I completed the first of two shelves for the boys. I had destroyed one of the backs with the router when I was cutting the dadoes for the shelves – destroying the last thick piece of birch I had – which delayed the finish of the second shelf.
I searched the barn of lumber and found a few options – from white oak (similar to the birch) to sapele (dark reddish brown). After consulting with the customer (Ben), I decided to go with the sapele for the back. I kept the birch for the shelves (they were milled and sanded), which adds contrast.
On Friday I got the final coat of varnish sprayed on the 1st set of shelves shelves. I’m still learning how to spray, so it took a little more spraying/sanding than I hope in the future. But the spray finish is great – it dries to sand/recoat in 30 minutes, cleanup is a breeze, and it builds up a finish very quickly. The only concern I had was the “cool” color that water based varnishes typically have (compared to the warmer color from a oil based finish). I solved that by using a fist coat of dewaxed shellac. The shellac also solves the problem of raising the grain when using a water finish. I was able to hang the shelves on Friday afternoon (which would never happened if I had used an oil based wiping varnish).
On Saturday I finished the construction of the second back. Sapele is much easier to use than the birch. The birch is hard (difficult to scrape and use hand tools on). The sapele is a dream to work with. This time (with a new router bit), I built the proper jig for routing the dadoes – they turned out much better than on the first set of shelves.
Today I sprayed a final (rather almost final) coat on the second set of shelves. I found a run in the finish, so I may have to sand and recoat the top section again tomorrow. I spent the afternoon with friends driving to New Bedford, MA for a visit to the New England Demolition and Salvage store.
My next project is to finish the exterior storm window for Ben’s bedroom. I have most of the material milled and ordered a router bit to cut the rabbets for the storm windows/screens. I plan on assembling the storm window with pocket hole screws – it will be painted – so it should go together very quickly. Just in time for the really cold weather. After that, I am planning a desk for the study (a simple table out of red oak – I don’t think I’ll put in drawers). I was going to try to draw the desk in SketchUp tonight, but it is getting late and I decided to write instead.