Help a noob finish a jewelry box

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Forum topic by pwgphoto posted 10-07-2012 10:06 PM 3596 views 1 time favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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70 posts in 1033 days

10-07-2012 10:06 PM

Wonder if you fine folks in the finishing forum would help a noob in finishing my latest project, a jewelry box for the wife? It has taken me five months to build this baby. I don’t get a lot of shop time and being new to woodworking, this is my third project, every step is a new learning experience and takes much longer than it should.

The box is made from curly maple and padauk. I need a finish that is somewhat easy to apply and will hopefully make the curly maple pop. I am very new to this. My last two projects, a box and a drill press cart, got a coat of red oak stain and a coat of poly, both of which I had from when I refinished my floors. While this was OK for shop stuff, the poly got tiny bubbles in it, I want this finish job to be nice for my wife’s present.

Here is what the plans suggest. “Liberally apply a coat of boiled linseed oil to the wood, and after 10 minutes wipe off the excess with a clean cloth. Because the various portions of figure absorb the oil at different rates, it enhances the contrast. Let the oil dry for at least a week. Then apply four light coats of a clear finish, such as Deft aerosol lacquer Semigloss Clear Wood Finish, sanding to 320 grit between the first three coats and 400 grit before the final coat.”

So ideas? And remember, I need it spelled out for me. I am, I will say it again, new.

Thank you.

-- Paul, Brooklyn Park, MD.

16 replies so far

View Kookaburra's profile


748 posts in 1042 days

#1 posted 10-07-2012 10:12 PM

Is this already glued up? If so, both sanding and spray finish are going to be very difficult.

I will let the experts discuss the finish but this is really nice and you should be quite pleased.

-- Kay - Just a girl who loves wood.

View teejk's profile


1215 posts in 1502 days

#2 posted 10-07-2012 10:21 PM

is the white your finish color? if not, then deal with that first.

for finish coat on a piece that is not going to get abused, I’d opt for paste wax. several coats! no bubbles/sanding medium to worry about and I find that it removes excess stain.

View knotheadswoodshed's profile


175 posts in 990 days

#3 posted 10-07-2012 11:29 PM

I recommend Danish oil first (I use Watco natural)...2 coats… this will “pop” the curl in your maple.
then depending on the end finish you want, what I would do, if you dont have spray equipment (and I am guessing by your opening statements that you dont) is to use a spray lacquer (in this case I would use Cabots super clear gloss).
I guarantee you will end up with it looking like this (the curl, I mean)

if you need more detailed specifics on the complete process, just message me

-- Randy - "I dont make mistakes, I make design change opportunities"

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70 posts in 1033 days

#4 posted 10-08-2012 01:16 AM

Thanks for the ideas. It is all glued up. I have sanded it all to 220 grit. The white is not a finished color. I am hoping to pop the grain with something and then do a spray lacquer with something in a spray can since I don’t have a sprayer.

Knothead, I looked at the Watco Danish Oil (Natural) today at Homedepot and almost bought it, but went with BLO, just because it is what the plans suggested. If you think the Danish Oil would be better I will get some. Would I apply it to the whole project, maple and padauk, or just the maple? If just maple, what if I get some on the other wood, will it mess it up? Do I apply it and then wipe off like BLO? If you don’t mind giving me the complete rundown that would be awesome.

BTW, you box looks great.

-- Paul, Brooklyn Park, MD.

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Clint Searl

1485 posts in 1178 days

#5 posted 10-08-2012 01:34 AM

Forget all the oils that do bupkis but muddy things and complicate the process. Go straight to rattlecan lacquer with successive light but wet coats until you get the build you want, then rub it out with 0000 steel wool and Johnson’s or Butcher’s wax. Finish up by buffing with an old tee shirt.

Nice work, BTW.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View knotheadswoodshed's profile


175 posts in 990 days

#6 posted 10-08-2012 02:00 AM

wipe the entire box with Danish oil…if you go to just the lacquer, you will not get near as much “pop” from your curly maple.
If you have any doubts, just do this simple test…take a small piece of the curly maple (if you had any left over cut offs) and spray one side with lacquer…try the oil on the other side, then spray with lacquer after it dries..give it at least a day before spraying the lacquer though.

you will immediately see the difference when you put that wet oil on that figured wood, that look will come back after the oil dries and you spray it with the lacquer.

I use figured woods and burls almost exclusively in my box making, and I have found this to give the best “bang” as far as making the most out of these woods.

-- Randy - "I dont make mistakes, I make design change opportunities"

View pwgphoto's profile


70 posts in 1033 days

#7 posted 10-08-2012 02:16 AM

Thanks Knothead. Do I use the Danish Oil like the BLO and wipe on, let sit 10 minutes and then wipe off excess?

-- Paul, Brooklyn Park, MD.

View pwgphoto's profile


70 posts in 1033 days

#8 posted 10-08-2012 05:56 PM

OK, I bought some Watco Danish Oil, natural color, and some Deft Semi Gloss Spray Lacquer. So now I have the BLO and Danish Oil and I will try it on some scrap wood. I went with the semi gloss because that is what was suggested in the plans. Not sure if a full on glossy would have been better, we will see on the test piece.

-- Paul, Brooklyn Park, MD.

View Frankenboom's profile


6 posts in 827 days

#9 posted 11-24-2012 04:22 AM

Amazing box! I’m thinking of building a few as Christmas presents. Did you end up finishing this?

View pwgphoto's profile


70 posts in 1033 days

#10 posted 11-25-2012 04:21 AM

I hate to say it Frankenboom, but I have not put a finish on it yet. Mostly due to my lack of knowledge in finishing. I am afraid of wrecking it. Took me five months to build, on and off, also due to the learning factor. I wound up putting it aside and building a flip top tool cart. My wife is getting on my case to finish it though and I am off for nine days at the beginning of December. I will do some tests on scraps and then finish it before Xmas for her.

-- Paul, Brooklyn Park, MD.

View a1Jim's profile (online now)


113060 posts in 2394 days

#11 posted 11-25-2012 04:47 AM

Ok sorry but I don’t use ,blo or danish oil,Sure it’s easy but some times it takes forever to dry. I suggest you get a set of Charles Neils finishing A-Z and make up your own mind what you like. You have built a fine box and It would be very sad if you put a finish on it and were unhappy with it. even if you don’t want to invest in his videos ,he will be glad to give you his opinion if you e mail him. He’s a expert on finishing with 30+ years experience.

-- Custom furniture

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818 posts in 568 days

#12 posted 09-04-2013 06:43 AM

Did you finish the box? Its really pretty, can you post a pic of the finished box and what you actually, finally used to finish it? (Here’s hoping for a Danish oil /wax finish)

-- Joseph, Lake Forest, CA,

View Finisherman's profile


211 posts in 667 days

#13 posted 09-04-2013 04:46 PM

I’d like to offer a slightly different suggestion as far as finishing your jewelry box is concerned.. Have you considered using a water based dye to pop the curl in your maple? These water based dyes are easy to mix and are available in powdered form from stores like Lee Valley and Rockler. Charles Neil has a video or two online which describe the process of using dyes to accentuate the grain in maple. Dyes give you exceptional clarity and they are compatible with the Deft aerosol lacquer. Finally, a couple of words of caution if you this route. Avoid brushing a waterborne finish over a water soluble dye. You’ll pull up the colour and make a mess. You’d do best to seal the dye with a spray coat of shellac, prior to applying your finish. Finally, test your dye on a scrap piece of the maple that you used to build the box. Maple will sometimes blotch and it’s better to find this out on a piece of scrap, rather than on your project.

View pwgphoto's profile


70 posts in 1033 days

#14 posted 09-20-2013 10:21 AM

Here is a shot of the finished box with my beautiful wife, Jennifer. I should shoot some better pics of the finished project and submit them here for the projects page. If I remember correctly I used Watco Natural and then spray lacquer. The finish if far from perfect. I got some orange peel, but not too bad.

Here is the complete build thread on another WW’ing site.

-- Paul, Brooklyn Park, MD.

View knotheadswoodshed's profile


175 posts in 990 days

#15 posted 09-20-2013 07:01 PM

looks like it turned out pretty darn good to me :)

-- Randy - "I dont make mistakes, I make design change opportunities"

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