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Building a brace till #24: More drawer front finishing

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Blog entry by Dave Polaschek posted 01-12-2022 08:12 PM 496 reads 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 23: Shellacking the drawer fronts Part 24 of Building a brace till series Part 25: Drawer pulls on - mostly »

Today’s finishing started with the four drawer fronts I showed last time. I gave them all a half-dozen quick coats of shellac and oil, with some rottenstone to fill the grain a little quicker, then put them back so I could pull the other five drawer fronts to work on those. I don’t think the first batch are done, but they’re getting close. One more session should do the trick.

This next batch has the drawer with the crack and the bug tracks. That one got some CA glue drizzled into the crack from the back before I started, and also some CA on the front side. I don’t want that crack to open up while I’m finishing the board, and I feel like I’ve solidified things a little.

My squeeze bottle of shellac was getting a little low too, so it was time to mix up a new batch. 2 ounces of shellac flakes in the 14 or 15 fluid ounce salsa jar leads to a mix that’s just a little bit over a one pound cut. Dissolves fairly quickly with the magnetic stirrer mixing it up. It’ll be ready for use tomorrow morning when I’m back in the shop for sure.

Also, I used some rottenstone in the first bits of finishing on these drawer fronts. It’s fine pumice, and will abrade the surface of the wood a bit, creating a slurry in the shellac and oil, and then pushing that slurry into the grain. I decided I’d compare using it first versus using it in the second round of finishing.

The downside of using rottenstone is that it wears out the pad fairly quickly. But that’s an easy problem to solve; just move the outer layer of t-shirt to a fresh spot after wearing through somewhere.

A few more coats of oil and shellac, and the second batch of drawer fronts are looking pretty good.

There are still some spots where the grain hasn’t been completely filled yet, but I think I can safely put the rottenstone away and just finish with shellac and oil.

And that’ll do it for today. Tomorrow I’ll hopefully wrap up with the shellac and maybe hit the drawer fronts with a couple coats of violin varnish, which will give them a slightly harder surface, more able to stand up to being shop furniture that gets used a lot.

-- Dave - Santa Fe



13 comments so far

View mafe's profile

mafe

13695 posts in 4430 days


#1 posted 01-12-2022 09:14 PM

Looking good Dave.
Shiny and warm.

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

View Oldtool's profile

Oldtool

3415 posts in 3531 days


#2 posted 01-12-2022 10:07 PM

The shellac finish looks great, adds a nice tone to the wood. Nice work.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

9389 posts in 1923 days


#3 posted 01-12-2022 10:12 PM

Thanks, Mads! I just got these five drawer fronts almost finished this afternoon. Four more coats of oil and shellac and two of varnish. I think they get one or two more coats of varnish tomorrow and then get glued to the drawer-boxes.

Thanks, Tom! I really like the look of it, and it’s nice that if there’s a mistake partway through (such as one of the fronts that had a small blob of shellac / wood / rottenstone slurry on it), it’s possible to rub out that mistake later with just a little more shellac and some elbow grease. And while it’s more work than slapping on two or three coats of poly (but not that much more, especially if you pick up dust in the poly and have to sand back a couple times), it’s a lot more satisfying, to my mind.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View robscastle's profile (online now)

robscastle

8358 posts in 3545 days


#4 posted 01-12-2022 11:54 PM

OMG I hope you hid the tee shirt from the washing lady!

and wait for it… who has an electronic stirring machine may I ask!

-- Regards Rob

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

9389 posts in 1923 days


#5 posted 01-13-2022 01:14 AM

I’m the washing lady, Rob. And I have a couple dozen old t-shirts that have become shop rags. My sweetie said that many of them were too worn for me to wear them in public, so I recycled them.

And yes, I have and electric stirring machine. It makes using shellac so much more pleasant than having to mix it by hand, or wait 24 hours for it to dissolve on its own (or longer if making something stronger than the one pound cut I favor).

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View Oldtool's profile

Oldtool

3415 posts in 3531 days


#6 posted 01-13-2022 01:16 AM

Yep, French polishing is relaxing and satisfying, and since it goes on so thin with each coat, it’s hard to make a mistake, and it makes the wood grain beautiful.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

9389 posts in 1923 days


#7 posted 01-13-2022 01:22 AM

It is! Though the smaller drawer fronts are small enough that it’s hard to get a good rhythm going on them. Ahh well. One more day of polishing and then I’ll be done with these.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View doubleDD's profile

doubleDD

10932 posts in 3384 days


#8 posted 01-13-2022 05:05 PM

Sounds like you’re working as a retiree. LOL. The best way to work. Looking good Dave.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

9389 posts in 1923 days


#9 posted 01-13-2022 05:08 PM

I’m tryin’, Dave. Some days I’m better at it than others, but I’m sure with more practice I’ll get the hang of it.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View Eric's profile

Eric

2875 posts in 1214 days


#10 posted 01-14-2022 12:57 AM

The finish is looking good Dave. You are on the finishing line. Great job.

-- Eric, building the dream

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

9389 posts in 1923 days


#11 posted 01-14-2022 01:59 AM

Thanks Eric. There are still the doors to make for this till, but they’ll be some time later. Other projects are higher priority again.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View Eric's profile

Eric

2875 posts in 1214 days


#12 posted 01-14-2022 02:08 AM

Sounds like you have a plan there. I am in the same boat with my storage cabinet, on hold for a bit.

-- Eric, building the dream

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

9389 posts in 1923 days


#13 posted 01-14-2022 02:17 AM

Yeah. Many plans for things in the shop, but they are seldom the highest priority.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

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