Maple Trestle Table, Session 31 – Finishing the Top

On the morning of Sunday, April 15th, Morton and I exchanged ideas about trestle tables, spurred on by a recent sketch of a table on which he was working.  That got me yearning to build a trestle table.

I documented my progress live on Twitter which was useful because each update had a time stamp so followers could see the rate at which I progressed.  Here is a list of the previous Sessions:

Session 1 – Flat Boards are Boring;
Session 2 – Playing with Slabs;
Session 3 – From Two Slabs to One Table Top;
Session 4 – Clamping Odd Shapes and Sketching on Wood;
Session 5 – Routing Pockets for Battens;
Session 6 – Making Battens and Installing Countertop Connectors;
Session 7 – Installing Battens and Flattening the Underside;
Session 8 – Make Your Tools Work for You and Flattening the Top;
Session 9 – Mortises the Slow Way (or Why I’m Buying a Domino XL);
Session 10 – Curvy Legs are Always Good;
Session 11 – Straight Lines on Wonky Surfaces;
Session 12 – Fitting the Mother of all Mortise & Tenon Joints;
Session 13 – Making Things Better, Worse, then Better;
Session 14 – Battens and Complicated Tenons, Again;
Session 15 – The Trestle Comes Together Session;
Session 16 – Angled Mortises and Tenons;
Session 17 – Two Feet for Two Legs;
Session 18 – Attachment Strips and Power Carving;
Session 19 – Refining the Sculpted Base;
Session 20 – A Little Sanding, then Lots More Sanding;
Session 21 – Preparing for a Big Glue-Up;
Session 22 – Fitting and Joining the Table Top;
Session 23 – The Bottom of the Top;
Session 24 – Profiling the Table’s Edge;
Session 25 – Completing the Bottom Edge;
Session 26 – Installing the Base;
Session 27 – Flattening the Top and Completing the Edge;
Session 28 – Filling the Voids;
Session 29 – Removing Epoxy, Then Adding More; and
Session 30 – Preparing for Finishing and Starting Some Finishing.

(If you are not familiar with the format used on Twitter, every update, or “tweet” below starts with a username, being the author of that tweet.  Sometimes, you see two or more usernames in a tweet.  The second (and third, etc) usernames are preceded by a @ symbol and are people to whom the author is talking.  The other symbol you see is #, which serves as a category.  I try to remember to categorize all my tweets pertaining to this project under #flairww.)

FlairWoodworks “WELCOME to Session 31 of the Maple Trestle Table build!” I shout from the rooftops. #flairww -3:01 PM Jul 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’ve got the table on its feet and I’m preparing to lay down the first of three coats of General Finish’s Enduro-Var Satin. #flairww -3:03 PM Jul 17th, 2012

BCcraftmaster @FlairWoodworks method of application? -3:10 PM Jul 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @BCcraftmaster I’ll use a rag to wipe on the final 3 coats. There are already 2 heavily brushed on coats of General Exterior 450 urethane containing UV inhibitors. #flairww -3:17 PM Jul 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’ve gone over the top surface with 320-grit paper to level the last brushed coat. Now I’ll hand-sand the edges. #flairww -3:20 PM Jul 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks When I brushed on the first two coats, I was more concerned about coverage than runs. #flairww -3:25 PM Jul 17th, 2012

Tumblewood @FlairWoodworks whoop whoop whoop!!!!! #flairww -3:25 PM Jul 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I need to make sure that I remove all the runs before I start finishing. My right hand is sanding, my left is feeling for bumps. #flairww -3:25 PM Jul 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @Tumblewood Isn’t it exciting? I can’t wait to get some pictures of the finished table to share with everyone! #flairww -3:26 PM Jul 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I vacuumed the surface thoroughly. Now I’m ready to continue finishing. #flairww -3:50 PM Jul 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The first coat of Enduro-Var has been ragged on very thinly. It’s already dry to the touch. #flairww-3:59 PM Jul 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’ll apply another coat in one hour.#flairww -3:59 PM Jul 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I just applied another thin, wiped-on coat of finish. It’s quick and easy once you find the rhythm. Hint: don’t use too much finish. #flairww -5:14 PM Jul 17th, 2012

DozersWorkshop @FlairWoodworks @tumblewood we are waiting with baited breath #flairww -5:27 PM Jul 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Time for another, and possibly last, coat of finish! #flairww -6:14 PM Jul 17th, 2012

BCcraftmaster @FlairWoodworks Must feel very good! -6:15 PM Jul 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks While applying the finish, I noticed what looks like a dried drop of finish. #flairww -6:21 PM Jul 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’ll come back in an hour and level it, then apply one more coat. #flairww -6:21 PM Jul 17th, 2012

LaMacchiaDesign @FlairWoodworks how did wiping enduro var go? I’ve only brushed on. -6:30 PM Jul 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @LaMacchiaDesign It started to go very well once I figured out how much finish to have on the rag. Too much and it leaves a wet trail. #flairww -6:31 PM Jul 17th, 2012

LaMacchiaDesign @FlairWoodworks how light of a coat did you do? I realize that might be hard to reference. – 6:35 PM Jul 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @LaMacchiaDesign Light enough that it was dry to the touch perhaps 10 seconds later. Does that help? #flairww -6:36 PM Jul 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @LaMacchiaDesign The right amount of finish doesn’t make things slippery, but there is only a little drag. #flairww -6:40 PM Jul 17th, 2012

LaMacchiaDesign @FlairWoodworks yes. I’ve used it enough to have some insight on that. I’m going to try it one of these days. Are you happy w/ how it went? – 6:40 PM Jul 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @LaMacchiaDesign I am very happy with how the finishing process went. #flairww -6:41 PM Jul 17th, 2012

Warped_Boards @FlairWoodworks do you wipe it on with a tampon, rag, sponge or brush? -10:33 PM Jul 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @Warped_Boards I use a cotton rag carefully bundled up so that no wrinkles contact the workpiece. #flairww -10:35 PM Jul 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @Warped_Boards It’s similar to a French-polishing pad, except all cotton. #flairww -10:36 PM Jul 17th, 2012

Warped_Boards @FlairWoodworks cool, I’m going to try that. I’ve been annoyed by using a sponge brush- it applies too much finish that then sags -10:40 PM Jul 17th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @Warped_Boards Nothing worse than sags. I did use foam brushes to apply the first two coats to build the finish, then sanded back. #flairww -10:41 PM Jul 17th, 2012

Now, I will wait for the finish to cure to the point that when I sand it, dust is produced and the finish doesn’t produce “corns”, clogging the abrasive paper.  In Session 32, I’ll smooth the finish and give the table a final inspection.

You can leave a comment now, or wait to see pictures of the completed table.  (That feels so good to write!)

Maple Trestle Table, Session 30 – Preparing for Finishing and Starting Some Finishing

On the morning of Sunday, April 15th, Morton and I exchanged ideas about trestle tables, spurred on by a recent sketch of a table on which he was working.  That got me yearning to build a trestle table.

I documented my progress live on Twitter which was useful because each update had a time stamp so followers could see the rate at which I progressed.  Here is a list of the previous Sessions:

Session 1 – Flat Boards are Boring;
Session 2 – Playing with Slabs;
Session 3 – From Two Slabs to One Table Top;
Session 4 – Clamping Odd Shapes and Sketching on Wood;
Session 5 – Routing Pockets for Battens;
Session 6 – Making Battens and Installing Countertop Connectors;
Session 7 – Installing Battens and Flattening the Underside;
Session 8 – Make Your Tools Work for You and Flattening the Top;
Session 9 – Mortises the Slow Way (or Why I’m Buying a Domino XL);
Session 10 – Curvy Legs are Always Good;
Session 11 – Straight Lines on Wonky Surfaces;
Session 12 – Fitting the Mother of all Mortise & Tenon Joints;
Session 13 – Making Things Better, Worse, then Better;
Session 14 – Battens and Complicated Tenons, Again;
Session 15 – The Trestle Comes Together Session;
Session 16 – Angled Mortises and Tenons;
Session 17 – Two Feet for Two Legs;
Session 18 – Attachment Strips and Power Carving;
Session 19 – Refining the Sculpted Base;
Session 20 – A Little Sanding, then Lots More Sanding;
Session 21 – Preparing for a Big Glue-Up;
Session 22 – Fitting and Joining the Table Top;
Session 23 – The Bottom of the Top;
Session 24 – Profiling the Table’s Edge;
Session 25 – Completing the Bottom Edge;
Session 26 – Installing the Base;
Session 27 – Flattening the Top and Completing the Edge;
Session 28 – Filling the Voids; and
Session 29 – Removing Epoxy, Then Adding More.

(If you are not familiar with the format used on Twitter, every update, or “tweet” below starts with a username, being the author of that tweet.  Sometimes, you see two or more usernames in a tweet.  The second (and third, etc) usernames are preceded by a @ symbol and are people to whom the author is talking.  The other symbol you see is #, which serves as a category.  I try to remember to categorize all my tweets pertaining to this project under #flairww.)

FlairWoodworks I’m back at work on Maple Trestle Table. I have more scraping and sanding of epoxy, but hopefully that won’t be the whole day. #flairww-10:41 AM Jul 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’ll start work today by sanding the bottom to 320-grit. #flairww -10:45 AM Jul 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m sanding the flat area first. Then I’ll sand the contoured edge. #flairww -11:02 AM Jul 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Then I’ll flip the top and repeat. #flairww -11:02 AM Jul 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The top has been sanded to 320-grit. At this point, the edge has only been sanded to 120-grit. #flairww -11:17 AM Jul 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The edge has now been sanded to 180-grit. #flairww -11:26 AM Jul 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The edge is now sanded to 220-grit.#flairww -11:34 AM Jul 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The bottom of the table, including the edge, is sanded to 320-grit. Time to flip the top! #flairww -11:42 AM Jul 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks In preparation for flipping the top, I reattached the battens so I don’t risk scratching the surface. #flairww -11:50 AM Jul 8th, 2012

DyamiPlotke @FlairWoodworks [Are you sanding the edge] by hand? -11:50 AM Jul 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’ve been using my random orbit sander with a 3/8″ foam interface pad. It works well. #flairww RT @DyamiPlotke: @FlairWoodworks by hand? -11:54 AM Jul 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Remember this side? I need to scrape epoxy before sanding. #flairww -11:57 AM Jul 8th, 2012

Tumblewood He’s at it again!! Woot! RT @FlairWoodworks: Remember this side? I need to scrape epoxy before sanding. #flairww -12:05 PM Jul 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Scraping is done. Now I’ll sand to 320-grit. #flairww -12:41 PM Jul 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The first stage of sanding takes the longest. I’ve sanded the top with 120-grit and switched to 180. #flairww -1:10 PM Jul 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks On to 220-grit. #flairww -1:24 PM Jul 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Finally, 320-grit! #flairww -1:33 PM Jul 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’ve sanded the top to 320-grit. It almost looks finished. #flairww -1:47 PM Jul 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m using a damp rag to raise the grain. #flairww -1:49 PM Jul 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks When the surface is wet, it looks finished. This is very rewarding. #flairww -1:49 PM Jul 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks After being dampened, the wood feels a little rough. I’ll lightly sand it by hand with 320-grit. #flairww -1:54 PM Jul 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I sanded the edge and knocked down the raised grain. I am done sanding and ready for finishing! #flairww -2:12 PM Jul 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Well, there’s actually a bit more to do before finishing. I have to smooth the epoxy on the inside edges. #flairww -2:14 PM Jul 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I removed the sharpness from the live edge with a little hand sanding. #flairww -2:30 PM Jul 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I blended the epoxy into the live edge with a file and sandpaper. #flairww -2:32 PM Jul 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks My first coat will be a finish with UV inhibitors to prevent the epoxy from yellowing. #flairww -2:38 PM Jul 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I know… you want to see a picture of the table with some finish on it. Here you go! #flairww -2:49 PM Jul 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks And now, we wait. #flairww -2:50 PM Jul 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks In an hour, I’ll give the top a light sanding then apply another coat of the exterior finish. #flairww -2:53 PM Jul 8th, 2012

HalfInchShy @FlairWoodworks Looks great, Chris! Gonna be no fun finishing but at least it’s nearly done and out the door! #flairww -3:31 PM Jul 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @HalfInchShy Why do you think it will be no fun to finish? #flairww -3:51 PM Jul 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks It’s been an hour so I’ll give the table a light sanding with 320-grit, then apply another coat. #flairww -3:51 PM Jul 8th, 2012

HalfInchShy @FlairWoodworks ..seems like a lot of nooks and crannies, which is never fun during finishing except that… ur nearly done! wahoo! #flairww-3:53 PM Jul 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The top and base are both in the shop for finishing! #flairww -7:31 PM Jul 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks There are some wicked lumps at the bottom of the can. I guess I need to keep stirring… #flairww -7:33 PM Jul 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Before the second coat, I’m going to lightly sand the surface to make it smooth. #flairww -9:31 PM Jul 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks After sanding the finish smooth, I wiped off the dust with a rag slightly dampened with water. #flairww -9:49 PM Jul 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The second coat has been applied to the base and underside of the top. #flairww -10:21 PM Jul 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks After this coat of finish dries, I’ll smooth it before applying the final coat. Then I’ll rub it out for a perfect finish. #flairww -10:24 PM Jul 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks In simple terms, rubbing out is sanding the finish. I may use these foam-backed abrasive pads. #flairww -10:27 PM Jul 8th, 2012

HalfInchShy What would it be in non-simple terms? :) RT @FlairWoodworks: In simple terms, rubbing out is sanding the finish. #flairww -10:43 PM Jul 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @HalfInchShy Abrading the macroscopic synthetic stratum to obtain a smooth, uniform appearance using an abrasive medium. #flairww-10:49 PM Jul 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m back in the shop preparing for the last coat of finish tonight. #flairww -12:14 AM Jul 9th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I love the way this finish looks. I’ll finish applying the finish tomorrow. #flairww -1:05 AM Jul 9th, 2012

Before flipping the top over to finish the other side, I will rub out the bottom surface. The trestle base needs only to be rubbed out to complete it.  That will happen in Session 31!

Care to leave a comment?

Wire-Brushed Picture Frame, Session 1

On a sunny day in May, I found myself strolling along the pier at Port Moody’s Rocky Point Park.  Looking across the Eastern-most point of the Burrard Inlet, (part of the Pacific Ocean), I saw a guitarist standing on a rock as gentle waves lapped against it.  I took a picture.

Most pictures that I have taken remained in digital form, but I kept coming back to this one and thinking that I should print and frame it.  I had the image printed and bought a mat for it.  I could have bought a frame too, but I wasn’t happy with the quality of the frames I saw for under $50 and didn’t like the style of any of the frames available.

What to do…

FlairWoodworks I need to make a frame for a newly acquired piece of art. Matted, it measures 11″ x 14″. Follow along as I design and build it! #flairww -2:38 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks This is the picture I am framing. I don’t want the frame to distract from the picture. #flairww -2:44 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m thinking of a dark, rustic wooden frame. I like the effect that wirebrushing creates. #flairww -2:44 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

StillerDesigns @FlairWoodworks ooo you have lots of choices to make :0) -2:45 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks For a successful wire-brushing effect, I need a wood with different hardnesses of early and late wood. Fir and cedar are suitable examples. #flairww -2:46 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks Indeed I do! #flairww RT @StillerDesigns: @FlairWoodworksooo you have lots of choices to make :0) -2:46 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

HalfInchShy @FlairWoodworks I like that idea; going to burn the soft grain? #flairww -2:47 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks I have not used a torch in the past, but may try. RT@HalfInchShy: @FlairWoodworks I like that idea; going to burn the soft grain? #flairww -2:47 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m on the hunt for some appropriate materials… some small, tight knots would be nice. #flairww -2:48 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

@StillerDesigns @FlairWoodworks once you’ve wirebrushed & burned you could lime it :0) -2:50 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks Lime would make it white, right? #flairww RT @StillerDesigns @FlairWoodworks once you’ve wirebrushed & burned you could lime it :0) -2:50 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

HalfInchShy @FlairWoodworks That picture might look good using driftwood stock for the frame #flairww -2:51 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

StillerDesigns not necessarily, lime is not only white,can be other colours too :0) -2:52 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks That’s a good idea too. RT @HalfInchShy: @FlairWoodworks That picture might look good using driftwood stock for the frame #flairww -2:51 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks All the limes I have are green ;) #flairww RT @StillerDesigns: not necessarily, lime is not only white,can be other colours too :0) -2:52 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

HalfInchShy @FlairWoodworks wahoo margarita tuesdays! #flairww -2:54 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks Not many small pieces of fir around…#flairww -2:56 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

StillerDesigns @FlairWoodworks have fun with your frame :0) 2:57 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks These are too big as well. They’re also for an upcoming commission. #flairww -2:57 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

HalfInchShy @FlairWoodworks ooh, is that for the castle? #flairww -2:57 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks This piece is about the right size, but no fine knots which I’d like. #flairww -2:58 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks Loft bed, actually :) #flairww RT @HalfInchShy: @FlairWoodworks ooh, is that for the castle? #flairww -2:59 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks Thanks, I will! #flairww RT @StillerDesigns: @FlairWoodworks have fun with your frame :0) -2:59 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks It’s harder that I thought it would be to find appropriate materials. I’ll go check the garage. #flairww -3:02 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks I just found a great piece of old (hard and dense) fir right next to my computer. #flairww -3:06 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

HalfInchShy @FlairWoodworks Nice gradient of ring spacing. Much better suited to a frame than a mousepad #flairww -3:07 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks Mousepad? RT @HalfInchShy: @FlairWoodworks Nice gradient of ring spacing. Much better suited to a frame than a mousepad #flairww -3:07 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m going to mill a 1/4″ wide by 1/2″ deep rabbet into the inside edge of the frame for the picture. The stock is 3/4″ x 2-3/8″. #flairww-3:08 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks The stock is too wide for the frame. I’ll mill the rabbet first, then cut it to width. It’s safer that way. #flairww -3:09 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks Using the 3/4″-thick stock as a guide, I set the blade approximately 1/2″ high. #flairww -3:16 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks The blade is 1/8″-wide so I estimated that width between the blade and the fence for 1/4″. #flairww -3:18 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks The first cut is done. #flairww -3:20 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks I readjusted the saw and made the second cut to finish the rabbet. Notice that the offcut is not between the blade and fence. #flairww -3:23 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks For one rabbet, I find it quicker to tune up with a shoulder plane than get it perfect with the table saw. #flairww -3:30 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks Hmm… how wide should I make the frame? #flairww -3:32 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks I think this width looks about right. It’s a little over 7/8″. #flairww -3:35 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks To the table saw! #flairww -3:35 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks I don’t know the last time I cut mitres and I hardly ever use my mitre saw. Today I’m doing both. #flairww -3:41 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks I took my time with the mitres, ensuring that the opposite pieces matched in length. #flairww -3:56 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

DyamiPlotke @FlairWoodworks nice. -4:02 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks Thanks, Dyami! #flairww RT @DyamiPlotke: @FlairWoodworksnice. -4:02 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks To reinforce the mitres, I’m going to use a 4mm Domino as a spline. #flairww -4:06 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m using a corner clamp to hold the pieces together while I make the cut for the Domino spline. #flairww -4:08 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks With the 4mm bit installed, I checked to see if further jigging was required for a safe and accurate cut.  I felt comfortable making the cut without any extra preparation. #flairww -4:12 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks One cut done; three to go! The splines add strength and make alignment easier when I glue up the frame. #flairww-4:18 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

dacaddes @FlairWoodworks Isn’t the grain going the wrong way in the spline for strength? -4:18 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks Yes, but it’s strong enough for this. #flairww RT @dacaddes: @FlairWoodworks Isn’t the grain going the wrong way in the spline for strength? -4:20 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks @dacaddes I suppose that if I wanted, I could cut the tenons to make them fit in sideways so the grain runs across the joint. #flairww -4:21 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks There are ribs on the sides of the Domino tenons that I removed with a block plane to ease assembly. #flairww-4:32 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

josh_ulloa @FlairWoodworks Cool idea, would’ve never thought to do that. -4:27 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks Did you see @dacaddes comment on grain direction? #flairww RT @josh_ulloa: @FlairWoodworks Cool idea, would’ve never thought to do that. -4:33 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks Before assembling the frame, I’m going to wire-brush the parts so I don’t have to deal with cross-grain situations. #flairww -4:35 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks Outside, I charred one face of a scrap with a propane torch. Now I’ll work it with a wire brush. #flairww -4:43 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks The same texture is achievable with or without the torch, but more work is needed for the untorched face. #flairww-4:47 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks The untorched face required 30 brush strokes while the torched face required only 3. I like the colour of the torched face too. #flairww-4:47 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks The test piece was very long so it was easy to hold while I burned one end. The actual pieces are not so easy to safely burn. #flairww -4:50 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

BCcraftmaster @FlairWoodworks the torched face looks sweet! I’ve never heard of that technique! -4:56 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

josh_ulloa @FlairWoodworks @dacaddes For a frame of that size is strength really a concern? -4:58 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks I laid the frame pieces across steel angle and torched them there. #flairww -5:04 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’ve heard of it but never used it. #flairww RT @BCcraftmaster the torched face looks sweet! I’ve never heard of that technique! -5:05 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks @josh_ulloa @dacaddes For this frame, the strength doesn’t really matter, but for a larger application, it’s may be an issue. #flairww -5:07 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks While burning/charring the wood, it momentarily caught fire several times but went out on its own almost immediately. #flairww -5:08 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

BCcraftmaster @FlairWoodworks only used for Doug fir? -5:11 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks @BCcraftmaster You could use this technique for any wood that has a density difference between the early and late wood. #flairww -5:13 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks The coarseness of the grain makes the wood prone to splintering. I don’t mind the look though. #flairww -5:18 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m going to prefinish the part before assembly because glue removal on unfinished textured areas will not be fun. #flairww -5:20 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks I applied a Dark Walnut aniline dye to the test piece. I like it so I’ll do the same to the frame. #flairww -5:24 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks The alcohol-based dye dries very quickly so I’ll be able to apply a clearcoat soon. #flairww -5:34 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

kring_l @FlairWoodworks always a source of inspiration, I need to make a frame for a picture my brother got me. Now what do I have to use? -5:31 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks Why do I have so many gloss and semi-gloss products in my finishing cabinet? #flairww -5:36 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’ve sprayed on the first coat of finish (satin polyurethane). One more should be enough. #flairww -5:44 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks I just applied the second coat. I’ll let it dry, then assemble the frame later tonight. #flairww -5:55 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

BCcraftmaster @FlairWoodworks is the top of your dewalt planer the spray Booth? -5:58 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks You betcha! Added value! #flairww RT @BCcraftmaster: @FlairWoodworks is the top of your dewalt planer the spray Booth? -5:58 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’ve got the frame dry-fitted with a band clamp. All looks good so I’ll take it apart and apply the glue. #flairww -9:05 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks The frame is assembled with glue and the Domino splines inserted. Work here is done for now. #flairww -9:18 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks When the glue is dry I’ll cut the splines flush and install the picture. #flairww -9:19 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks Would you use glass in front of the picture? I found this thread and the answers are surprising. #flairww -9:23 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

gvmcmillan @FlairWoodworks Looks good. I like using domino splines – they’re super-strong! #flairww -9:39 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks @gvmcmillan Yes, even though I installed them with the grain not running across the joint, they’ll be plenty strong. #flairww -9:40 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

josh_ulloa @FlairWoodworks I’ve used lexan from the home center and been happy with it. Crystal clear after several years. -9:44 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

gvmcmillan @FlairWoodworks We have a very large print with glass in front. If I use a mat, I prefer glass for clarity. If not, plexi is fine. -9:46 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks @josh_ulloa Glad to hear it! #flairww -10:22 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks @gvmcmillan Hmm. Interesting. For a piece of glass this small (11″ x 14″), weight is definitely a non-issue. #flairww -10:23 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks @gvmcmillan And yes, I am using a mat. #flairww -10:25 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

gvmcmillan @FlairWoodworks I find the further the plexiglass is from the actual picture, the foggier it looks. Much clearer with real glass. #flairww -10:56 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks @gvmcmillan I’m very new to picture framing but have done a little reading. I was planning to put everything in a tight stack. #flairww -10:58 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks @gvmcmillan The picture is a photograph and not a highly-valuable piece of art. #flairww -10:58 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks @gvmcmillan What would you recommend that I use? 1/16″ non-glare glass? #flairww -11:02 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

gvmcmillan @FlairWoodworks Our print is 48″x36″ with 3 mats & is numbered print of this [below].  We had it framed professionally. #flairww-11:02 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

gvmcmillan @FlairWoodworks How many mats? More than 1, I stay away from non-glare glass. #flairww -11:02 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks @gvmcmillan There are two layers to the mat. That’s what you were asking, right? #flairww -11:04 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

gvmcmillan @FlairWoodworks Yes. I think 1/16″ glass is good, but I don’t like non-glare that far from picture – looks slightly foggy #flairww -11:05 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks @gvmcmillan So go with standard glass and I prevent glare by hanging it in the right place with proper lighting, right? #flairww -11:06 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

gvmcmillan @FlairWoodworks Yessir! #flairww -11:07 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

FlairWoodworks @gvmcmillan Maybe I’ll use lots of mats and non-glare gloss for a picture of a foggy day :) #flairww -11:07 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

gvmcmillan @FlairWoodworks Hah! Great idea :) #flairww -11:09 PM Jul 3rd, 2012

Between now and Session 2, I need to decide which type of glass (or acrylic) I want to use and purchase that.  See you next time!

Have a comment?  Can you think of any other species of wood other than fir and cedar which would work well for the wire-brushing technique?  Share it in the comments section!

Maple Slab Table

For a beautiful, smooth finish that requires little maintenance I first brushed on two coats of polyurethane to build the finish.  Then I smoothed the surface with extra-fine steel wool before spraying on three coats of satin polyurethane.  I sprayed the base with five coats of gloss black enamel.

Read the details of the Tweet-Along build in Session 1, Session 2, and Session 3.

Here are some photos of the completed table.  It is approximately 38″ x 15″ and 21″ tall.  Click on any photo to view it full-size.

Small Ash Side Table

At 11:45 am on Saturday, December 17, I decided that I would make a small table as a Christmas gift.  I documented my process live on Twitter and what you see below are the updates.  This was useful because each update had a time stamp so followers could see the rate at which I progressed.

(If you are not familiar with the format used on Twitter, the @ symbol indicates a username.  Every update, or “tweet” below starts with a username and they are the author of that tweet.  Sometimes, you will see two or more usernames in a tweet.  The second (and third, etc) usernames are people the author is talking to.  The other symbol you will see is #, which serves as a category.  I tried to remember to categorize all my tweets pertaining to this project under #flairww.)

Saturday, December 17:  5-1/2 hours

  • @FlairWoodworks: I’m going to try to design and build a table today, starting right now. Follow along with hash tag #flairww
    December 17, 2011, 11:48 am
  • @FlairWoodworks: The first step will be to find some cool wood. #flairww
    December 17, 2011, 11:48 am
  • @FlairWoodworks: This odd piece looks to be the right height for legs. I’m thinking pedestal. #flairww
    December 17, 2011, 11:51 am
  • @gvmcmillan: @FlairWoodworks Good luck cutting that safely!
    December 17, 2011, 11:54 am
  • @FlairWoodworks: Smoothing the power-carved surfaces with a hand plane.
    December 17, 2011, 12:24 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: I’d like to use this piece for the base and top of the table. #flairww (I later changed my mind and used the part marked “BASE” for the top and vise-versa.)
    December 17, 2011, 12:46 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: You didn’t think this was going to be just another table, did you? #flairww
    December 17, 2011, 12:48 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: I cut a clean surface on the end of the leg with my sliding tablesaw. How would you do this? #flairww
    December 17, 2011, 1:07 pm
  • @Tumblewood: @FlairWoodworks I’d have done something similar with my Excalibur sliding table. #Flairww
    December 17, 2011, 1:15 pm
  • @BobbyHagstrom: @FlairWoodworks Probably with a sled as I don’t have a sliding T-saw :( hehe… I’ve done stuff like that freehand-lots o’ clean up #flairww
    December 17, 2011, 1:20 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: I need to glue two pieces together to make a wide, more stable base. Note the chalk alignment lines.
    December 17, 2011, 1:32 pm
  • @Tumblewood: @FlairWoodworks Nice grain alignment. #Flairww
    December 17, 2011, 1:37 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: Come on, glue. Hurry up and dry! #flairww
    December 17, 2011, 1:48 pm
  • @MansFineFurn: @FlairWoodworks ash?
    December 17, 2011, 1:51 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: @MansFineFurn Ash!
    December 17, 2011, 1:51 pm
  • @gvmcmillan: @FlairWoodworks Without a sliding table saw, I would have used my compound miter chop saw. #flairww
    December 17, 2011, 1:53 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: Lunchtime! The glue ought to be dry enough to continue work when I return. #flairww
    December 17, 2011, 2:21 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: Any questions so far? #flairww
    December 17, 2011, 2:24 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: Lunch is done and the glue dry enough to flatten the table’s base.
    December 17, 2011, 3:03 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: I need to cut a notch in the upright (leg) to receive the top. This is probably the most challenging part.
    December 17, 2011, 3:48 pm
  • @MansFineFurn: @FlairWoodworks are you winging it or do you have a design?
    December 17, 2011, 3:51 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: With a saw cut to establish each shoulder, I use a chisel and mallet to clear the waste.
    December 17, 2011, 3:53 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: @MansFineFurn I’m designing it as I build. This is fun! #flairww
    December 17, 2011, 3:54 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: I used my side rabbet plane to clean up the sawed surfaces and adjust the angle.
    December 17, 2011, 4:00 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: That’s a good fit! #flairww
    December 17, 2011, 4:12 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: Here’s the other side of the joint. #flairww
    December 17, 2011, 4:13 pm
  • @TheGravedigger: @FlairWoodworks That did well.
    December 17, 2011, 4:14 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: The top looks too thick so I’m going to taper it out towards the edge. I tilted my bandsaw table for this cut.
    December 17, 2011, 4:22 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: The bandsawn surface is pretty flat. The burn marks are from when I hesitated feeding the board.
    December 17, 2011, 4:25 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: A few minutes with a handplane removed the milling and burn marks and reestablished a flat top.
    December 17, 2011, 4:28 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: The upright is secured to the upright with a pair of long lag bolts.
    December 17, 2011, 4:43 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: Sorry I’ve been forgetting to add the #flairww tag.
    December 17, 2011, 4:44 pm
  • @sharpendwood: @FlairWoodworks Cool idea, enjoying watching your progress.
    December 17, 2011, 4:57 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: @sharpendwood Well, sculpting is the next step. I will wait until daylight before using my angle grinder to carve the upright. #flairww
    December 17, 2011, 5:13 pm

Sunday December 18:  3-1/2 hours

  • @FlairWoodworks: After I finish lunch, I’ll be back in the shop working on the table I started yesterday. Follow along with #flairww
    December 18, 2011, 11:55 am
  • @FlairWoodworks: I’m using my angle grinder to sculpt the table’s upright. #flairww
    December 18, 2011, 12:20 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: Smoothing out the rough-carved surface is going quickly with 80-grit on my Mirka CEROS random orbit sander.
    December 18, 2011, 8:44 pm
  • @ArtsConnectBC: RT @flairwoodworks: After I finish lunch, I’ll be back in the shop working on the table I started yesterday. Follow along with #flairww
    December 18, 2011, 1:02 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: Preliminary sanding with 80-grit is done. Now on to fine grits. #flairww
    December 18, 2011, 1:02 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: The upright has been sanded to 180-grit. I’ll finish sand the top now.
    December 18, 2011, 9:21 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: Here’s the table assembled. I just need to shape the base. #flairww
    December 18, 2011, 2:01 pm
  • @woodbard: @FlairWoodworks Right, Chris. I look forward to *yours*, though. I like what I see, but cannot imagine what the hole’s function is.
    December 18, 2011, 2:12 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: @woodbard hole? You mean the pencil holder? :) (It’s actually just a knot hole.)
    December 18, 2011, 2:13 pm
  • @woodbard: @FlairWoodworks I knew the hole would be a critical part of that table. Thanks!
    December 18, 2011, 2:23 pm
  • @Tumblewood: @FlairWoodworks Pretty darn cool, Chris!!
    December 18, 2011, 2:29 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: In classic Chris fashion, I carved the edges of the base to follow the grain. #flairww
    December 18, 2011, 2:43 pm
  • @DyamiPlotke: @FlairWoodworks looks good, Chris.
    December 18, 2011, 10:53 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: I plugged the screw holes. Can you see them? #flairww
    December 18, 2011, 3:06 pm
  • @woodbard: @FlairWoodworks Juuuussssttt barely, and ONLY with image blown up,Chris. Wonderful job matching the grain with the plugs!!! #flairww
    December 18, 2011, 3:09 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: Time for a final inspection before the application of the finish. #flairww
    December 18, 2011, 3:11 pm
  • @JC_McGrath: @FlairWoodworks barely for sure, excellent match
    December 18, 2011, 3:12 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: Here is the table with one coat of lacquer. I’ll give it a light sanding followed by a couple more coats. #flairww
    December 18, 2011, 3:27 pm
  • @ed_elizondo: @FlairWoodworks That durn good work.
    December 18, 2011, 3:31 pm
  • @FlairWoodworks: Lacquer and shellac are my two preferences when I need a quick-drying finish. #flairww
    December 18, 2011, 3:31 pm
  • @DyamiPlotke: @FlairWoodworks just faintly. Would have missed them if I wasn’t specifically looking. Well done.
    December 18, 2011, 3:52 pm
  • @HighRockWW: @FlairWoodworks cool table Chris, I like it.
    December 19, 2011, 4:37 pm
  • @Tooltutor: @FlairWoodworks that’s a sweet table! Can’t even see the plugs.
    December 19, 2011, 6:38 pm

Some Pictures of the Completed Table

Your Feedback is Appreciated!

What did you think of this Tweet Along?  Would you like to see more?  Please leave your thoughts about the project, process, and method of documentation below in the comments section.

Durability Shmurability

It would be great if it were possible to build a piece of furniture that would last for generations without any need for repair.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

Fortunately, there are glues and finishes which are easy to repair. Available are animal based glues such as hide or fish glues. They create a strong, rigid bond yet readily disassemble for repair with steam. What’s more, they don’t require all the old glue to be removed for a good bond, like PVAs do.

Of course, in some situations, such as in a bathroom or outdoors where heat and/or moisture are likely to be present, these glues are not ideal; a waterproof adhesive would be a better choice. In this situation, you are compromising ease of repairability for longevity. Not a bad trade-off.

Many high-tech finishes like polyurethane or epoxy coatings are extremely durable. However, should any damage be inflicted, they are difficult to repair, requiring the finish to be completely stripped before reapplication.

Age-old finishes such as lacquer, shellac, and oils are easy to fix, often requiring only a cleansing followed by another coat of finish.

Bubinga Dining Room Table, Part II

Currently, I’m down in Phoenix, Arizona, working for Morgan Holt of EarthArt Landscape & Designs, Inc. on a massive dining table being made from one large slab of bubinga.

Yesterday was an edgy day, so to speak.  The previous day, I had carved the edges with the angle grinder equipped with an Arbortech wood-carving wheel.  My next job was to smooth the edges.  I started with a rasp, as I had done on the sample board.  However, the sample board was only about 3’x1’x2″, therefore I was able to position it in the best possible way, which was vertically, with the surface being worked on at elbow-height.

It was impractical to orient the workpiece in a similar fashion, so that was out of the question.  I tried various positions and grips on the rasp, but got fatigued quickly.  Reluctantly, I plugged in the belt sander and went to work.  As much as I detest sanding, I really was glad to have the belt and random orbit sander available for this table.  So I worked my way up from 36-grit to 120-grit.  Belt sanders are not light, and I found the best way to use it without straining myself was to sit down in a chair and hold the belt sander in front of me at about shoulder height.  I took frequent breaks to rest my arms.  When I finished with the belt sander a few hours later, I put the tool away and began hand sanding the edge with 120-grit sand paper, then up to 220-grit.

This morning, I started off by inspecting the work I had done yesterday and spent some time sanding any areas requiring additional work.  Around 11:00am, I applied a sealer coat of blonde shellac which we had mixed up yesterday and had been giving a swirl every now and again to dissolve the shellac flakes.  I wiped on a thin coat with a rag and let it dry for about 15 minutes before applying a second.  I applied an additional coat to the end grain, which has a tendency to absorb more finish than other parts of the board, resulting in a darker colour.

I monitored the drying process, checking every once in a while by sanding it.  If the shellac gums up the sandpaper, it hasn’t sufficiently dried; if the sandpaper stays clean and produces dust, the finish is dry.  I waited, tested, waited, tested, then decided to go for lunch.  An hour-and-a-half later, the shellac was dry in some areas.  Despite the thin cut and thin coat applied, the age of the shellac inhibited the curing process.  This is a problem with pre-mixed shellac and blonde- and super-blonde (bleached) shellac.  Orange, untreated shellac in flake form does not have this problem.  Anyhow, I proceded to sand away the finish.  The idea was to fill the pores with the shellac which would prevent them from absorbing the oil/varnish finish which we would apply later.  This took a lot longer that I had expected, but I trudged on.  I had spent three days sanding, so another two hours wouldn’t kill me.

Once complete, I could see an even sheen across the table. The next step was to apply the oil/varnish finish, which would be the top coat.  I read the label, which advised me that it needed to be stirred well.  Even though I could see no sediment that would need to be stirred in, I stirred, and I stirred well.

Just then, at the perfect time, Morgan came into the shop.  Together we decided that we’d wet-sand the finish.  We found a fine synthetic steel wool (Scotchbrite) pad that would work.  Morgan poured the finish over the table and I spread it around and sanded it into the wood with the pad.  Doing so creates a slurry of wood dust and finish which help to fill any pores or scratches or small knot holes.

Once the wood was coated, we stood back and admired how beautiful the table looked, all glossy with the finish still wet.  Then we grabbed some cotton rags and began to wipe off the excess finish.  As time elapsed, the finish began to thicken.  It took the two of us about five minutes to remove the bulk of the excess, then ten minutes to go back with clean rags and get the rest.  The result is well worth all the prep time I had spent the days prior.

The picture shows the table after one coat, about 15 minutes after wiping it clean.  We’ll allow the finish to dry overnight.  The directions on the can recommend 24-36 hours between coats, but given the lack of humidity and presence of heat in Phoenix, we feel comfortable giving the finish a little less time to dry.  We’ll need to apply 2-3 coats on each side.  Flipping the table will be a challenge for the two of us, but with some jigging and rigging, we’ll get it done.