So last Saturday I put the finishing touches on my daughter’s Young Artist’s Easel. And I think it’s looking pretty good, even if I say so myself:
I’ve put two coats of a 3lb cut of blonde shellac, and rubbed out the finish with some 220 grit sand paper. In places this left the finish a little rough, so I wiped over it with a clean cloth with some methyl hydrate on it. This can be used to dilute shellac down, but in this instance it helped smooth over the finish and make it feel like silk. You can see the dark marks down the left hand leg of the easel. These mark where the nails held the pallets together. There is a dado (a groove) running round the bottom of the trays. I was going to use the router, but discovered that the bit I wanted to use chipped and burned after I did the first test cut. So I did it at the table saw. The kerf of the blade isn’t wide enough to do it in one cut, so I moved the fence over a fraction and re-ran each board through.
The good news is it was completed in time for the Woodworkers Fight Cancer charity build. As of two days ago, they had raised over $5,000, so more than half way to their $10,000 target.
Working in a winter workshop
This has been a bit of a test for me. I’m used to having the space to spread out a lot in my barn. My winter workshop must be less than a quarter of the size. My barn has an additional floor I was using to put finish on projects. This last part is going to be particularly difficult to cope with. An inherent part of woodworking involves making wood dust, and more so with power tools. And worse power tools have fans on the motors which inevitably spreads that dust out over everything. I try to use my shop vac to collect the dust as I go, but it’s not perfect. My little vac hasn’t have a huge throughput, and it’s impossible to collect all the dust anyway. So I wear a respirator which is the most uncomfortable part of woodworking. To help collect some of the dust from the atmosphere I have a 20″ box fan drawing air through a furnace filter – you can see the corner of that in the picture above. Hopefully less of it will get stuck in my finish meaning I’ll have a smoother finish and less sandpaper wasted.
Next up: finish my son’s Christmas present – a hook and ladder firetruck.