Nov 17

Finishing experiment

All the major work is done now, everything’s glued up (though the last of the oak boxes is still curing really) and the prep finishing is either done or in train…

The poplar boxes have all had a coat of sanding sealer here (again, just blonde shellac cut down from a 2# cut to a half-pound cut), and the outer box of one has been test-finished with red milk paint (more on that in a moment). The oak boxes have all been given a coat of the oak tea (with surfactant) and they got another early this morning. The poplar drawer front on the oak-and-poplar box got a coat of sanding sealer.
The oak-and-poplar pencil box, the sapele boxes and the ash boxes all got another coat of danish oil and after the excess was wiped off and it had had a while to set up, they all got a coat of shellac (blond 2# shellac for the ash boxes; garnet #2 shellac for the sapele and the oak&poplar boxes). Tonight they’ll get a quick light sanding from worn 240grit paper and we’ll see if they need another coat or if I’ll go straight to poly (I wouldn’t for furniture, but these are quickly-made trinkets…).

Milk paint is neat stuff, at least in how it’s made up – you buy the powder (this is Causeway Sunset by The Crafty Bird in case anyone’s interested, I’ve had it a while and wanted to use it on something but never had the chance till now), and then you make it up on the fly as you need it, just mixing it with an equal amount of water (or in this case, a little less water to powder for a thicker mix). Make it up in a paper cup, apply from that cup, discard that cup. No half-full small tins of latex with the painted-on lids and the dribbles clogging up the shed for years before you finally give in and throw them out.

The downside is that the colours aren’t as bright as you get with latex-based paints, but some people prefer pastels and earthy shades. And even if you don’t, they can still be kindof striking:

Haven’t messed with colour enhance filters here, I promise. There’s white balancing and that’s all (and the white wall and the parchment paper give a decent white sample for the filter to latch onto) so the colour’s pretty true – it really is that jarring when wet. It dries to a chalky light pink, but when you put a topcoat on it, it darkens up again. We’ll see how well it copes, it got a spray of poly this morning and I think it’ll need another tonight.

And the branding is done as well 😀
There’s still felt to glue on, but that’s the very last step, done over the finish. Not sure if this’ll make it for Friday morning, but it might for Friday afternoon…

Dec 16

That whooshing noise…

…is a rapidly approaching deadline 😀 So there’s been a lot of work and not a lot of photos and typing.

I’ve been testing some finishes…

So there’s shellac on the walnut, I’m testing both shellac and osmo wax on the ash, and milk paint on the poplar. The latter is very vibrant going on…

…but after it’s dried the next day, it’s faded a bit…

…which is disappointing, because I’m not a fan of this modern shabby chic chalk paint nonsense. But if you put a layer or two of osmo over the top of it, it picks back up somewhat. Well, it’ll have to do.

Meanwhile, all the panels are now planed (holy carp but kiln-dried ash is god-awful stuff to work with even if it does look nice, especially long heavy pieces), all the frame pieces are cut to length and we’re into the joinery and fitting stage.

And sharpening. Soooooo much sharpening. Stupid kiln-dried ash.

I really need more storage space. And yes, the floor’s a right mess. It normally wouldn’t be, but I managed to pull something in the small of my back two days ago doing the shopping for the xmas dinner (lifting heavy things into and out of deep shopping trolleys in a rush at the checkout must do in more backs than any gym). When I can lift my left knee more than two inches without the stabbing pain in my back again, I’ll clean the floor up.

Meanwhile, I can work while standing.

Trying out a slightly less fancy morticing method (a lot faster too, I’m becoming quite a fan of holdfasts) and it works quite well. The mortices for the slats will have to be quite a bit smaller than the ones for the frame though, there’s so many of them to do. Mind you, those slats don’t have to hold the thing together, so smaller mortices will be fine.

Sawed out the tenons on the waste side of the line and then snuck up on the fit with chisel work. This was a bit slow – need to saw to the line next time. The fit might be less tight, but there’s enough meat there to drawbore if needed…

And then there’s the grooves for the panel. This was easy enough once I had the piece secured in the vice, it’s only got a grip on the bottom few millimetres of the rail so that the fence on the #44 doesn’t snag on the bench. I’d like to have the fence on the outside of the piece (but the vice chops would catch it then), but the configuration of the piece means that can’t be done. Oh well.

Fettling the panel was a bit of a foostering. Actually shaping it was not too shabby (though it’s not completely finished there), but getting the width perfect and the joints all closed up… yeesh. And that’s still not perfect yet, I have to trim a millimetre or so yet, that could be another half-hour tomorrow. But for now, the back panel is done…

Tomorrow I’ll finish fettling this, give the ash panel another skim with the smoothing plane to deal with the little bits of tear-out and add the bevel on the ends of the panel as well, and once it’s all perfect, I’ll take it apart again and use the pieces to mark off the various mortices and so on on the other frame and panel pieces and try to get the front panel done; then it’ll be the end frames and the end panel and the drawer front, then take it all apart again and cut the mortices for the slats; then make up the drawer and then it’s finishing and assembly.

By Christmas day? Er… hmmm… suuuuuure, no worries…

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