|The nightstands in their rightful places|
|The tiger maple nightstand matches the maple bed frame|
I used my favorite finish for tiger maple on this nightstand. To prepare the surface, I scraped any areas with tearout, then raised the grain with some water and sanded to 400 grit. This was an essential step because I used a water based aniline dye. I used W.D. Lockwood's amber maple thinned down a fourth of the recommended concentration. I brushed on five coats and wiped down the access as soon as possible so that only the figure soaks in the dye, followed by light 400 grit sanding. After that, I ragged on two coats of a 2:1 blend of polyurethane varnish to mineral spirits, rubbing it down with #0000 steel wool. Somehow that always makes the figure really pop. Then, I added a coat of paste wax.
|Cherry nightstand and its companion, my cherry bed frame|
I decided that I wanted to french polish this nightstand. French polishing is a very labor intensive process, but it is very rewarding. I prepared the surface by scraping any torn-out areas, and sanded to 400 grit, but there was no need to raise the grain this time, because I was not using a water based finish. I will make a dedicated series of posts to explain the method, but here it is in short. Step 1: fill the pores. This can be done a few ways, just brushing on shellac, using pumice stone and shellac, or paste wood filler. Step 2: body up. After the pores are filled, move the applicator over the surface in a figure eight pattern across the wood. You should add alcohol and shellac to the applicator in equal amounts. Step 3: spirit off. After the shellac has cured, use a fresh applicator doused in alcohol to remove any oil on the surface of the finish. Or, like me, you can cut corners and just wipe down the surface with mineral spirits. I do not have the room to make a more detailed lesson on french polishing right now, so I suggest that you search the internet and Youtube to get a more in-depth explanation of the process, and soon enough I will post my own method here on the blog.
So that's what I've been up to lately. I will be back soon to update you all on what else I am working on. On Thursday I am flying to Amana to go to Handworks. It looks like a great line up of demonstrators there, and an intriguing presentation by Roy Underhill on the axe. Last but not least, as you all have probably heard, the Studley tool chest is on exhibit nearby. It sounds like it's going to be a once in a lifetime opportunity to see it, so I am very lucky to be able to go and see it. I am super excited and I will report back with news on the weekend. Happy woodworking!