Thursday, April 7, 2016

Dining Chair - Part 9

I'm in the finishing stage of the chairs, so there is not much to show.  I have a nice lineup of chairs to finish that will go with the one I built last fall.
Very symmetric - I like that
I had wiped down the chairs with a damp cloth to raise the grain, so I started by giving them a light sanding with 220 grit paper.  I had mixed up the shellac the previous day and it was ready.  Here are the first two chairs with the first coat of shellac.  I hope you can see a color difference from the first picture.  The shellac is "blonde", but it gives a decidedly orange color.
First two chairs drying
Here's the third chair almost done, when I ran out of the first batch of shellac - d'oh!
One leg to go when I ran out of shellac
Well, I went through the 9-10 ounces of shellac that I mixed up during the first coat.  I mixed another batch, but this time I added another ounce or two of alcohol because I thought the first batch seemed a little thick.  I waited a few hours, stirring occasionally and got that last leg done and let them sit for the night.

Today, I started by sanding with 220 grit paper.  I have two types of 220 grit paper - the dark colored wet/dry paper and a light colored aluminum oxide paper.  I was a little worried that the latter would leave scratch marks.  But they were both OK and I got the sanding done.  Not my favorite part of a project.

After brushing off the dust, I got a second coat of shellac on all three chairs.  They're currently drying and I hope to get the last coat on tomorrow.  I'll follow that up in a day or two with a coat of furniture wax.

I remembered to "sign" my work this time.  Not in the same place on each chair - this chair has it on the inside face of a lower side rail.
Maybe in a few generations, this will be a sought after makers' mark
One last thing - when I know I'll be using the shellac brush again soon, I don't bother cleaning it.  I just wrap it up in some plastic wrap and it stays "wet".
New shellac brush
This is a new brush for me.  I had been using a regular small paint brush, which was a little too thick.  I can't remember the name of the type of bristles on this new brush - something like Teklon or similar.  It seems to work OK, but then I don't have much to compare to.


  1. Try using 4-0 steel wool to rub down the chairs - I like using it much better than sandpaper and 4-0 doesn't leave any scratches.
    The chairs look real good. Nice job of getting the look pretty consistent. I would also number them along with signing them

    1. I've used 4-0 steel wool before, but I find that it disintegrates very fast and all I have is lots of steel dust lodged in nooks and crannies of the project. Paul Sellers has blogged about a type of steel wool that is long fibers. I can't seem to find that in any store. Any idea where to get a decent steel wool that won't fall apart so quickly?