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Furniture making

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TCF Wood Finishes

I've created a pretty flexible finishing system I can adapt to achieve a variety of finishes. Here are a few examples. 


  • Sanding to 220
  • Color on the walnut, not on the ash
  • Shellac x 2 coats
  • 320 sanding
  • Wipe on poly
  • 320 sanding
  • Wipe on poly
  • 320 sanding
  • Steel wool and wax

  • Sanding to 220
  • Color 
  • Shellac x 2 coats
  • 320 sanding
  • Glaze (Adds depth and darkness to angles and corners)
  • Shellac
  • 320 sanding
  • Wipe on poly
  • 320 sanding
  • Wipe on poly
  • 320 sanding
  • Steel wool and wax

  • Sanding to 220
  • Gel Stain Color
  • Shellac x 2 coats
  • 320 sanding
  • Shellac (building depth)
  • 320 sanding
  • Wipe on poly
  • 320 sanding
  • Wipe on poly
  • 400, 600 sanding
  • Pumice and Rotten Stone applied with a felt block (rubbing out the finish).
  • Wax
  • Steel wool and wax

  • Sanding to 150
  • Light distressing
  • Wire brushing (brings out texture)
  • Sanding to 220
  • Color (Varathane Kona here)
  • Highlighting (sand edges here and there to remove color).
  • Shellac x 2
  • 320 sanding
  • Glaze (Adds depth and darkness to angles and corners).
  • Shellac
  • 320 sand
  • Wipe on poly
  • 320 sanding
  • Wipe on poly
  • 320 sanding
  • Steel wool and wax

  • Sanding to 150
  • Heavy distressing
  • Sanding to 220
  • Color 
  • Highlighting (sand edges here and there to remove color).
  • Shellac x 2
  • 320 sanding
  • Glaze (Adds depth and darkness to angles and corners).
  • Shellac
  • 320 sand
  • Wipe on poly
  • 320 sanding
  • Wipe on poly
  • 320 sanding
  • Steel wool and wax

Cherry is tough to finish. You can't apply color directly to the wood, or it will splotch. Cherry will darken with age, but here's how I add color to cherry if requested by my client.

  • Sanding to 220
  • Shellac x 2 (I'm sealing the wood thoroughly so that no color touches it).
  • 320 sanding
  • Shellac: Clear and Amber mixed in various ratios to achieve different tones.
  • 320 sand
  • If more color is desired, I often use universal tints in very small quantities in the shellac.  
  • Or I use wood stain on top of shellac (wipe on, wipe off). Seal with shellac if color step is used.
  • 320 sanding
  • Wipe on poly
  • 320 sanding
  • Steel wool and wax

This is a finish recipe I use on oak to achieve a very old, rugged appearance. It varies by the piece a bit. Sometimes I add glaze, or vary the amount of poly depending on the sheen.

  • Sanding to 150
  • Light distressing
  • Wire brushing (brings out texture)
  • I apply a solution of steel wool soaked in white vinegar over night, strained, then diluted in water to achieve various tones. Much experimentation and adding / subtracting of water is required to achieve a specif tone. The vinegar solution reacts to the tannins in the oak. The effect is almost instantaneous.
  • Allow piece to dry
  • Highlighting (sand edges here and there to remove color)
  • Wipe on poly
  • 320 sanding
  • Wipe on poly
  • 320 sanding
  • Steel wool and wax

  • Sanding to 150
  • Light distressing
  • Wire brushing (brings out texture)
  • Sanding to 220
  • Wipe on poly
  • 320 sanding
  • Wipe on poly
  • 320 sanding
  • Steel wool and wax

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I Got My Picture Taken

About a month ago, I was contacted by Manueal Montanez, a photographer here in Atlanta. She asked me if I'd like to be a part of her current project - photos of people doing unusual jobs. Like furniture making. I think she did a great job, considering the subject matter...

Have a look at her website, here:
http://www.manuelamontanez.com/

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Dining Table Design Guide

Part 1, Top Size & Shape

Dining tables come in many shapes and sizes. Use this guide to help determine the size and shape that works best for your needs. In part two of this guide, I'll explore the strengths and weaknesses of various table bases. Turner Custom Furniture can make any size or shape dining table. Please contact me here with any questions. View a gallery of a few dining tables I've built here.


Common Dining Table Shapes


What Size Table is Right for You?

In order to determine how many people you will be able to comfortably seat, use the following formulas:

  • Allow 24" of space per person for a tight fit, 30" for a comfortable fit. Kids take up less space, bodybuilders take up more.  
  • For rectangular tables divide two times the length of the table by 30, then add two places for the ends. Round up or down, for a tighter or more comfortable feel. 
    • Example: A 72" x 40" table. 72 x 2 = 144 / 30 = 4.8, round to 5, + 2 for the ends = 7. So perhaps 3 per side a bit tight, and 2 per end. Or 6 people total, very comfortable.
  • For round tables, you'll need to determine the circumference, then divide that by 30.
    • Example: A 72" round table. 72 x 3.14 (pi) = 226.08 / 30 = 7.536, or 8 people pretty comfortably.
  • For square tables, divide the length of each side by 30, then multiply by 4. Most square tables seat 4, as you end up with a lot of waste in a 60" square table, which seats 8. A comfortable square table is 40" square.

Here are some examples of comfortable dining tables, in various sizes, shown with place settings. More complex place settings will require more space.

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How to Cut Curved Moulding

Curved parts can be tricky to cut precisely. The basic principle here can be applied to any size moulding, and can also be done on the table saw with a sled and larger discs. The curved pieces are turned on the lathe in full circles. You'll get two pieces of corner moulding per full circle. Allow for several extra pieces, as you'll need them for set up and errors.

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How to Make a Profiled Scraper

As a custom furniture maker, I often encounter situations which necessitate the creation of specialized tools, like this profiled scraper. This tool is useful when you need to make a small amount of really unique, and can't find a router bit or shaper cutter to do the job. Feel free to contact me with questions here.

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