Thursday, December 3

Doing Doors

Another of the bids we put out has come home as an order, Robert would like a 4-Tier Bottle Stopper Rack in walnut and oak, so that has been added to the list and I will get started on that as soon as possible. In fact, I have a walnut 4-tier base made up already, so all I have to do is make the oak shelves and assemble it. But for now I continue staining doors. In particular I’m working on the fancy paned glass door. Because this door is poplar (or some similar paint grade wood) I need to seal the wood before staining it or it will most likely blotch badly. So after sanding I apply the sealer liberally, let it soak in, re-wetting areas that dry out, and after about 10 minutes wipe off the excess and allow it to dry for 30 minutes before flipping the door over and repeating the process on the other side. When that has set up I go back and sand again. This stuff is gummy, so it clogs the sandpaper badly and the dust clumps in the corners and crevices of the detail work so when done I use a stiff horsehair brush to clean up these details before vacuuming the entire door with a brush on the end of my shop vac hose. I move the door I lacquered yesterday out of the finishing room now that the lacquer has had all night to harden and let it join it’s brethren in the assembly room. These are ready for pick-up. Staining is started by flooding on a wet coat of stain with a rag, being careful to work it into the corners and crevices of the routed detail work. The stain will set for 15 minutes on this door (10 minutes on the oak doors) before I go back and wipe away the excess with clean rags. I allow more time on this one because the wood is quite a bit lighter than the oak doors and the stain needs to darken more than the oak doors in order to come out the same color. In some cases I have to let the stain cure for at least 8 hours and apply a second coat to get the colors to match, but in this case just allowing extra set-up time has done the trick. By the time I get some lacquer over this it will match the completed doors pretty well. Once I get to the wiping off stage I have to work quickly because at 15 minutes the stain is trying to dry out, getting the color even takes more effort and I have to pay particular attention to the detail work where the stain will settle in those pesky corners and get really dark. To keep the color even I use the chisel point end of a dry foam brush to soak up or spread out these pools of stain, squeezing the end of the brush with a dry rag often to remove the stain that the brush soaks up. After detailing, I always have to watch for smudges that appear on top of the muntins (divider strips in the glass area) and wipe those away again before I clean things up and let the stain harden. This door has plastic sheeting over the glass and under the wood, so I don’t have to be too concerned about getting stain on the glass. Once the doors are stained and lacquered, a utility knife can cut the plastic out and leave clean glass under – as long as the plastic had no holes in it. Now that the stain is on both sides, it will need to set up for a few hours before I can lacquer the door this evening. In the mean time I will pull together the lumber I need for Ann’s tables and Robert’s rack and I’ll probably be able to get started on those today, depending on what interruptions crop up.

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