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Hello there my name is Wesley and I am a 25 year old amateur woodworker who lives in Steamboat Springs, CO. This is my first project that I've put on here so please comment with your critique, advice and opinions. I have been an admirer of this site for about a year now and I figured it was time to officially join this great community of skilled woodworkers. I hope you all enjoy my work as I have enjoyed all of yours!

I used slab pieces of Beetle Killed Lodgepole Pine because I enjoy the look of the "live edge" exposed bark.
I sanded each piece for hours before I assembled them (60 grit to 160 to 220) and then rounded the edges. (Until everything was as smooth as glass)
Each piece was assembled with a hammer, wood glue and finishing nails (I wanted to take a more traditional approach) with the assistance of a level, a square and a drill.
I used a Minwax water based pre-stain conditioner and then I used 2 coats of Minwax water based natural clear stain. I finished it with 2 coats of Minwax clear-satin polyurethane.

On an additional note:
I have seen many different questions and answers as to what stain and finsh works best to bring out the blue in the beetle kill pine and I wanted to share what worked best for me.

I am helping my cousin build a building out of this stuff and we literally have tons of it laying around.
After numerous test pieces with all different variables tried, ( With or without a pre-stain conditioner, Many different stains, Brush on or rub on approach, How finely the surface is stained, Oil based or water based, and Different Finishing products) these are my conclusions that I have drawn.

#1 How deeply you sand and how finely the grit you progress to MATTERS! I tried different grits and the rougher the surface the more "thirsty" the wood is. The "thirstier" the wood is the more stain it is going to soak up and it would make for a very uneven look. I had my best results when I would progress from 60 to 160 to 220. The very smooth finish of the 220 would make for a beautifully even stain.

#2 I found that using a high quality brush designed for staining and finishing worked best for me. I found the rub on approach to be frustrating and require more stain. I used the brush on approach for conditioning, staining and finishing.

#3 Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner is a must. (No brainer) I tried many test pieces with and without and ALL the ones that I used a pre-stain conditioner on turned out way better. Once I applied the conditioner with a brush I would let it soak on the wood for about 10 mins and then I would go over the applied area with a cotton rag or tacking cloth to soak up any excess. (Applied moderate pressure) After I have wiped the surface I would apply the first coat of stain within a half hour or so.

#4 The stain that brought out the blue in the wood the best for me was Minwax NATURAL water based stain. I would use a high quality brush to apply the stain generously. (even on the exposed bark "live edge" I applied the stain) I would allow the stain to soak in the wood for about a half hour before wiping off any excess with a cotton rag or tacking cloth. I would allow each coat to dry for at least 4 hours before adding another coat. (I live in an extremely dry climate) I found that 2 coats gave me the look I wanted but I could have gone with another few coats for a slightly darker look.

#5 I finished the whole thing with Minwax Clear Satin Polyurethane. I personally prefer a flat non glossy looking finish so I opted for the Clear Satin. After letting the Stain settle and dry for 24 hours I applied the Polyurethane carefully and evenly. I let the first coat dry for 6 hours and then I very lightly and evenly sanded the whole thing (not the bark) by hand with 220 grit. This allowed for a better and even adhesion of the final coat. I did put a heavy coat of poly on the bark and it preserved the bark very well as it is now very tough and will not flake off very easily

Those were my conclusions!!
This thing was VERY fun to create and we now enjoy it in our living room. My girlfriend filled it with books, decor, a receiver, a dvd player, family photos, etc..
Please comment with any questions, advice or anything!!




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1,038 Posts
great shelf wesley.i love the beetle killed pine,thanks for sharing the shelf and your staining techniques.welcome to lumberjocks.

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49 Posts
Very nice shelf. Welcome to ljs.
We have a spruce bookcase assembled with nails and glue we have used over 20 years and it's holding up great.
Thanks for the finishing advice as well

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2,392 Posts
Very nice write up. Thanks for sharing your experience with us. The bookcase looks great.

I was in Colorado Springs in May and we took the Train ride to the top of Pikes Peak. Oh how I wished I could have scarfed up some of that Aspen. Lots of it cut down and laying by the tracks. Looks like a waste to me. Maybe someone is supposed to come along and pick it up.

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20,029 Posts
Very rustic. Nice looking. Always love live edge.

Welcome to LJ's.