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devonwoody

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Attached photograph is a project nearing completion, boxes (trays) are glued and sanded down, top lid and frameworks are at present loose (unglued), wooden drawers pulls (same timber as framing) are still to be attached to drawer fronts and under consideration is a carrying handle (in timber) to be attached to top frame.

This is the first time I have ever used hardwood or made a display piece of furniture. Normally in the past softwood has been used which entailed staining then oiling of poly varnish.

So I am looking for advice on how other members would finish off this piece of furniture which is going to be used by the wife as an embroidery storage unit. Timber is sycamore and Brazilian mahogany.

The design of this piece of furniture was found on my last Australian holiday when visiting the home of AlexS in Sydney who kindly has given his photographs and measurements to work with. This invitation came about solely via an internet forum thread similar in vain to the UKworkshop.
 

Les Mahon

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It's an interesting piece DW - what stops the drwers flailing around when they pass the back supports? I know I have seen other threads on this piece, but I can't remember the details.

Oh as to how to finish it... I always end up using Dainish oil and wax but I've yet to get a finish on a piece that I am really happy with, so I'll defer to those more experienced!

Les
 

devonwoody

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LesMahon

If the bottom frames are thinner at the rear, no problem. :lol:
No seriouly, I am going to insert earth magnets at the rear of each drawer and into the rear frame.

The drawer slides have been removed at the present time (frames unglued)
The guide strips are fitted to the side support frames and ride in the draw rebates.
 

Philly

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DW
How about oil on the mahogany and blonde shellac on the sycamore? A nice contast.
Cheers
Philly :D
 

Les Mahon

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Duh! Should have guessed that there was some runners missing - too early in the morning for me - :roll:
 

MikeW

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Very nice looking work, DW!

I would probably opt for Philly's suggestion of oil (my preference is Teak oil) on the Mahogany and a light shellac polish to the Sycamore and then a good rubbed in wax (Renaissance wax usually).

But I would first take some of the scraps and apply different finishes to each wood to compare.

No matter what the final choice is, though, I would not oil the inside of the drawers. Just a few well polished coats of shellac.
 

Chris Knight

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DW,
An interesting looking project!

Re your finishing question. As Professor Joad might have said " It depends.." Brazilian Mahogany is extremely versatile in what finishes can be applied for different effects which is partly what makes it such a favourite for the repro trade.

It takes stains very well and responds dramatically to some chemical stains (try a little, fairly dilute caustic soda to see an example). It looks great in a high finish with filled grain and a shellac or varnish finish. Oil will bring out a warm, rich amber colour - and you can apply subsequent top coats of just about most finishes you care to name.

So, try to think first of how you would like it to look then choose a finish accordingly.

For sycamore, I would have thought a waterborne finish likely to be best in terms of preserving a pale colour - where is it used in your piece by the way?
 

devonwoody

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Waterhead 37;

quote
For sycamore, I would have thought a waterborne finish likely to be best in terms of preserving a pale colour - where is it used in your piece by the way? end quote.

The drawers and the lid are the sycamore pieces.

One reason the frames have not yet been glued up is because the lid timber is moving (cups when I take it into the workshop and flattens a bit when I bring it back indoors for the night)

The runners are 3mm thick oak strips. This piece of oak had been in my scrapbox for over 35 years. It was the remains from a guitar fret board made in 1970.

Drier down here in the SW today so might take the plunge and start glueing up the lid and the frames.
 

Sgian Dubh

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devon, I'd avoid using oil based finishes on any of the interior parts. These are pure tung oil, pure linseed oils and oil based varnishes, which includes the long oil yacht/exterior varnishes through interior short oil cabinet grade varnishes all the way to soft non-durable varnishes sold under names such as danish oil, tung oil finish, antique oil, etc..

The specific reason for this suggestion is the proposed usage of the cabinet-- it will contain embroidery materials. The pure oil finishes when applied to interior parts subject to poor air circulation end up smelling foosty. Oil based finishes such as varnish can take years to stop giving off an unpleasant odour. Bad smells will transfer to the emroidery materials.

Whilst all these finishes might be viable options for exterior parts you need to look at non stinky options for interiors, i.e., ones that cure fully quickly and don't off-gas for months or years.

Of the common types of film forming polish mostly available to the amateur market these are shellac, water based varnishes and water based polishes, and members of the nitro-cellulose family. All can be sprayed, but only shellac and water based varnishes can be applied easily by hand, with the exception of special slow drying brushing nitro-cellulose type lacquers. These last can take a long time to fully cure due to the amount of retarder they have in them which is what makes them brushable in the first place.

I spray most of my finishes which gives me a wide choice of options, but if I had no spray equipment I'd probably choose first a pale clear (probably dewaxed) shellac for the cabinet interior, and a long way down in second in my order of preference would be a water based varnish.

That deals with the inside of the cabinet. What you put on the outside is optional and down to what you find attractive, but mahogany can look a bit peely-wally without a bit of dye or stain, and perhaps a bit of pore filler to kill the pinkness and make it a bit richer in colour. Slainte.
 

devonwoody

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Thanks Slainte.

I'm going the shellac route on the sycamore as everyone suggests, plus wax, thinking to leave the internal parts untreated?

OK, I will stain the B.Mah. but what filler is used? The only filler I have ever used was ;Alabaster (55 years ago at a woodwork class) or polyfiller.
 

Sgian Dubh

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Richard Barry is one supplier of grain fillers of the type I was thinking of. This link will take you to one option http://www.richardbarry.co.uk/store/sto ... iew=search A traditional route that I often use is to tint plaster of paris with water soluble powder paints and apply this mixture to fill the grain.

There may be no need to fill the pores of the mahogany. It depends on the look you're after.

Leaving interiors unfinished is a decent traditional choice, as long as the wood is neatly smoothed etc, but polish does seal and stiffen the fibres preventing them snagging on materials. Slainte.
 
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