Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Sideboard finished

Aaaand we're done. I finished the sides by humping the whole case minus the top out to my back porch with a drop cloth laid down and using a brush to put on three layers of garnet shellac. After three hours of letting it dry, I used a card scraper to scrape flat the surface on the rails, stiles, the fronts of the legs and the case sides, and then charged a pad and polished on shellac until my pad began dragging slightly (approx. two coats). The end result looks great. It's not a highly polished surface compared to the drawer fronts, but it's got a great sheen to it, it's smooth, and the grain is partially filled, giving it a little bit of texture.
I debated about refinishing the top. Although I had French polished it, I hadn't done quite enough bodying sessions, and the shellac had shrunk back into the pores which also highlighted low spots in the top. This set it apart from the high gloss drawer fronts, and not for the better.
I'd also run out of BT&C dewaxed garnet shellac. I could wait for two whole days for my other batch of orange shellac to dissolve and then decant the shellac from the wax, or I could press my luck and try to rub out the finish to see if I could get a better sheen from it.
I haven't had much success rubbing shellac out with pumice and rottenstone. Part of me wonders if the shellac was on its last legs (I French polished the center drawer front and let it sit for 3 days to allow the shellac to fully cure. But when I clamped it to my bench top to install the drawer pull, the shellac was still too soft and cloth indentations were left in it. On the other hand, we had some pretty intense heat that week in the upper 90's and my shop doesn't have A/C). Whatever the reason, I took a chance and used just the rottenstone to polish it up. And it worked great! Over time I expect it to acquire a more semi-gloss look after dishes and plates slowly scratch the surface.
I'll do another blog post detailing the build from start to finish and lessons learned along the way.
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