Finishing


Epoxy is activated by mixing 2 parts resin to 1 part hardener 1
Penetrating epoxy has been used for years to seal and repair wooden parts on boats but it also has value in protecting outdoor wooden furniture from the elements. It’s designed to be applied to bare wood where it soaks into the wood, filling the small gaps in the wood surface and creating an impenetrable moisture barrier. […]

Penetrating Epoxy


Sewing machine table 4
What to do with an old sewing machine that is too far gone to economically restore as a sewing machine? Well, when I came across this beat-up old Singer sewing machine in the garage attic, I immediately thought what a great little table it would make. The decorative iron base was still in good condition […]

Vintage Sewing Machine Side Table



Fully restored Mission style rocking chair
When I discovered this old rocking chair collecting dust in the attic, unused and forgotten for over 30 years, I instinctively knew it deserved better. I remembered this chair hanging around the house as a kid growing up in small town Pennsylvania. I’m not really sure where it came from – it may have been […]

Mission Style Rocking Chair


Maple floor clock
This is a floor clock, also called a longcase clock, tall-case clock, or grandfather clock (technically, I suppose it’s a grandmother rather than a grandfather clock because it’s just under 6 feet tall). I’ve dubbed this clock the “Pop Clock” in honor of my dad who built the clock many years ago (early 1980’s I […]

Pop Clock



Shellac blushing formed by trapped moisture
Although it may look like frost, the white in the photo below is actually an example of shellac blushing. Blushing is caused by moisture that gets trapped in the finish when the top layer of the finish dries before the moisture has a chance to escape. It typically occurs when the humidity is high or […]

Shellac Blushing


This chart compares sandpaper grits using three different grading systems: 1) Coated Abrasives manufacturer’s Institute (CAMI), 2) Federation of European Producers Association (FEPA), and 3) the “0” or “ought” grade system. CAMI and FEPA are the two most common grading systems in use today. CAMI is used primarily in North America whereas FEPA is used […]

Sandpaper Grit Chart



Home-made sanding block
Sanding is not the most pleasant woodworking task but it goes a lot smoother (pun intended) if you have a system in place for choosing sandpaper grits. That is: what grit to start with, what grit to end with, and what grits to use in between. This process is sometimes referred to as a sanding […]

Going Through the Grits


Oscillating spindle sander
I’ve accumulated several different types of sanding tools over the years, some of which are used much more frequently than others but all have their place. My sanding arsenal includes hand-held tools: a sheet sander, a random orbital sander, a belt sander, sanding blocks, a detail sander, and a cabinet scraper, as well as stationary tools: […]

An Assortment of Wood Sanding Tools



Sanding isn’t fundamentally difficult but its still easy to make mistakes. This is often due to carelessness, such as over sanding the edges of a table top, but can also be due to procedural screw-ups such as not using the right tool or type of sandpaper for the job. Or sanding against the grain. Laziness […]

Common Sanding Mistakes


Shellac flakes + alcohol = shellac finish
Shellac is a multi-talented finishing material: Not only does it provide a beautiful top finish but it’s also an effective sanding sealer and functions well as a barrier coat between dissimilar finishes. It also dries quickly, is easily repairable, and is non-toxic when dry. Why don’t we use this stuff more often?? The thing with […]

Mixing Shellac



It’s a pain reaching for a paintbrush only to discover that the bristles are a hardened mass because you didn’t properly clean the brush after the last use. Then it’s off to the store to buy yet another new brush. Fortunately, cleaning a paintbrush isn’t rocket science. It just takes a little diligence. Think of […]

How to Clean a Paintbrush


Shellac flakes
The next time you’re preparing to finish a woodworking project, take an eco-moment to consider the environmental friendliness of the finishing materials you use. Conventional solvent-based finishes such as nitrocellulose lacquer and varnishes provide a durable, high quality finish at a reasonable cost. However, they can also be significant sources of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) […]

Eco-Friendly Wood Finishes



Sanding with bench cookies
Looking to “fill out” an order of woodworking supplies, I decided to buy a four pack of bench cookies.  I was somewhat skeptical of these relative newcomers to the woodworking scene, but for 12 bucks,  how could I go wrong? I figured I could always use them as drink coasters if they didn’t perform well […]

Bench Cookies – Not Too Crumby


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After reading about the virtues of aniline dyes for years, I finally decided to take the plunge and try them out on a rustic grandmother clock that I inherited from my dad. The unfinished maple clock had been sitting in a barn for at least 25 years and over that time, the wood had darkened […]

Aniline Dyes – First Impressions



End result of coffee table with new finish.
I bought this parquet coffee table from some neighbors that were moving and didn’t want to haul their old furniture with them. I got a good deal on the table, especially considering that it had one of those spring-assisted pop-up mechanisms for adjusting the height of the table top. The table was in good condition […]

Adventures in Refinishing a Coffee Table