I spent the the entire day yesterday doing research and also some experimenting with some products that I intend to use for my next design. While this doesn’t seem to be the most exciting thing in the world (at least not to blog about!) it is something that is necessary so that when I draw my patterns up, they work out well.
I intend to use the clear Chalkboard Varnish on part of my next project, which I am submitting to the magazine for their holiday issue, but I want to make sure that it will work well and do what I intend it to do – allow the chalk to be erased easily.
The directions say to apply two coats – one vertical and one horizontal – and allow it to dry at least an hour after each application. Then after 24 hours, it should be ready to go.
I decided to use some walnut, as I want the piece dark enough so that the chalk will show up. I also think that using a tight grained wood such as this would do better than something like oak, where the chalk would get stuck in the grain.
I applied a decent coat of the varnish to a section of the wood with a brush, following the grain. By ‘decent’ I mean I was sure that I put enough so that the varnish would begin to fill up the grain. I left it an hour or so and when I came back to check, I found that the grain was raised slightly. This was expected, as the varnish I was using is water-based, so I took a fine grit of sandpaper and gently rubbed it over the surface, making it once again completely smooth.
I then applied a second coat, still in the direction of the grain, and allowed it to dry completely for an hour. This time when I ran my hand over it, it was smooth.
Finally, I applied a third coat of the varnish, but this time I brushed in on cross-grain. While my brush was slightly damp before applying the varnish, it was not wet at all, as I didn’t want to break down the varnish by diluting it. It went on very smooth and I left it overnight.
One thing that I noticed was that the colour of the walnut remained just about the same as it was pre-varnish. This surprised me because usually when applying anything over walnut, it tends to darken quite a bit. In fact, it was a bit difficult to distinguish the treated area from the untreated area on my board (you can see a little line to the left side of the board):
While it hasn’t been quite 24 hours since the final application (it is probably about 18) I thought I would give it a try and see if I could write on the piece and still erase the chalk.
The writing looked quite smooth:
And when I tried to erase it, it quickly came off the wood completely:
I even looked closely at the pores to see if there was residual chalk dust in them, and I am a bit surprised that there was not:
So I am pleased to say that this product passed the test with flying colors. I can go ahead and use it on my design with confidence that I am not going to have a mess on my hands.
I really like when products do what they are supposed to. It sure makes designing a lot more fun knowing that things will work out well. I am happy that I wasn’t disappointed.
Today I will spend the day drawing. I have several ideas for a couple of different projects and I wast to begin working on them as quickly as possible. It appears that it will be a rainy day here, but I am not planning to go anywhere anyway.
I hope you all have nice Sunday and get to spend some time doing fun things.
-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts, Sheila Landry Designs http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com "Knowledge is Power"