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My second attempt at building some furniture

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  • #16
    Re: My second attempt at building some furniture

    Well I finally got around to finishing the bookcases so for completeness here are the final photos. The whole finishing process (which was based on a article by a wood restoration guy) was very long winded but the results I think are worth it although lots of thin coats and lots of waiting in between for things to dry/cure.

    Here is a quick summary for anyone interested in finishing pine without blotching or want to keep the natural but aged look.

    1. Wait a few weeks for a natural patina to appear.
    2. Seal with two washcoats of clear shellac mixed with a hint of amber shellac diluted with denatured alcohol -once cured rub down with 600 grit sandpaper.
    3. Stain with a mix of stains, boiled linseed oil and mineral spirits. Although the actual stain looks dark the washcoat ensures that only hint of color gets added although the darker color gets into the crevices giving it an aged look. Repeat for 3 coats and cure for one week.
    4. Another washcoat of shellac less diluted than the first coats.
    5. 3 coats of varnish (non-polyurethane as the poly will not stick to the shellac since this is not dewaxed shellac) - one coat each 24 hours.
    6. Once cured rub down with 600 grit sandpaper and then polish with mineral oil and 0000 steel wool.

    The exact recipe also involves the appropriate proportions etc.

    Although long winded this process nicely finishes the wood with a naturally aged look unlike simply applying a stain which I find too harsh myself



    • #17
      Re: My second attempt at building some furniture


      Thanks for the follow-up. The bookcases came out really nice, though I have to admit that personally, I don't think I have that kind of patience for all the required steps and the waiting inbetween. You results though certainly is good testimony to your labors.

      If not polyurethane (and I understand about it not sticking to shellac) for your "varnish", what did you use?

      I really like using shellac, but have mostly used it for inside drawers and for places where sealing wood is important; but I haven't used it for a final finish anywhere because of it's susceptability to water (nothing like someone setting a glass on your table). Big concern for us is odor, and while the alcohol in shellac will quickly dissipate, oil-based polyurethane hangs around for days and even weeks, making the house almost unoccupiable... both my wife and I get significant headaches from such odors. (And yet, I don't like using water-based poly at all.)

      Again, absolutely great job and your finish process came out very well.

      Thanks for the post,



      • #18
        Re: My second attempt at building some furniture

        I used the Waterlox original satin finish which uses olefin resin and phenolic resin. The odor is definitely an big issue. I had to finish it indoors as my garage is full of other stuff. A respirator is mandatory during application (I use a P100 respirator with cartridges - not just a mask type respirator). After that following the (quite detailed) instructions from the manufacturer I opened several windows and ran a box fan for several hours to pull a continuous flow of fresh air through the house.. The initial cure involves the toxic vapors which dissipate after about 4 hours. After that the smell left is the tung oil smell (which is non-toxic) and vanishes to very low levels within about 24 hours.

        I found this product at Rockler - these days almost all varnishes are poly based - it is hard to find one with the other resins.

        I have read several articles on various finishes for wood and most of them involve using multiple thin coats which is obviously very time consuming,


        • #19
          Re: My second attempt at building some furniture

          They look great. Great design, lots of storage. Like the clean lines and great finish. Well done!