My First Bandsaw Box #12: Step 10: Final Sanding & Applying a Finish to Your Box

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Blog entry by Jonathan posted 12-26-2010 09:08 PM 4027 reads 1 time favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 11: Step 9.5: (Extra Step) Decorating the Front of Your Drawer Part 12 of My First Bandsaw Box series no next part

This is it, the moment has finally come to put the finishing touches and finish on your bandsaw box!

(I will try to keep this blog post concise as I had a pretty bad tablesaw accident on December 23rd, trying to finish a couple of Christmas gifts. 3-fingers were cut, but all 3-fingers are still there and luckily didn’t appear to do long term damage, even though I now have 28-stitches in them. Needless to say, typing is slow-going.)

If you haven’t done any sanding yet, now is the time to do it. Even if you have done some sanding along the way, now is your last chance for any final touch-up work before the finish is applied.

Once all the sanding is done, vacuum the piece off, then wipe it down well with mineral spirits to remove any fine, residual dust.

Lots of different finishes work well on bandsaw boxes and wiped-on finishes work well for all the tight, awkward spaces. Most any finish will work, really, depending on how you want it to look, what your experience is, or maybe just what materials you have o-hand to finish it with.I decided to go with dewaxed shellac after applying numerous finishes to scrap pieces, mainly due to the quick dry time since I needed to get the box in the mail right away.

I did a lot of sanding as I went, but still had to do some to clean it all up. I sanded it all to 320-grit, in preparation for the dewaxed shellac.

I planned on doing a combination of spraying and hand applying the Zinsser Bulls Eye SealCoat Dewaxed Shellac. Below is a picture of the finishing materials laid out, after I had sprayed the secret compartment:

As stated above, I sprayed the secret compartment:

I let the secret compartment dry, but it was too late… time for a learning lesson! I mistakenly tried to build a finish with the shellac and put waaaaaaay too much on! It now had a thick layer of shellac on it and I didn’t like the way it looked at all. I vowed to find a fix, then got out the can of dewaxed shellac and tried to wipe it on, thinking that would be better:

Here you can see the contrast between the wood before and after wiping-on shellac, although it’s not totally dry:

After hand-wiping the rest of the box and box parts with shellac and letting it all dry overnight, I wasn’t satisfied with the result. There were shiny spots where there was obviously more shellac.
I had only applied shellac 1-2 other times and wasn’t really happy with the way that turned out either, but wrote it off at the time as inexperience. I just couldn’t live with it though if it was going to look this way… it just looked sloppy and too amateurish. The directions on the can were less than helpful, so I went on the hunt, trying to locate information on fixing my problem. I came across this link: about the time I was discussing the issue with a fellow LJer(Bill Davis), who had suggested denatured alcohol.

I went to a nearby fabric store and bought a yard of muslin for less than $2, as well as going to the box store and getting some denatured alcohol for $6-7. The fabric store didn’t carry washed wool like the internet article had recommended, so I substituted a piece of cotton t-shirt for the sponge part in the middle of the muslin. Here’s a shot of the materials to correct my overly abundant application of the shellac, although you’ll pretty much need all these materials to correctly apply the shellac the first few times anyway, until you become proficient:

And a shot of me using the denatured alcohol to remove and more evenly distribute the existing shellac:

After you’ve applied your finish, make sure to let it dry or cure for the recommended amount of time, depending on your chosen finish. You can certainly wax your box after the finish is cured, or even buff it all out if you’re really ambitious.

Me? I just left the shellac as the topcoat so that the box can be easily repaired, if need be, plus the fact that I needed to get it in the mail in time for Christmas!

And that pretty much wraps things up on the construction side of the bandsaw box blog series. I will probably come back and add an additional blog entry to the series with final thoughts, learning lessons, tips, etc. I will also add a link to the finished project posting, but wanted to complete the blog series before posting the project.

A big thank you to all those that hung in here with me along the way and happy bandsaw box building!

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

2 comments so far

View degoose's profile


7258 posts in 3868 days

#1 posted 12-26-2010 11:22 PM

Now for the pics of it finished…

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View Jonathan's profile


2609 posts in 3564 days

#2 posted 12-26-2010 11:38 PM

Coming soon, Larry.

Everything is taking me longer to do right now with the hand restriction.

Should only take an hour or so to type out and add the pictures.

Will try to get it up shortly since I can’t do much else right now.

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

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