Thursday, June 24

Start To Finish

Today I will dismantle the tables I just finished building. I’ll do this so that I can sand everything a few more times and apply the stain. I use my random orbit sander for all but the last round of sanding. It makes quick work of most pieces, especially the large, flat, smooth panels used in these tables. But it can leave small swirls that will show up when the stain is applied. So, the final round is always done by hand. For this job I use mostly a hard rubber sanding block. When the sanding is done on one table I vacuum and tack-rag the parts to remove sanding dust. Then I set up my finishing room; get out the stain and stir it up well, get out the nitrile gloves, painter's pyramids and tear up some rags for use in the staining process. I use nitrile gloves because they don’t melt when they come in contact with some of my finishing products like latex gloves do. Staining involves rubbing on a wet coat of the stain – a brush or even a sprayer can be used if you prefer – wait 5 to 7 minutes for the stain to get a good foot-hold in the wood, then gently wipe away the excess with clean rags. Wipe with the grain and watch for any blotches that might have been missed. Don’t wipe too hard or you’ll end up with a color that is too light. Change the rags often or you’ll end up just moving the liquid stain around and make trouble for yourself. I do the back sides/insides of a panel first, the flip the panel over and lay it on 3 or 4 pyramids to do the front side. When complete I move the two smaller pieces off to a drying rack and do the top panel. That I’ll leave on the spinner while I roll the case in on a roller table and just spin it around to get to all faces. I do the inside first then the outside; less chance of leaving fingerprints on a completed surface that way. While the stain dries I go back out to the work room and begin sanding the other table, but it’s mid afternoon and in the mid 90’s outside. Higher inside. And I’m leaving sweat drops on the panels as I work on them, causing me to have to do them again when the drops dry. So, it’s time to go do something else for the rest of the afternoon – or mummify my upper body; that might work for a while. Nah, I’ll quit for now and pick it up here tomorrow morning when it cool again.

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