berthold schwaiger side table: finished

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Project by macpiper posted 04-13-2008 06:42 PM 3202 views 9 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here it is! finally….the finish is a coat of shellac followed by 3 coats (4 on the top) of a wipe-on varnish and finished with a coat of wax (i used a brown wax on the lighter legs to bring them closer in color to the darker legs). i wish i could take credit for thinking of that finish, but i pulled it from FWW #196. never having finished anything before i wish i could have seen someone deal with the varnish (ie: how long to let it set before wiping away excess, how much to wipe away, how to deal with joints, etc.), but i think it turned out pretty good for my first go around. the padauk is really iridescent at the right angle. although, i am now trying to figure out how best to recycle the used rags instead of just adding to landfill. :)

i said on the first posting that i the legs were mahogany, but i actually think they are walnut. i can’t remember. the other woods are padauk and beech. if you want to read more about this table check out the first posting i made on it (pre-finish).

17 comments so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3851 days

#1 posted 04-13-2008 06:53 PM


This turned out beautifully. The different woods add a lot of visual interest to the table.

With a wiping varnish letting it sit about 10 minutes and adding more to areas that appear drying before wiping it off all the surfaces is fine. On rare occasions you may have some beading that occurs later but this is simply wiped off.

I am not sure that you can salvage the rags if the varnish hardens. But I guess if you keep them in a closed container and dampened with mineral spirits they would make suitable dust rags. But a few of these will go a long way.

A book you might want to look at that I have found to be helpful is Understanding Wood Finishing by Bob Flexner. It is available at for about $20.00 or you might want to see if it is available through your local library or through inter-library loan.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View bradrx05's profile


20 posts in 3728 days

#2 posted 04-13-2008 07:10 PM

Looks very nice… different woods contrast perfectly… are those mitered tenons? I’ve never seen that before… very creative!

-- Learn something everyday!

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 3797 days

#3 posted 04-13-2008 07:13 PM

that turned out beautifully. I really like the the way the woods accent each other. Since you said that this was the first thing that you had ever finished before i would suggest you check out The Wood Whisperer's new DVD. I got it and it changed the way i look at finishing (being an inexperienced finisher also). After that i don’t have to rely on store bought finishes and the majority of my finishes are store bought but mixed with other things such as boiled linseed oil, naptha, etc. and i can make the finishes do almost exactly what i want them to do. again great job on the table and i look forward to seeing some more work.

View bfd's profile


502 posts in 3836 days

#4 posted 04-13-2008 08:32 PM

I love this piece. It has simple lines that allow the wood and joinery to take center stage. I especially like the corner joinery that you used.

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4017 days

#5 posted 04-13-2008 10:43 PM

Great looking table. I really like those corners.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4248 days

#6 posted 04-13-2008 11:35 PM

Excellent work!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Woodhacker's profile


1139 posts in 3752 days

#7 posted 04-14-2008 03:19 AM

I love the exposed mitered mortise tenon joinery.

Great piece!!...thanks for posting!

-- Martin, Kansas

View bilsborough's profile


44 posts in 3724 days

#8 posted 04-14-2008 03:44 PM

I love this table. The joinery is brilliant! I second the coment about Bob Flexner’s understanding wood finishing. It explains many techniques and exposes many finishing myths.

-- What do you learn from being right?

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4129 days

#9 posted 04-14-2008 03:47 PM

Great design and execution!

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Lakey's profile


97 posts in 3802 days

#10 posted 04-14-2008 04:26 PM

Love the leg joinery – how did you do that?

-- "No Board Left Behind"

View macpiper's profile


56 posts in 3817 days

#11 posted 04-14-2008 06:30 PM

lakey – the joinery is a simple mortise and tenon that is mitered.

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 4026 days

#12 posted 04-16-2008 06:16 AM

Looks great! The finish is really nice! The legs do look like walnut.

I third the Flexner reference and would add, Jeff Jewitt and Michael Dresdner books and videos to the reference list…

Also – is that really you in the photo?

And, it’s great to have some Bauhaus influence on the site…

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View BertJ's profile


49 posts in 3727 days

#13 posted 04-16-2008 06:38 AM

Lovely work! Nice combination of wood for this great table. Your joinery adds greatly to its charm, and the finish really takes it over the top. Thanks for sharing.

View macpiper's profile


56 posts in 3817 days

#14 posted 04-21-2008 08:55 PM

dorje-yes, it is really me. that picture was taken while working on a new business pitch ready at like 3-4am…there are only so many storyboards, key frame boards and ad ideas you can throw on foam core before you get a little loopy. :)

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 4026 days

#15 posted 04-23-2008 05:35 AM

too funny -

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

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