Drum Roll Please....!

August 13, 2012

The time had come. After many hours of fitting and checking and fitting again I ran out of excuses. It was time for assembly. I decided to apply some finish to all of the inside surfaces of the frame. I figured it was easier now then later.  I left the outside surfaces bare for final planing or sanding. I was also careful to leave the areas of joinery free from finish so the glue would properly adhere.

The finish I used was a first coat of pure tung oil that was allowed to soak in and then was wiped off and dried. The second coat was a mixture of 1/3 tung oil, 1/3 spar varnish, and 1/3 mineral spirits. This is such an easy finish to use and always gives a nice looking but durable and long lasting finish.  I brush it on heavy, let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes and then wipe off the excess and let dry. Usually two or three coats gives a nice finish.  On open pore woods such as walnut I will often use 400 grit wet/dry silicon carbide sandpaper while the oil is wet to create a slurry. This helps to fill the grain. I let it set-up and then use a paper towel to remove the excess and let it dry.  I did not use any sanding on the madrone panels to keep the nice freshly planed surface as crisp as possible.  (Please be careful of the oily rags or paper towels and dispose of in a water pail to help prevent fires.)

The plan was to assemble the front and rear frames and panels and let them dry and then assembly the side rails and drawer runners.  After many trial fits the actual assemble was a piece of cake. I used some nice, heavy clamps to help pull the frames together and checked square several times.

After the assembly was dry I blended in the curves between the rails and stiles and the curved feet. I used a an Auriou rasp I purchased for this very purpose at a Lie-Nielsen hand tool event.   Wow, what a revelation on what a rasp can do. It cut the walnut like butter and still left a surface that was almost ready for finish. I will be purchasing some more of these fine tools in the future.

After some more cleaning up, scraping and some sanding I applied a coat of tung oil finish. It is not the final finish but just a coat to help protect the wood while I continue on with the rest of the project.

And here it is in it's present state. It is really starting to look like something and I can't wait to share about making the lid and the Port Orford cedar bottom.  Stay Tuned!

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Just like at the movies if you stay for the credits you sometimes get a a little extra.  I will be having a dog days of summer blem sale sometime in September. There will be lots of good deals on perfectly usable but somehow not-quite-ready-for-prime-time tools.




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