Sunday, March 20, 2011

Progress Report Hamy. Beginning Finishing

Over the last week, Henry and I have been experimenting with brush-on/rag-on oil-based polyurethane finishes.  We've glues some of his final veneer to a sample wood block and experimented with that block and a chunk of Mahogany left over from project Junior.

We've sanded, cabinet scraped, sealed, applied layers of poly, and sanded some more.  Thge results are okay... but I think two or three lessons have been loearned here:

  • if you're not spraying the finish on, then you need to apply poly with an apprpriate brush, and apply slowly, gently , and in one direction only so as to flow the poly on more than paint it on.  Very different from painting, say, the wall of a house.
  • Tack cloth really should be used to get the surface really clean before applying.  I'd been wiping with varying leather gloves and ragged t-shirts, but that doesn't really get the small dust out like a tack-cloth will.
  • I've learned a lot about sanding.  While 220 and 400 do provide a smooth finish, you need to tart with something rougher to get to a flat surface, and use 220 and 400 (and probably higher) to make that flat surface smooth. Yes, I've been using sanding blocks. 
Here's a picture of Henry's Sapele veneer finished with two coats of sealer and three coats of poly, sanding between each coat.  It maintains its depth, but the surface is craggy- not flowed.  I think that's a result of the rag-on, back and forth technique.  I'll be doing more of these experimental finishes over the next few weeks to see what works best, and then we go for the gusto on the real deal.

Photo courtesy of my new blackberry bold.  Not bad for a phone!

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