A Relaxing Day Off on Canada Day

Today, I’m doing whatever I please
so I set up my horses under the trees.

My workpiece is happy, content in the shade –
these perfect conditions I wouldn’t dare trade.

Finish goes on easily. I’m in no rush;
I make slow, deliberate strokes with my brush.

The urethane flows nicely and quickly dries
before it bears witness to footprints of flies.

I’m almost done now and the sun is quite near
so I clean up my brush, then head for a beer.

Finishing Puzzle Table

After routing the jigsaw puzzle design, I made a base out of four mitred lengths of black walnut to raise the table up off the ground. That way, it didn’t just look like a cube sitting on the ground.

Puzzle Table17

Then came finishing. Let’s just say that it required some patience to get an even coat of finish on the edges of each of the 169 puzzle pieces.

Puzzle Table16Puzzle Table15

After the finish dried, I set it up for some studio photographs. This one shot captured the essence of the table pretty well, I thought.

Jigsaw Puzzle Table1

Find all the details for Jigsaw Puzzle Table on the product page.

Links:

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?

Overflow, Part VI

This time, I am giving away one Makita BO3700 Finishing Sander which has seen a minimal amount of use.  It uses 1/3 of a standard 9×11″ sandpaper sheet which is held in place by a spring-loaded clamp at each end of the pad.

The soft pad has eight holes for dust extraction.  The steel plate is used to punch matching holes in the paper.

Dust collection with the bag is not great, but some dust does make it into the bag.  The dust port is round, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to adapt a vacuum to it.

The sander runs on 120 volts, draws 1.3 amps, orbits 10,000 times per minute and is turned on and off with the trigger under the handle (there is a lock-on button as well).  The tool weighs 3.1 pounds and the cord is listed at 6.6 feet.

If you would like this sander, please leave a comment below indicating your interest before February 21, 2012.  I will then draw a winner at random.  Even if you don’t get this sander, remember that this is only some of the MANY things I want to give away.

And if you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe to my blog using the widget in the right-hand column so you can be notified as soon as I post something new!  And please tell your friends about my Overflow program.

Review the details of the Overflow program.

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.