Saturday, March 24, 2012

Finishing Pine

"He was still too young to know that the heart's memory eliminates the bad and magnifies the good, and that thanks to this artifice we manage to endure the burden of the past.” 

Gabriel Garcia Marquez,  Love in the Time of Cholera

Back when I started woodworking, I was fresh out of college and working at my father's planer mill, where we processed about 10 million feet of Eastern White Pine, so guess what wood I used for my first few, at the time, part time years as a budding woodworker.

I learned how to work with wood that was slightly warped, because when I got it it was already surfaced to 3/4".  Another thing I learned was how to finish pine so it looked pretty good.  Paint it!  Seriously, I paint most of my pine projects but sometimes I want something different and here are two examples of finishing processes.

The Shaker wood box above is stained with steel wool dissolved in vinegar.  It takes at least a couple weeks and then I run it through a coffee filter.  Then I just use a plant mister to spray it on and then wipe it off.  A couple coats of linseed and thinner and done.  It's amazing how over the years, this pine looks just like walnut.  It really does. 

Here is a jelly cupboard that I stained with a gel stain.  It's a fairly involved process that has seven different steps; not that any step is hard but it does take time.  But the results are worth it.  I sand it out to 180, then hand sand and vacuum.  Then a spit coat of shellac, gel stain, shellac, glaze, shellac, then oil varnish, couple coats, and then dark wax.  One key to finishing pine is to use oil based product.  Otherwise, it never gets to be a rich orange color.

This piece above it finished the same way, and is based on a Shaker dry sink from the Handburg books.  This one is perfect as a changing table.  The large knobs hold plastic bags for the diapers, the door hides extras and wipes, the drawers hold more extras, the height is right as is the length.  It is just perfect as a changing table. 

As far as the boat, I am going to try a new thing on the floorboards.  The bottom of the boat is pine and I have read that a painted bottom is a whole different kind of maintenance headache, so I want something that is no work and very traditional and I found "boat soup" online.  It is real Pine Tar,  Tung Oil, real Turpentine, and some Japan Dryer.  I guess you just warm it up and slather it on, then wipe in off.  Six coats should about do it.  Sounds really salty, can't wait.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Big Slick

If not for the sea, we would have to carry our boats about.

Norwegian saying

For those who have followed my blog for awhile, you have seen this boat before.  I started it a couple years ago, and after a brief, well, a year long break, I am getting back into the boat shop ( garage) to finish it up this summer, come hell or high water.  When I was building it, I wanted to have a big slick but 1. I wasn't really sure how much I'd use one and 2. they are pretty spendy on Ebay, so when I saw an article on building one, I decided to.

The article called for a blade made from a leaf spring, so I got one from a friend and cut to length and then drilled and tapped the holes.  I've had a fair bit of experience tapping metal when I used to weld, but tapping this was tricky.  The steel is hard, not super hard but harder than most metals, so you have to drill a bigger hole and use lots of oil.  Even so, I broke one tap.  Below you can see the size of the tool.

The blade is held in place by screws, so I guess you could change out the blade to a straight one for timber framing work, but for my purposes, the sweep on the leaf spring works great because it clears the handle and allows  me to pare easily.

Here you can see how much sweep it has.

 I have yet to harden the blade,  but I am thinking at about 25ยบ on the primary bevel will be about right.  Despite it's impressive size, it's a paring tool...the knob end rests in your shoulder and you push with whole body.  The handle is white ash but about any hardwood would work.  After syrup is over, I'm getting the boat back out, maybe three more weeks. 
 I am really looking forward to getting the boat in the water, should be a lot of fun.  I've read that the time spent in a boat is inversely proportional to the size of the boat...I hope this one is the perfect size. 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Vineyard Table Part 5

One's art goes as deep and as far as one's love.
Andrew Wyeth

The Vineyard Table is done and I could not be happier with the results.  The fumed oak looks's a rich chocolate brown.  This is a color you can't get with dyes or stains.  One thing I try to do is what I call minimalist finishing, which is to say there are colors that only time can give, so by putting on an oil finish and letting nature work, you will be rewarded. This table has a simple oil finish.

In the third picture up. you can see the slightly different color from the maple pivot dowel and a small red oak patch.  It's weird how fuming works on some woods and not on others. 

Note:  I have been putting more pieces on my Etsy shop so check it out.