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Thread: 101 of Finishing

  1. #1

    101 of Finishing

    Hey Guys,

    I'm looking for the absolute basic steps that I should take in finishing a coffee table (cherry and oak combination). I have never taken much time in finishing my projects previously, but I'd like to make a nice job on this one.

    Can someone describe the process? When to sand, when to stain, and when to apply a varathan / lacquer?

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Dawson,
    Here my routine and I follow it riligously. I sand to 220, then I apply Dye. I don't like stains. Some say that Dye';s are harder to use then stains but I perfer them and find there quite easy to use. I use water based dye's and always test the color on a piece of scrap to get the color I want. I always test the color by applying some mineral spirits to show me how the color will look with finish on it. Some say you should sand after using water based dyes but I don't I apply a few coats of wipe on Poly or varnish then I sand to 330. a few more coats and then 0000 steel wool.
    Buff with a wax if desired.
    Last edited by Don Baer; 09-01-2009 at 04:08 PM.
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  3. #3
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    dawson, this is how i finished the coffee table. sanded down to 220, 1 coat of boiled linseed oil, 3 coats of amber shellac, 2 coats of clear shellac, then a good coat of johnson's paste wax, then buff it out. to see pics of the end results, check my "photo proof of winnings" thread.
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  4. #4
    Thanks guys, since I am using two different types of woods (cherry and oak) and plan on dying/staining each of them a different color, I assume that I should dye each prior to assembly and then apply the final coat of wax / lacquer once they are assembled ... correct?

  5. #5
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    YUP
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dawson Mossman View Post
    then apply the final coat of wax / lacquer once they are assembled ... correct?


    not a good idea to ever apply wax prior to applying anything else...only wax when you love the film finish.

    as for cherry beside oak.......a pore filler used on the oak will save you lots of work. (oak is ring-porous and cherry is not)
    [SIZE="1"] associated with several importers and manufacturers.[/SIZE]

  7. #7
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    I did something similar on the kitchen island top I wrote about in a thread a few months ago. I carefully dry-fit the red oak frame to the veneered panel and cut biscuit slots to keep the pieces in alignment.

    Then, I dyed the red oak to both darken it and reduce the grain contrast. I used TT dye disolved in DA and sprayed it on the oak. Once I achieved the appearance I wanted, I reassembled the frame to the panel and glued it together.

    Next, I applied a clear waterborne filler to the entire assembly until the grain was pretty well totally filled. I sealed with a waterborne sealer, then applied a waterborne conversion varnish.

    Below is a link to the photo of the finished product from my previous post.
    http://familywoodworking.org/forums/...5&d=1221437860
    Bill Arnold
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  8. #8
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    Dawson, thanks for asking this question, the answers have been very educational for me.
    Jon

    God and family, the rest is icing on the cake. I'm so far behind, I think I'm in first place!

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  9. #9
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    Don touched on this already, but I'd second it. Always test out the finish on a test piece of wood, preferably from the same wood used in the project if possible. Run through the whole finish process to be sure you are happy with the result, then finish your piece, or at least test each step of the way.
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  10. #10
    Two dis-simular woods here and a different approach for each. Oak is an open grained wood and needs to be filled while Cherry is a tight grained wood where filling is not necessary. the approach will differ if the woods ajoin or flush or what construction. If possible. Fill the Oak before assembly (you can always mask off the joint area to allow for good glue penitration. ) stain the color, wash with sanding sealer and then apply matching grain filler. Then assemble after the Oak and Cherry are joined (with the Oak grain filled) then a rgular finishing can take place, Again with a sanding sealer or Shellac and scuff to allow for a top coat or three of a good hard finish (I would use wipe-on poly) Always use Gloss finishes then top off with the semi if you prefer, but I prefer to rub down the gloss finish with pumice & oil. (Semi finishes have aluminum oxide suspended to reflact the light and create a dull finish, as you lay on more coats it gets duller and duller.

    All of the previous suggestions are great, but keep these in mind as well.

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