Spalted Maple Sofa Table #4: Assembly and Finish

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Blog entry by superstretch posted 09-20-2011 11:17 PM 2671 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Cutting to size Part 4 of Spalted Maple Sofa Table series no next part

Once I had all the pieces in final form, it was time to sand everything down and assemble. Everything was sanded down to 220.

Bottom Assembly
First, the skirt and leg pieces. Since the corner brackets I ordered from Rockler called for 1 3/4” square legs, and I had 1 1/2” square, I had to make my own corner brackets. That was simple enough, but gluing up was a challenge. I chamfered the top 3” on the inside corner of each leg. That allowed a lag bolt to be screwed in and then a hole drilled opposite in my homemade corner brackets. Since I wanted the legs to fit tightly to the skirt, I placed a washer between the leg and the bracket and then fastened the assembly down with a wing nut. That allowed me to glue the corner brackets to the skirt pieces, while allowing the legs to be removable.

I could then detach the legs and do the longer skirt pieces, keeping everything square and easy peasy.

Top Assembly
Once the bottom was done, I detached the legs and got the skirt lined up with the top. I had to place a spacer to force out the front skirt piece (It wasn’t quite straight). I decided to forgo the tabletop fasteners (risky, I know) and just use glue blocks instead. I glued them to both the top and skirt and added a couple screws to each into the top. That way, at least if the skirt separates from the glue blocks, it will stay in place. I also reinforced the corner brackets with a couple screws.

I wanted to go for a nice, traditional maple finish—and what does that mean? Blonde shellac. It gave a little bit of tone back to the wood and made the boards in the top more even. I had to spend some extra time doing this, as it tended to run a little. I don’t have any pictures of the finishing steps, but you’ll see the final product when I post the project entry.

At the advice of others, I thinned the shellac to about 1pt alcohol, 1pt shellac. I tended to get a lot of drips. I tried using cloths, foam brushes, and bristle brushes, eventually settling on bristled brushes. Anyone have any tips on applying shellac? I revisited The Wood Whisper’s video on shellac and, following his steps, didn’t really improve the application results. In the end, extra care (moreso than say—poly) made the difference for me.

-- Dan, Rochester, NY

5 comments so far

View SouthpawCA's profile


277 posts in 4245 days

#1 posted 09-21-2011 12:58 AM

I’ve used 1 & 2 lb cuts of shellac with very good success. However, no matter what product you use, poly, shellac, or whatever, if you brush on the finish you need to finish the finish. I use Steve in Marin’s process found in this video – . There are others out there, all similar. I’ve even sprayed shellac, but still finished the finish.

-- Don

View trimworxinc's profile


40 posts in 3473 days

#2 posted 09-21-2011 02:11 AM

nice job

-- Joseph Stephens

View superstretch's profile


1531 posts in 3705 days

#3 posted 09-21-2011 04:40 AM

@Don- WOW.. Steve took finishing to a new level there. I definitely wasn’t going for high gloss, but I’ll keep that video handy in case I need it.

I should have mentioned (I’ve been sick all day and have a bit of a fever, so it slipped my mind), its about 4-5 coats of shellac with 2 applications of wax. Its a nice satin finish that feels amazing to the touch, without worry of fingerprints.

@Joseph- Thanks!

-- Dan, Rochester, NY

View a1Jim's profile


118161 posts in 4589 days

#4 posted 09-21-2011 05:04 AM

Sounds like you have it handled. Hope you feel better soon. My choice as a finishing expert is Charles Neil.


View superstretch's profile


1531 posts in 3705 days

#5 posted 09-21-2011 05:32 AM

Jim- Can’t argue with Steve’s results. That chessboard looks slicker than the devil in velvet pants

-- Dan, Rochester, NY

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