My wife wanted a plant box to put her potted plants in by the window in the kitchen. I thought this would be a great project to experiment on, so I challenged myself with a lot of new finish products and construction. This is the first time I made any curved legs, figured maple, or used just about any of the finishing supplies.
For the design I decided on curved legs with floating tenons.
I got a great deal on some figured maple from the cabinet supply shop that really didn't want it, so I decided to make the whole project out of it.
The figured maple wasn't to bad on the flatter pieces, but the legs were a challenge. I dont' think I'd use the figured wood on curved legs again due to the tear out problems with the router. The floating tennons were great, but I can see a jig for cutting the end grain mortises in my future.
For color I used a water solution with transtint dyes. I was applying it with a rag and got a lot of blotching at first. I think it was just drying to fast to get a nice consistant coat. It ended up a little darker than I wanted by the time I got everything evened out, but I did figure out how to wash some of the dye back down with a wet rag and even the coloring out. Overall I really liked the dyes a lot better than the minwax stains I've used in the past. The color is a lot deeper I think without hiding the grain.
I sprayed a coat of shellac over the dye (first time to use a spray gun or shellac). I was amazed how easy it was to use and get good results. I tinted the shellac for the last coat and made a little toner to even the color out a lilttle more. The only hard thing was fighting the urge to try and make a big correction in one coat.
Currently, I'm finishing the clearcoat, Target Coatings EM6000 satin water based finish. I had a little trouble at first getting it on to thick, but that was probably just inexperience with the product and spray gun. It wasn't to hard to wipe off the first coat and start over. After I got the gun set about right I haven't had much trouble.
If anyone is considering trying dyes, spray guns, or target waterbase finishes, I'd say go for it. While my work is not on the level of a lot of guys on this site, I was really suprised at how good of a finished product I had on the first use of these finishes. My first attempt with spraying looks better than the wipe on finishes I have used in the past. It's a lot less work too.