My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #55: Back to "Normal"

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 07-28-2010 01:15 PM 4162 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 54: Holly Candle Tray Finished! Part 55 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 56: Not Too Exciting Today »

It feels really good this time to come down from such a hard push. It is funny, but it takes a while to gradually sink in that the urgency is no longer there. I wonder if it is chemical thing in our brains or something. I am sure adrenalin has something to do it.

I spent yesterday glowing in the aftermath of the previous couple of weeks. Much of the morning I caught up on correspondence in between applying coats of finish to my kitchen table. Miraculously, none of the cats decided to place their imprint on it. Although they certainly were considering it. Even though they never venture on the table at any other given time, they stalked it like prey and watched what I was doing with a bit too much interest for my liking. I even had to admonish them a few times because they were leaning a bit too closely from the nearby chairs or the back of the couch with that “whatcha’ doin’?” look in their eyes. When I warned them, they just looked at me as if the thought never crossed their little minds, and with a shrug turned and went to find a place to nap, only to return with each subsequent coat of varnish. Yes, they kept me on my toes.

But six or seven coats later, I am happy to say the table is print-free and looks decent. I used a water-based outdoor poly finish from Saman which I had previously used on a small end table. I found Saman products a couple of years ago and I love them. They are all odor free and water based and they carry almost 30 colors of stain that can be mixed to make endless shades and colors. I have had friends who make furniture and larger items try them and they really loved the results too. I even had a friend put in a couple of kitchens who used them. Recently, they came up with a new indoor/outdoor varnish and I tried it on the end table a year ago. The table was just pine and I had painted it solid black acrylic and used the varnish on it and it still looks great.

My only question to those of you who work with finishes is what would be the best way to apply it? I used a soft brush and applied very thin coats, which dried almost immediately. I gave about an hour in between and that seemed to work fine. I did however see that there were brush strokes that were visible. After the first couple of coats, I did lightly sand in between. The brush I had was soft, but I was wondering if there are special brushes that are used primarily for applying this type of finish which would be more appropriate. Any advice on this would be most helpful for next time.

All in all the table came out pretty good. It was an old maple table that is actually my landlady’s and came with the place. It had the kind of finish on it where if you placed anything that was slightly damp or wet on it (like a cup or a glass of milk or pop) it would leave a nice hazy ring that wouldn’t go away. :( (remember this is a kitchen table – not very practical!) It really looked like crap and someone offered me a nicer table that they were giving away so I didn’t want to give this one back looking like the piece of crap it was. It was already in rough shape when I got here, but I thought it would be a good opportunity to practice on and figured I wouldn’t be able to make it look worse if I tried. (Well – maybe if the cats helped I could!)

It sanded up nicely and did OK, but I think I should have used sanding sealer prior to the stain. You think? Can you stain after using sanding sealer? The grain seemed to rise quite a bit on the first layer of stain, even though it wasn’t supposed to. It wasn’t all bad though, I used some fine grit paper and gently sanded it down before the second coat of stain and it worked fine. It really looks a hundred per cent better now, and the brush strokes I speak of are quite subtle. I was just wondering if there were a better way to go with it.

The afternoon was so beautiful that I had to get out of the house. I went to a friends who lives right across the ocean and washed my little red mustang and it looks (almost) new. The car is seven years old and although it has a few little ouchees from rocks and stuff, it still looks pretty good when all shined up. I have always loved taking care of it and it was fun and relaxing to wash it overlooking the ocean on such a beautiful, sunny day. I wish I would have brought my camera.

Today I will finish up the pattern packets for the new stuff. I already converted and loaded the pictures to the site, although no one can see them yet. It is odd to move at such a relaxing pace. Even though I still accomplished, it doesn’t feel like I have done much. The wholesaler gave me the OK on everything so I am set with her. I have decided to print up a flier for my friend to take to the show next weekend in Wisconsin (the one who is teaching the painting) which will highlight my new items. I will be designing that today. We will see how they go over.

I decided to not stain the last piece (the Holly one) after all. I tried a couple of colors on scraps and I think it may just take away from it. I am going to put a few layers of oil on it and call it a day. I don’t want to screw it up at this point. I think I like it just the way it is.

I feel myself getting antsy though and thinking of what I will do next. I still have some ornament designs I want to do and think I may go in that direction. And of course, more of these trays. I just want to step back a short while and see how these are received.

I hope you all have a wonderful Wednesday. I am looking forward to browsing through the pictures and finally getting a chance to catch up with reading some posts on the site. :) Have a great day!

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

5 comments so far

View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 3038 days

#1 posted 07-28-2010 03:46 PM

I have yet to find that magical paintbrush.. gosh I wish I did! Usually what I will do is get it as close as I can, and then for the last coat or two use something that you spray. I can’t help it, I get kind of perfectionist when it comes to brush strokes. (Perhaps why I like watercolours instead of acrylics.)

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3089 days

#2 posted 07-28-2010 05:19 PM

Sheila, you can’t stain after sanding sealer, the wood is effectively sealed. You can dye though.

There will probably be some controversy over this, most likely the old ‘two cultures seperated by a common language thing’ . You know one side calling stain what the other calls dye. Oh well.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2972 days

#3 posted 07-28-2010 05:28 PM

Thanks, Martyn. That is why I am asking. :)

Someone told me that maple itself is difficult to stain evenly and you need some kind of conditioner. Although this table is done and as good as it will get, I still would like to educate myself on the process for the next time when I am working with something that ‘counts’.

There are a few blotchy patches on this piece, but nothing I will lose sleep over. It had the son’s name kind of carved into it when I got here, so she should be thrilled at its resurrection and is not expecting perfection by any means.

Staining and finishing are not my strong points. I have a lot to learn in that department.

I guess that is why they call it ‘sanding sealer’ Sometimes you can’t trust names though. To me, you are right in that ‘stain’ needs to penetrate and ‘dye’ sits on top. At least that is how I had understood it. I appreciate the knowledge I am gaining from this side project!

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3168 days

#4 posted 07-28-2010 06:36 PM

hello Sheila
that´s why we just love to have cats and dogs
they always makes os smile and on our toes :-)

over the years I always had trubble with waterbased lack and paint
to get them floting together with no brush stribes
but I don´t have truble with mineral/oilbased lack and paint they just flot together niicely
except for the BLO-paint becourse you have to use sooooo thin layers
maybee that is your truble with this warnish

and your trubble with grainraising when you use it
it´s always happen when you use waterbased things
look at those two vidio where Charles Neil explain alot about finish products
and why they behave as they do
I know he start with talking about different pines but just hang in there Sheila
the link to the vidios is in theese two blog from A1Jim

hope it will help you


Edit : he say in one of the vidios he had made one only with finish, it´s on you-tube

View BertFlores58's profile


1698 posts in 2975 days

#5 posted 07-29-2010 02:44 AM

Added info about the sanding sealer. If you use oil wood stain, the sanding sealer can melt the stain even when dry specially when you use brush. Spray is okay. I not sure if sanding sealer is a lacquer based because I have problems too when I applied polyurethane top coats.

-- Bert

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