Erik Finn Larson

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    Relatively new to woodworking, so my interests are general.

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  1. Thanks for the quick advice on this. I have been playing around with various dye concentrations on test boards and have actually found that regardless of dye concentration level, I get best results with 2 applications of the shellac dye mixture (haven't tried three applications yet, but I am running out of test boards ). Two applications was not called for in the online tutorial I found, so doing the test boards has been hugely beneficial. I don't have any of the semi-gloss arm-r-seal on hand, so I have not yet done a satin v semi-gloss test. Based on the advice above I don't think I'll actually need to go buy a can. I see nothing to suggest that semi-gloss is fundamentally superior in this application. As I tend to prefer satin over semigloss generally, I think I will go with what I have. Thanks again for the thoughts on this. I'll post some pictures of the finished product on this thread in about a week once it is all completed.
  2. I am getting ready to finish a nightstand with a curly maple top. My plan is to follow an online tutorial I found that starts by applying a coat of Blonde shellac with a small amount of transtint dye added. Followed by fairly aggressive sanding, and then the application of several topcoat layers. I have some arm-r-seal left from a previous project with a satin sheen. It struck me that a semi-gloss may enhance the curly effect better than a satin sheen. So the question becomes, does it make sense to stick with satin, or should I go with a semi-gloss? Thanks in advance for any thoughts on this.
  3. Just wanted to do a quick follow up to report on my results. I ended up trying bunch of different options on test boards I actually tried every combination of the following: Base coat Blonde Shellac Garnett Shellac Nothing Top Coats Arm-r-seal (satin) Watco spray lacquer (satin) Just the shellac As a bonus I did test boards of the canary wood and some walnut (for a night stand project I will be finishing soon). So there were 8 test boards for each species! Probably a little overkill, but I had never used any of these finishes other than blonde shellac, so it was fun to try them all out. I also made my own shellac from flakes, which I had never done before. The finalists came down to: Blonde shellac alone Satin finish over blonde shellac (honestly the difference between spray lacquer and arm-r-seal was tough to see in this application) I liked the slightly glossier look of the shellac alone, while my wife preferred the flatter look of the satin finish. We put the deciding vote to my 7 year old son and he sided with Mom . So the final finish ended up being a coat of blonde shellac and a light sanding, followed by 4 coats of Watco spray lacquer. I was happy with the end result. You'll note my miters are not perfect, but the walnut dowels used to stabilize things for glue up ended up looking great when finished. Thanks for all of the advice. It was a fun finishing project. Onto the next one.
  4. The above approach is mostly suggested because it is a finishing approach that I - as a fairly novice woodworker - have some experience with, and it has worked pretty well in the past on a few projects. This should not be subject to lots of abuse, so I don't need an ultra durable finish. My main desire to to let the natural colors of the wood shine. Seems like lacquer or a wipe on poly are better options then what I suggested. A few of questions. Does either product require - or benefit from - specific prep (like a seal coat)? On the lacquer side, any suggestions on a good wipe on or brush on product? One comment mentioned "warming up the wood", is that needed in a lacquer or wipe on poly? If so, how might that be done? Any other tips on application? This will me my first time with either approach. Regardless of approach I land on, I will run through the full process with a test board so I can "learn" on something that can be easily discarded. Thanks for the advice.
  5. Does anyone have experience finishing canary wood? On a recent trip to Ecuador my 7 year old son found this small oil painting that for whatever reason resonated with him. After we left the artist's studio I doubled back and bought it for him as a birthday present. I wanted him to have a frame for it made of a wood that grows in Ecuador, so I researched a bit and landed on Canary Wood. I've now made the basic frame, but need to finish it. It has such a beautiful grain pattern that I thought a clear coat would likely be the bast approach. I don't have a sprayer or really any finishing tools beyond a good brush, some rags, and sand paper. My plan of attack was: A seal coat of blonde shellac brushed on Light sanding Several coats of a water based poly, again brushed on with light sanding between coats Any thoughts as to alternatives?
  6. It's two years after my initial post, but I wanted to share the approach that we took and the results. Our final approach was a combination of my original ideas, the great tips I got here, and some trial and error on test boards. We started with the table top sanded to 220, but with no finish. We carved all of the outlines needed for the table using a combination of methods. For all of the sqaures and long straight lines we used a router with a v-groove bit just parely exposed. We used a straight board as a guide and started/stopped the lines by eye. For the writing around the edges we used a font my brother developed some years back based on my mom's actual handwriting. We printed sayings onto stencil film, adhered the film around the edges and then used a rotary tool to carve through the stencil film and into the wood. This approach using stencil film worked great. We took a similar approach for the individual content in the squares. In some cases we created digital designs in the squares and simply printed out the sqaure and the content. In other cases, we simply printed out a square and used pencil to hand draw an image onto the stencil film. In either case, we then adhered the stencil film to the table and carved through it onto the wood. Once the carving step was done, we sanded with 220 again, then sealed the whole thing with Zinsser Seal Coat (a blonde dewaxed shellac), and sanded down the seal coat. We then painted the carved grooves, mostly in black, but some in white and other colors. and then did another light sanding, followed by a second round of seal coat and another light sanding (220). Here is what the project looked like at this point: We then painted all of the background and solid colors within the squares using high quality acrylic paint. At first we tried to do this really carefully without marring the already painted grooves. In the end we found it easier to simply get the color down and then touch up the carved grooves where needed. We topped the entire project off with several coats of a General Finishes water based Poly. It came out great. Most importantly, my Mom loves it, and everyone in the family who helped with the carving and finishing feels a sense of ownership in the end product. Here are a few pics of the final result.
  7. I am building a coffee table as a mother's day gift out of Hard Maple. This table is inspired by an coffee table my Mom saw at a craft fair one time and really loved. I've not been able to find a photo of the original, but here is one thing that I found that is fairly close: Note that the outlines of the images are have been essentially carved into the table top and then painted black, and the table surface is then painted. To give a bit more context here was the initial design I did in Sketch up as to what the table would look like. The idea was for the whole top to be painted and the base to be left natural wood. The top here is shown in blue, but the idea was to follow the carving and painting scheme for the top. Rather than generic squares, I've worked with my siblings to create images that have special meaning to our family. As I have progressed through the project, I've had a desire to leave part of the top natural rather than painting the whole thing. Here is a rough idea of where I have landed for the top. Note that our outlines were cut using a combination of a 45 degree v bit on a router and a rotary tool. So the question I have for this forum is: how int he world do I finish this thing? I've done some basic research and there are lots of opinions out there about sealing vs. not sealing, priming below paint vs. not, proper finish to use, etc. Perhaps I can lay out a simple way of going about this and let you all either shoot it down or congratulate my on my ingenious plan. Regardless of the direction I go, the plan is to complete the full process on scrap prior to ever touching the top and base. I wanted to avoid the issues of blotchy stain on maple, so the plan is to use no stain and just clear coat the portions of the top that are left natural and the entire base. - We thought we would start with the grooves that are cut into the top and paint them directly (no priming, no sealing) with a high quality black acrylic paint. - We'd follow up with a good sanding to ensure that the black only lived in the grooves. - Next we would used colored acrylics to paint the portions of the top that are not left natural. Again painting directly on the wood without sealing or priming - We would let this dry for a couple of days then clear coat the entire project with a water based polyurethane Note that we don't have the benefits of a sprayer, so whatever we decide will likey need to be applied with a brush. Any thoughts, insights, experiences would be welcome. Thanks in advance.