's profile

Karson

34902 posts in 3123 days


#9 posted 03-26-2012 10:11 PM

The reason that you were able to find the polish (At least in my shop for example) is that because it was never used. If it was used it would have been put back in some different place, never to be found again.

Great design on your box.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View Mikeyf56's profile

Mikeyf56

171 posts in 1944 days


#10 posted 03-27-2012 12:24 AM

Nice design, nice contrast.

-- Powered by Smith & Wilson~~~

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

11369 posts in 1413 days


#11 posted 03-27-2012 01:35 AM

Very nice! I really like the combined handle/hinge. I’ll probably steal this idea for a future box project. Question about your joinery technique: Are the corner pieces attached to sides/front/back with splines?

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Boxguy's profile

Boxguy

1527 posts in 990 days


#12 posted 03-27-2012 01:59 AM

I like the hinge-handle concept and the idea of differing finishes is novel. When I first saw it I thought of the press my mother used to make cheese sandwiches, but that actually made me like it more. It is very eye appealing to have the linear design on the top, corners and back. It is an idea worth keeping in mind for future boxes. Thanks for sharing your neat ideas with us all this is a great box. Thanks too for taking time to tell us about your thinking and working process.

-- Big Al in IN

View kiefer's profile

kiefer

3293 posts in 1390 days


#13 posted 03-27-2012 04:25 AM

Very original design and good looking box .
There are design elements worth keeping as future reference .
Well done !

Kiefer

-- Kiefer 松

View KnickKnack's profile

KnickKnack

992 posts in 2289 days


#14 posted 03-27-2012 06:59 AM

and from the back so we can see the hinges when opened…

Are the corner pieces attached to sides/front/back with splines?

Biscuits.

When I first saw it I thought of the press my mother used to make cheese sandwiches

Now I see that too – toasted cheese and onion – yummy!

-- "Do not speak – unless it improves on silence." --- "Following the rules and protecting the regulations is binding oneself without rope."

View firewhatfire's profile

firewhatfire

21 posts in 975 days


#15 posted 03-27-2012 08:38 AM

thats a neat looking box. I see I may be going broke buying tools to make these things.

Phil

-- May my words and works always be beneficial to God.~~ Me

showing 1 through 15 of 21 comments

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