What's the weather like in Doug's neighborhood?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Later than never

Okay, so a bit late for a weekend follow up. I never promissed a rose garden. Weekend was definitely a blur of family and friends. Some good BBQ to be had as well. Saturday they were smokin out at the pool. Weird part was we had the place nearly to ourselves. As such we ended up taking home some of the excess bbq. Sunday I followed up by cooking some steaks with a red wine marinade. Very tasty stuff. Not sure where time went, but alas it is gone.

I managed to get out for a ride Sunday mid-day. It was hot and humid up in Monte Sano. I was feeling like a turd. I really need to get more saddle time. No cardio fitness right now and my muscle memory is fading. Too many missed rides this summer. So I kept the ride short. I wanted to at a minimum get out on a couple of fun trails. Sinks trail is a good technical downhill and requires little effort to get to. Then I connected to Keith's trail. Once I hit the benches I was about 45 minutes into the ride and pretty pooped. So I eased out and back around to the biker's lot. End result, I spent almost 1-1/2 hours doing a ride that should have only taken an hour. Kind of a bummer, but atleast it was a ride.

I made some headway on the hall table, but not so much as I would have liked. I got the apron stock resawn down and then jointed the boards to remove the bandsaw marks. Gotta say, bandsaw is a much less stressfull way of thinning down a board than the tablesaw.

I have been running tests on some hard maple for the last week. I came to a conclusion about of about what Tom has suggested. Nice writeup btw Tom.
Tom's blog on finish

For me, a novice woodworker, finishing is a frightening thing. On my current project it is compounded by my choice of hard maple and that my wife wants the finish to match a deep brown picture window that she purchased in Malaysia (kind of mocha brown). Great, starting off 2 strikes down. Over the last couple of weeks I had collected some weapons to attack the project with (a mix of General Finishes and Lowe's off the shelf products). I really should add a couple of pictures as I am sure it would be helpful.

I can produce a nice brown color with Minwax Polyshades Old Maple. But it takes about 4 coats before it starts to really brown up. If you need to do it with one product I would say this is a very stable and predictable one since the stain is suspended and the first coat seals to prevent blotching on subsequent applications.

To expedite the process I tried a General Finishes water based dye (ebony, pretty much black on the lighter wood). I tried this on the raw wood and also on a portion sealed with Zinnser dewaxed shellac. The shellac base really helped make the dye application smoother. Of course now I had 2 very much black/purple samples. Ewww...

In the end the color that actually matched the picture window was shellac, ebony dye, and 3 layers of the tinted polyshade. Sounds complicated, but it isn't too bad. All materials are laid on in thin coats. I wipe off the excess poly after about 5 minutes and then let it dry 4-6 hours before recoat. Between coats a quick hit with #0000 steel wool was all that I did.

Some pictures
- right to left,
1 - ebony dye/colonial maple 2x/shellac
2 - shellac/ebony dye/polyshades 3x
3 - polyshades 4x
4 - shellac/polyshades 3x (top), shellac/polyshades 2x (bottom)

- Shellac really makes the grain pop, giving it depth and reflectivity

- The winning color (on left) sitting in the picture window

Okay, now I just need to get the table together so I can apply the chosen finish. I can really appreciate finishing as an art. Not only to apply the right finishes, but also to be able to do it in the right order to acheive the desired effect is pretty baffling. I think I got lucky to have come as close as I did to the color of the picture window. It is an art and skill to be able to be able to pull out the right products. Hopefully it won't be too expensive getting better at this.

In other news, got the bandsaw all tuned up and working great. It is a very nice tool to have in the shop. I am not gonna jinx myself by saying that it rounds out all of the power tools I need, but it is sure a step in that direction. Between it, tablesaw, jointer, and planer I can pretty much work with any dimension of lumber and get it to what I want to work with.

I also finally got around to fixing my 1/2" corded drill. Dad had given me a Milwaukee Magnum drill a few years ago. It has sat in the drawer since. It was missing it's chuck and lock screw. Somewhere along the way I found a free chuck for it. Well, this week I finally ordered the $2 missing screw. Now I can hold my larger drills up to 1/2" shank. And I have 3 corded drills. I know cordless is all the rave, but I have terrible luck on my drill batteries. My hammer-drill just keeps on trucking, but my last 2 cordless drills (14.4V models) have fittered out. So it is nice to have the cords and not to have to worry about charge.

Okay, so much for not dragging you guys into my garage as much. Deal with it.

Zoe was quite happy to hang out with me in the shop last night. Erin and the kids were at church, so I ran a muck in the garage for the evening.

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