Sofa Table from tension wood #6: more finishing work

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Blog entry by cathyb posted 06-23-2018 07:17 PM 2445 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 5: Preliminary finishing work Part 6 of Sofa Table from tension wood series Part 7: Final finish work »

Another week has slipped past. I take my time when I finish a piece. Koa is an opened pored wood, so it takes multiple coats to fill those pores. I could have used the sealer, much like the top and shelf, but it gives me pleasure to lay down a coat of finish, sand with fine sand paper and repeat multiple times. This might sound odd to some, but after the effort, I want to feel the piece I created.

After all these years, with so many different coating materials, I like the results from General finishes.

I use the oil-based semi gloss for all my work these days. I rarely use a stain, but this time to address the negative and positive faces of my book-matched wood, I was happy to add it to the mix.

The adjustment in color from the stain served me well.

Even though, I spent considerable time spaying the individual pieces before assembly, I spray them again after assembly. I use the Prevail sprayer.

For many years, I used my HPLV system. Honestly, it was so time consuming to clean the gun, spray, clean the gun and always hope there was no glitch while I was spraying. It laid down a nice coat, but I love the Prevail sprayer. It is so sweet and quiet. I use full strength poly in the jar. After spraying, I clean out the sprayer with acetone ( I can’t remember how I came up with this solvent, but it works like a dream).

I take my time in these additional coats to find any blemish to be addressed. I do take the time to cover any area not to be sprayed with craft paper. I have had good success with this technique.

Today, there will be finial spraying and the attachment of my gliders to the feet. Then, finally, I can attach the top and work on its finish for a few days…..

-- cathyb, Hawaii,

8 comments so far

View DocSavage45's profile


9043 posts in 3850 days

#1 posted 06-23-2018 09:01 PM

“This might sound odd to some, but after the effort, I want to feel the piece I created.” You’re a woodworker. LOL! I was wondering if you delt with blotching, and you have found a way. Interesting that you’re not using waterborne materials in Hawaii. But I do understand and I believe that oil and wood go better together than water and wood. LOL!

Turned out visually stunning.

Oh yea! Time moves much faster as we get older, or our brain just takes it in at a different rate. :<))

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View cathyb's profile


844 posts in 4251 days

#2 posted 06-24-2018 02:03 AM

I never had to deal with blotching and hope I never do..

I have tried water based finishes and appreciate the lack off gassing from the solvents, but those seemed bland to me. They just didn’t make the koa pop the way oil based finishes do. After all, koa is full of oil, so finishing with oil is pretty straight forward.

On the other hand, if I were making a piece out of maple, I would certyainly consider a water based finish instead…


-- cathyb, Hawaii,

View DocSavage45's profile


9043 posts in 3850 days

#3 posted 06-24-2018 04:39 AM


Makes sense. Not familiar with Koa.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Druid's profile


2205 posts in 3803 days

#4 posted 06-24-2018 05:07 AM

Progress looks great from here. ;)

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

View cathyb's profile


844 posts in 4251 days

#5 posted 06-24-2018 06:28 AM

This afternoon, I finally have an image of the final piece. I attached the gliders to the feet and stood the table up in preparation for the attachment of the top tomorrow. I like it!

-- cathyb, Hawaii,

View Boxguy's profile


2893 posts in 3275 days

#6 posted 06-24-2018 06:36 AM

Cathy, I know what you mean about feeling the wood as you apply finish coats. I am looking forward to your posting of the final project. I know it is primitive, but I like putting my finish coats with a one inch foam brush. With small stuff like boxes, I can get by with that.

I write up each of my projects that I sell…even the spoons I carve. It is a one-page paper telling about the use, woods, construction, something special about that particular piece, and my general philosophy of woodcrafting. It takes time, but customers seem to appreciate having a “brag sheet” that lets them tell the story of the piece they bought. And it helps sales.

One of my customers today said that I don’t build things from wood, I make memories. It was a Kleenex box, but it was made from a tongue and groove piece of pine that was the roof from a 100-year-old garage that belonged to my friend’s parents.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t see what I have made until I do the write-up. I am so focused on the details and the process that I really don’t see the whole thing until I finally look at it and write about it. It’s the, “Can’t see the woods for the trees phenomenon.”

-- Big Al in IN

View Benji Reyes's profile

Benji Reyes

340 posts in 4086 days

#7 posted 06-24-2018 07:44 AM

Truly. The feel of wood being finished with my hands always gives me a sense of the piece coming alive. I use natural oils with different viscosities depending on specie of wood. Looking forward to seeing the finished piece my friend.

-- Benji Reyes, Antipolo, Philippines, Instagram benji reyes

View cathyb's profile


844 posts in 4251 days

#8 posted 06-24-2018 05:24 PM

I am glad to be in good company. Al, I really appreciate your comments. When I was making rocking horses and carousel menagerie animals, I always wrote a personal note about the piece, and a newspaper clip from the day the hindquarter cavity was closed. It was a little time capsule and also a statement about how much I enjoyed making this animal and a bit about me to let them know, “Hey, a girl made this..:)” I placed this information in a plastic Ziplock bag with a smile and back to completing the piece.

Finish work for me is a manifestation of the mental journey. I never work from plans, just an image in my mind. Throughout the process there will be hurtles and challenges, but the problem solving is a perk from this job. Sometimes, I go to bed thinking how to get past a problem and wake up with a plan. So when I see something I created, it is such an exciting moment. I just want to feel every inch of this work, over and over. I know it will be going to a new home and I will lose touch, but it was thrilling to be part of the journey.

-- cathyb, Hawaii,

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