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Forum topic by TinWhiskers posted 12-02-2015 02:06 AM 1097 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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179 posts in 1151 days

12-02-2015 02:06 AM

I told a friend I would make a bench for seating of waiting customers in his restaurant. I am using a poplar slab. Was time today for finishing coats. They wanted darker. So did I. Stain was discussed. I couldn’t do it. Pine would be a good wood to stain. Sent them a msg that I won’t stain this piece. So I am using BLO. Varnish as a protectant coat. Now I am sure I made the right choice. (In my mind) Stain would have destroyed such hues as the red coming out of the knots. Did I make the best move?

This is sort of my first work. My first bench and first work with slabs.

18 replies so far

View wood2woodknot's profile


97 posts in 2172 days

#1 posted 12-02-2015 02:33 AM

I guess it depends on whether you stay friends, and whether you still get thanked or paid for your efforts. And then there are times you just have to suck it up to please your “customer.” After all, it belongs to him/her when it’s all over. But you do need to explain your position as an artist.

But for the other party, it’s sort of like getting that ugly sweater as a gift. If you don’t like it, you’ll never wear it and it becomes meaningless to you, while the giver thinks he/she thought so much of it and put their heart into it.

-- ajh

View ChefHDAN's profile


1172 posts in 3048 days

#2 posted 12-02-2015 02:38 AM

As a lover of wood and a person that can appreciate the natural beauty of the coloration and grain pattern you are absolutely correct I hope that you are fortunate that your Friend can have the same respect for the hand created artwork you’ve made and that the Friend does not have some mental picture of a bench from IKEA in his mind. Ohio is too far for me to tell you I’ll buy it if he doesn’t want it, but if he doesn’t want it I am positive that there are many persons whom will pay more for it than you plan to charge your friend.

Please put this up in your projects when it’s finished I want to see the whole bench! Nice work!

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View BurlyBob's profile


5977 posts in 2464 days

#3 posted 12-02-2015 02:40 AM

Whiskers, I think you made the right choice. Those colors are beautiful. That wood will age naturally all on it’s own and if they want it darker, have them put it in the parking lot next summer for a few hours a week it’ll tan nicely.

The grain and color are fantastic as it is.

View TinWhiskers's profile


179 posts in 1151 days

#4 posted 12-02-2015 02:52 AM

I did make the offer of a bench with Elm if this is not to his liking. This is more of a friend to friend deal. I am only asking to be paid for what I have into it. Plus chicken wings. If it was an unknown customer paying good money all details would have been settled at the start.

This being my first piece it is going to be the best I can do. Part of my intentions is to have something to show in an oft seen spot.

View rwe2156's profile


3168 posts in 1679 days

#5 posted 12-02-2015 01:04 PM

I think whatever character is in the wood should be enhanced, if possible.

That’s what give a piece its uniqueness.

I think you did the right thing. Looks good.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View TinWhiskers's profile


179 posts in 1151 days

#6 posted 12-02-2015 01:31 PM

The bench on my bench. Note the front edge of the seat. That is really popping now. I have brackets to hold the legs on. A stretcher has been added. Weighs 140 lbs here. Eager to upload my first project.

I haven’t used BLO before. I have used tung oil. Did a comparison and liked the darker/richer look of BLO. The plan is to add a coat once a day for at least 3 days. Smooth out with 600 grit sand paper each day. The wood really soaked up the first coat. I must have added more BLO 10 times and rubbed it in. Read in an old thread it was suggested a coat a day for a week. Should I do a whole week?

View CharleyL's profile


223 posts in 3563 days

#7 posted 12-03-2015 03:46 PM

I love the look that BLO gives to most woods. I usually do a coat a day for three or more days on a new project. I haven’t seen much difference when doing more than three coats, so I now usually limit it to three coats with light sanding before applying the next coat, then I wait a week for it to fully cure in a warm place before applying any other finish. On wear items, like benches and tables, I’ll put on several additional coats of oil based poly to protect the appearance with a light sanding between each coat. If not a wear item, and made for me, I like to just leave just the BLO as the final finish so I can add new coats each year, or whenever it seems to look like it needs another coat.

Be very careful when using BLO. Don’t leave your BLO soaked rags in your shop after you apply it. If you do, your shop might burn down. BLO on a rag will set itself on fire (spontaneously combust) in just a few hours from a chemical reaction between the curing BLO, Oxygen from the air, and with the rag and the BLO acting as the fuel. I have had BLO soaked rags get extremely hot in just an hour of waiting before wiping off the excess BLO from my project, so now, just as soon as I finish applying the BLO in my shop the rags that were used are put in a pail of water and put outside, away from the shop and anything that will burn. If I’m going to stop using the rag while still working with it for any length of time I will open the rag and hang it over a line or off the edge of the bench so cooling air can freely flow around all of it. I now use a new rag for wiping off the excess BLO and it then goes into the can of water as soon as I finish using it. A day or two later they are transferred, still water wet, from the pail into the garbage. Other kinds of oil on rags can do this too, but BLO on the rags seems to be the most likely to do this.


View TinWhiskers's profile


179 posts in 1151 days

#8 posted 12-04-2015 12:14 AM

Thx Charley

After 3 days I did not notice any changes with more coats. Your advice held true. It will be a wear item sitting in a waiting area in a restaurant. I did jump the gun on adding varnish this morn. It felt dry after an overnight to cure. I got antsy. Next time I will wait.

Thx for the word on combustion. For the first time I started tossing my oily rags in a pail of water. After your word I emptied the pail on my burn pile.

One coat. I’ll start wet sanding with 600 grit between coats.

View Knothead62's profile


2600 posts in 3160 days

#9 posted 12-04-2015 12:26 AM

1. The customer is always right.
2. If the customer is wrong, refer to #1.

You might have talked him into a very light stain that wouldn’t hide much of the color and keep the grain as a prominent feature. That is a nice piece of wood, BTW.

View conifur's profile


955 posts in 1350 days

#10 posted 12-04-2015 12:27 AM

I have not read through the post, just yours, it is you to suggest, not dictate to a paying client, did you ever think about dye to get the color? And no pine is not a good wood to stain do to blotchiness. Maybe your client knows more then you do?

-- Knowledge and experience equals Wisdom, Michael Frankowski

View conifur's profile


955 posts in 1350 days

#11 posted 12-04-2015 12:46 AM

BurlyBob, sun bleaches wood lighter except for cherry and a few others, Poplar will get lighter.

-- Knowledge and experience equals Wisdom, Michael Frankowski

View TinWhiskers's profile


179 posts in 1151 days

#12 posted 12-04-2015 01:48 AM

To rehash…Not really a paying client. Friend to a friend deal. His restaurant does a few charity feeds each year. Plus he is a minister. I told him no fee. This was payback for all the good deeds he has done. If he pays anything it would be maybe $50 and chicken wings, for brackets, BLO and such. Poplar slab was given to me. Plusses for me is I get my feet wet and have a piece displayed in a prominent area. Areas of unknown are that this is my first work with a slab. I may have jumped the gun with MC being high. Right now it is around 12%. I don’tknow how it will check or warp when taken inside. I won’t sell something with so many variables. He has been told if he doesn’t like the hue that I will make him an elm bench.

I don’t much care for stain at this point. I’d rather get the type of wood for the shade I want. If I do go commercial the client and I would sit and work out all the details. I made the right choice here.

View TinWhiskers's profile


179 posts in 1151 days

#13 posted 12-04-2015 01:50 AM

Comment from my friend on FB today…

It’s gonna look great in our restaurant

Kim Edward Haubert

View builtinbkyn's profile


2653 posts in 1139 days

#14 posted 12-04-2015 03:47 AM

Your sentiments is why I didn’t become an architect for higher. Didn’t want to compromise my design principles for money. I know you said this was a job between friends, but you still had your believes and design principles you adhered to and that should be commended.

Nice work by the way :) Looks great!

Oh yeah, those rags are time bombs. Always dispose of them in a bucket of water. One guy nearly burned down the shop I worked in by leaving one on the floor. You can’t imagine how hot they get after a few hours.

-- Bill, Yo! Brooklyn & Steel City :)

View becikeja's profile


947 posts in 3012 days

#15 posted 12-05-2015 02:10 PM

I love woodworking as a hobby, I don’t think I could ever do custom work, for the sole reason you bring up. “the customer is always right” has to be your starting point as the purpose of building the piece is to extract money from them. Just seems too limiting for me, but I do respect those of you who are making it work and dealing with the craziness of many customers. When I start a project I usually sketch it out and have a vision in my mind. I won’t say always, but most likely 90% of my projects take a design twist over the course of the project. I think the joy of woodworking would be zapped if I lose the artistic license. Anything I sell goes on the market after completion, that way I don’t have to deal with it. But as I said, it’s a hobby for me, not a business.

-- Don't outsmart your common sense

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