Maple Trestle Table, Session 2 – Playing with Slabs

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 link to the previous session.

Session 1 - Flat Boards are Boring

(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 like the split but it’s best shown on the side where the lower half protrudes further. #flairww -11:18 AM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The split is barely noticeable on this side. I’m going to change that by reducing the thickness of the top. #flairww -11:21 AM Apr 16th, 2012

cobwobbler @FlairWoodworks why do defects look so cool? -11:23 AM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m going to use mu angle grinder with an Arbortech wood-carving wheel. #flairww -11:23 AM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Because they are unique! RT @cobwobbler: @FlairWoodworks why do defects look so cool? -11:26 AM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I would normally do the outside but it’s raining today. I put up tarps to contain the mess. #flairww -11:26 AM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I wear tight-fitting gloves, goggles, ear protection and a dust mask when power carving. #flairww -11:27 AM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Here you can see the effect that I’m going for. #flairww -11:40 AM Apr 16th, 2012

Morton @FlairWoodworks Tarp doesn’t look like it’s doing much ;) -11:48 AM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The shape is established. Now for sanding. #flairww -11:54 AM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Here’s the pile of shavings I produced. #flairww -11:57 AM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Notice that they are shavings, not dust. #flairww -11:58 AM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks They actually worked perfectly! RT @Morton: @FlairWoodworks Tarp doesn’t look like it’s doing much ;) -11:59 AM Apr 16th, 2012

BillGriggs @FlairWoodworks Clean it up with a Dust Deputy. -12:01 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Nah. One scoop with the dust pan and it’s gone. RT @BillGriggs: @FlairWoodworks Clean it up with a Dust Deputy. -12:03 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I put the round blade of my convex palm plane in my flat palm plane to quickly even the surface. #flairww -12:08 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks To work a concave surface, either a short-soled plane works well. For more severe concave areas, I’d use the round plane. #flairww -12:09 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks A plane works more quickly than a sander and does a better job of fairing the curve. #flairww -12:12 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks With a sharp blade set for a fine cut, the plane even handles knots with ease. #flairww -12:19 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I have no problem working to within 1/16″ with the angle grinder which means less cleanup later. #flairww -12:22 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I follow up with 80-grit on the sander to further refine the surface and remove any tearout. #flairww -12:32 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks It doesn’t look right. More shaping is required. #flairww -12:49 PM Apr 16th, 2012

BCcraftmaster @FlairWoodworks I like your saw horse set up. -12:50 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworksI can’t say enough about them. They are so versatile. RT @BCcraftmaster: @FlairWoodworks I like your saw horse set up. -1:00 PM Apr 16, 2012

FlairWoodworks My palm plane is too short to remove this hump so I’m switching to a longer plane. #flairww -1:17 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Perfect! #flairww -1:20 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks If it feels fair, it’s fair. #flairww -1:37 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I use a thin-bladed knife to clear loose material out of the cracks. #flairww -1:39 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I broke off the end of a hacksaw blade to clean out the cracks. It’s longer and more flexible than my knife. #flairww -1:48 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m using this wooden block plane. It’s less fatiguing to use than metal planes, especially one-handed. #flairww -2:00 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks It was the first plane I’d ever made. It works well, but the body needs some shaping. #flairww -2:01 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks You should never hesitate to modify your tools if it makes them work better for you. #flairww -2:09 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I also rounded over one edge of the sole where my fingers curl over. #flairww -2:10 PM Apr 16th, 2012

CashFromCraft RT @FlairWoodworks: You should never hesitate to modify your tools if it makes them work better for you. #flairww -2:11 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks That feels so nice! #flairww -2:11 PM Apr 16th, 2012

CashFromCraft @FlairWoodworks especially shop made tools! – 2:11 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Especially! But by no means only. RT @CashFromCraft: @FlairWoodworks especially shop made tools! - 2:12 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I used my block plane to begin rounding over the edges. I’m using my sander with foam interface pad to finish. #flairww -2:47 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The stretcher is done… at least for now. #flairww-3:04 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks And here’s a look at the other side. #flairww -3:04 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Time for a lunch break. #flairww -3:05 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Any comments or questions so far? #flairww -3:06 PM Apr 16th, 2012

Tumblewood They are tools, after all!! RT @FlairWoodworks: You should never hesitate to modify your tools if it makes them work better for you. #flairww

FlairWoodworks Now that lunch is finished, I’m looking for materials for the rest of this table now that the stretcher is done. #flairww -4:54 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Playing with bookmatches for the top (like @Mansfinefurn). I have three slabs with which to work. #flairww -5:21 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Here’s one idea. All the outside edges are cut ad the inside edges are live. #flairww -5:37 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’d probably cover the gap in the centre with glass. #flairww-5:39 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Yikes – where’d all the space I had go? #flairww -6:07 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Three more pieces of maple for other table parts. #flairww -6:16 PM Apr 16th, 2012

MansFineFurn @FlairWoodworks I won’t ask where you had to stand to get that pic -6:31 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Not on the roof! RT @MansFineFurn: @FlairWoodworks I won’t ask where you had to stand to get that pic -6:34 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks And I begins… #flairww -6:21 PM Apr 16th, 2012

paulchinetti  Digging that! @FlairWoodworks: Here’s one idea. All the outside edges are cut ad the inside edges are live. #flairww -6:43 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @paulchinetti Thanks for the feedback! That’s what I’m going with for now. #flairww -6:45 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Does anybody know if there is a term form this kind or arrangement? It’s not a bookmatch or slipmatch. #flairww -6:56 PM Apr 16th, 2012

Brygidocious @FlairWoodworks kiss match? -6:58

FlairWoodworks I think I know what you want to say. RT @Brygidocious: @FlairWoodworks kiss match? -6:58

Brygidocious @FlairWoodworks haha shush! i remember seeing the term “kiss match” in my IP [Inside Passage School of Fine Woodworking] handout, but it was never explained -6:59

FlairWoodworks Tip: bring a water bottle to the shop and take a sip whenever you take a pause. #flairww -6:59 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @Brygidocious Really? I’ve never heard the term. -7:01

Brygidocious @FlairWoodworks its some skull and bones krenov talk that no one knows outside of those circles… -7:02 PM Apr 16th, 2012

Brygidocious @FlairWoodworks i think its a slip match, then flip one sheet end for end – 7:03 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @Brygidocious From my understanding, a slip match is just sliding the slices apart with no rotation or flipping. -7:04 PM Apr 16th, 2012

Brygidocious @FlairWoodworks yeah but this is a kiss match! -7:05 PM Apr 16th, 2012

Brygidocious @FlairWoodworks like a dis… -7:06 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Okay – I’m with you now! That “other” name is more exciting though. ;) RT @Brygidocious: @FlairWoodworks like a dis -7:08 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Surfacing lumber is a great core and upper-body workout. It even works your legs. #AllInOneGym #flairww -7:26 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @Brygidocious Scott Grove calls it spin matching. -7:27 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks One side of one slab is roughly surfaced. #flairww -7:41 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Now I need to find a way to rotate these massive and heavy slabs in my small shop. #flairww -7:42 PM Apr 16th, 2012 PM Apr 16th, 2012

Tumblewood I don’t know, but it’s what i’ve been planning for the conversion table. RT @FlairWoodworks: Does anybody know if there is a term form this kind or arrangement? It’s not a bookmatch or slipmatch. -7:49 PM Apr 16th, 2012

Tumblewood 69 bookmatch? If it wasn’t, it is now!! ;oD RT @FlairWoodworks: Does anybody know if there is a term form this kind or arrangement? It’s not a bookmatch or slipmatch. -7:51 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Oh! The cat’s out of the bag now! RT @Tumblewood: 69 bookmatch? If it wasn’t, it is now!! ;oD -7:52 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I crosshatched the surface with chalk. Now I’ll start planing.#flairww -8:03 PM Apr 16th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Only traces of blue chalk remain. Dinner time. #flairww -8:35 PM Apr 16th, 2012

I set up my video camera to record in time-lapse the flattening of the two slabs by hand (nothing too exciting).  Watch the video below.  (Duration –  4:18)

Keep going and read about Session 3!

Maple Trestle Table, Session 1 – Flat Boards are Boring

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.

(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 Does this (the right side) look like a nice stretcher? #flairww @Morton -3:43 PM Apr 15th, 2012

WatkinsWoodWork @FlairWoodworks @Morton It definitely has potential -3:51 PM Apr 15th, 2012

sharpendwood @FlairWoodworks I like it. Is the crack near the center a problem? @Morton -3:58 PM Apr 15th, 2012

BCcraftmaster @FlairWoodworks @Morton the whole thing looks like a giant pump. (A women’s high heel) -4:00 PM Apr 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Hmm. I am not seeing it. RT @BCcraftmaster: @FlairWoodworks @Morton the whole thing looks like a giant pump. (A women’s high heel) -4:01 PM Apr 15th, 2012

BCcraftmaster @FlairWoodworks @Morton it also has the shape/curvature of the back leg of a chair. -4:04 PM Apr 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Now, THAT, I see. RT @BCcraftmaster: @FlairWoodworks @Morton it also has the shape/curvature of the back leg of a chair. -4:05 PM Apr 15th, 2012

BCcraftmaster @FlairWoodworks @Morton good, I’m not crazy… -4:13 PM Apr 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks It’s often good to be crazy. RT @BCcraftmaster: @FlairWoodworks @Morton good, I’m not crazy… -4:14 PM Apr 15th, 2012

BCcraftmaster @FlairWoodworks you could make a chair/throne for enjoying all of those giant pieces of cake you eat!:-) -4:26 PM Apr 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @BCcraftmaster Actually, I have a piece of spalted maple reserved for that, tucked away in the corner of my shop since 5 years ago. -4:27 PM Apr 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I faired the curve with my low angle jack plane. #flairww -4:36 PM Apr 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I smoothed one side with my jack plane followed by my random orbit sander. #flairww-5:18 PM Apr 15th, 2012

BCcraftmaster @FlairWoodworks is that split going to stay attached or will it spit off? Hopefully you can incorporate it… -5:23 PM Apr 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @BCcraftmaster It’s going to stay attached. -5:26 PM Apr 15th, 2012

Morton @FlairWoodworks I think so. Assuming the blue line is a cut-line, I would have the closer end be symmetrical (same width) around the crack. -5:34 PM Apr 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @Morton Symmetry was not going to happen. It wasn’t in the cards. -5:36 PM Apr 15th, 2012

Morton @FlairWoodworks Is that stretcher vertical (as shown in latest photo) or horizontal? -5:37 PM Apr 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @Morton I think it will be vertical. -5:38 PM Apr 15th, 2012

Morton @FlairWoodworks Ah, cool. Like that better. Symmetry doesn’t matter (to me) then ;) -5:38 PM Apr 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Glad to have you on-board! RT @Morton: @FlairWoodworks Ah, cool. Like that better. Symmetry doesn’t matter (to me) then ;) -5:39 PM Apr 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I just stopped and took a minute to resharpen my low-angle jack plane’s O1 blade. #flairww -5:47 PM Apr 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I used my 1200x diamond stone on the hollow-ground blade, then stropped it. Quick and effective. #flairww -5:48 PM Apr 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Side 2 took a long time to smooth. I started with my low-angle jack and finished with my random orbit sander. #flairww -6:37 PM Apr 15th, 2012

WatkinsWoodWork @FlairWoodworks looks good. Can’t wait to see the finished piece. -6:38 PM Apr 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I used three 80-grit Abranet sanding discs to smooth the two sides of this piece of maple. #flairww -6:39 PM Apr 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks You can use a handscrew to help hold a board vertically.#flairww -6:43 PM Apr 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I think that the cut edge will be the top. I’m unsure what to do with the square edge. Two wide chamfers? #flairww -6:48 PM Apr 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Any ideas or suggestions of what to do with the edge?#flairww -6:51 PM Apr 15th, 2012

MansFineFurn @FlairWoodworks carved ‘twist’ -6:52 PM Apr 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks It’s almost 7pm. I need to get some dinner before the#Canucks game at 7:30. #flairww -6:51 PM Apr 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks On the edge? Hmmm. Thinking…. still thinking… RT @MansFineFurn: @FlairWoodworks carved ‘twist’ -6:53 PM Apr 15th, 2012

MansFineFurn @FlairWoodworks face to top, then top to opposite face, um, not sure how else to describe it -6:54 PM Apr 15th, 2012

WatkinsWoodWork @FlairWoodworks I like the bulk of it. I say leave it. -6:54 PM Apr 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @MansFineFurn I think I understand what you mean. I know how I would do it. -6:54 PM Apr 15th, 2012

MansFineFurn @FlairWoodworks show me -6:55 PM Apr 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @mansfinefurn Have a look at this – the apron of Table with a Twist. #flairww -6:55 PM Apr 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @WatkinsWoodWork Something about live edges and square corners doesn’t sit right with me. -6:58 PM Apr 15th, 2012

MansFineFurn @FlairWoodworks yeah, more or less like that, but with a faster transition. -6:59 PM Apr 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @mansfinefurn Here’s another pic of the other side. #flairww -6:59 PM Apr 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Exactly! #flairww RT @MansFineFurn: @FlairWoodworks yeah, more or less like that, but with a faster transition. -7:00 PM Apr 15th, 2012

MansFineFurn @FlairWoodworks or get wild to a twist, to the middle, then twist it back -7:00 PM Apr 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @MansFineFurn I’ve experimented with reversing twists but didn’t like the effect. #flairww -7:02 PM Apr 15th, 2012

Morton @FlairWoodworks For me – I’d keep the wide, flat edge. I like how it looks smooth and flat compared to the side. #flairww -8:11 PM Apr 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Hmm. Contrast. RT @Morton: For me – I’d keep the wide, flat edge. I like how it looks smooth and flat compared to the side. #flairww -8:12 PM Apr 15th, 2012

Morton @FlairWoodworks Wow – that is really cool (twisted apron). Thx for the pic. -8:12 PM Apr 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Thanks for the compliment. RT @Morton: @FlairWoodworks Wow – that is really cool (twisted apron). Thx for the pic. -8:13 PM Apr 15th, 2012

DyamiPlotke @FlairWoodworks abranet is great, isn’t it? 8:16 PM Apr 15th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Love it. RT @DyamiPlotke: @FlairWoodworks abranet is great, isn’t it. 8:16 PM Apr 15th, 2012

Keep going and read about Session 2!

Maple Slab Build, Session 3

Friday night, I went down to the shop because I wanted to build something.  I started with a small slab of Western maple and designed the piece on the fly.  I documented the build live on Twitter and what you see below are the updates from the third session (see what I did in the first session and second session).  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, 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 This is how I left the shop. The table doesn’t look as tall from this angle. #flairww -12:30 PM Apr 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’d forgotten how hard softwood is to cut cleanly! #flairww-12:42 PM Apr 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Here is one end radiused. Now I need to round over the corners. I’ll start with a rasp. #flairww -12:52 PM Apr 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Actually, a block plane is a better tool to start with because it works faster. I’ll switch to a rasp to refine the shape later. #flairww -12:54 PM Apr 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks The wide chamfers look nice but I don’t think they suit this piece. Not here. #flairww -12:59 PM Apr 8th, 2012

BCcraftmaster @FlairWoodworks nice! -1:02 PM Apr 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I used my plane to transform the chamfers into roundovers. My sense of touch tells me how fair the curve is. #flairww -1:06 PM Apr 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks It’s getting closer. A bit more shaping. #flairww -1:11 PM Apr 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I used a rasp to refine the shape. I am constantly using my left hand to feel for any ridges. #flairww -1:20 PM Apr 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks After some sanding, this is what I have. I love 80-grit!#flairww -1:54 PM Apr 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I removed the handle from my countersink and used it in my drill. It leaves a neat pattern. #flairww -2:29 PM Apr 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks Time for finishing! #flairww -2:52 PM Apr 8th, 2012

BCcraftmaster @FlairWoodworks not to shabby for 2 days of work! -2:58 PM Apr 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @BCcraftmaster See what happens when I’m inspired?#flairww -3:00 PM Apr 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks When I set the table on the ground, I realized that it isn’t as sturdy as I’d like. I’m going to use larger fasteners. #flairww -3:02 PM Apr 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I’m replacing #10 screw with 1/4″-20 bold and threaded inserts. This is how I drive the inserts. #flairww -3:06 PM Apr 8th, 2012

TT_TPR @FlairWoodworks Great! #flairww -3:11 PM Apr 8th, 2012

BCcraftmaster @FlairWoodworks how many hours in the shop on this one? -3:15 PM Apr 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @BCcraftmaster I’m not sure. I’ll check when it’s done.#flairww -3:15 PM Apr 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks It’s not often that I work with softwoods and this is showing me how much better real joinery is than metal fasteners. #flairww -3:24 PM Apr 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks With the 1/4″-20 bolts installed, there is a slight improvement. It’s passable but not rock-solid. #flairww -3:33 PM Apr 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks I guess I should change out of my nice clothes before finishing… #flairww -3:35 PM Apr 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks One coat of finish applied. Now I’ll clean up the shop while I wait for it to dry. #flairww -4:26 PM Apr 8th, 2012

DyamiPlotke  @FlairWoodworks very nice, Chris. -4:30 PM Apr 8th, 2012

FlairWoodworks @DyamiPlotke Thanks, Dyami! This is fun! #flairww -4:31 PM Apr 8th, 2012

See the finished table HERE.

Every Workshop Needs a Br’all

This post is part of Get Woodworking Week, an initiative started by Tom Iovino of Tom’s Workbench, to build interest and participation in woodworking.

I know that every one of my readers except for Paul-Marcel, for whom I made the first one, is scratching their head wondering what the heck a Br’all is, what it does, and why they haven’t heard of it.

A Br’all is a shop accessory that I think every shop should have.  I designed it to do one thing and one thing only.  It does not require a great investment in either time, tools or materials to make, so it is a great Get Woodworking Week project.

The first video is the one you should definitely watch.  I show you how to make a Br’all using different hand tools, techniques and the purpose of the Br’all.  (Duration: 13 minutes, 14  seconds; the high-speed segments are 2x speed.)

The second video shows the letter carving I added.  (Duration: 7 minutes, 12 seconds; the high-speed segments are 4x speed.)

Here are some pictures of my bench-clearing Br’all.

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.