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Hand Made Furniture

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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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Tree to Table

I'm making a table from a tree. 

A few months ago, we needed to have a red oak tree removed from our yard, as it had died suddenly. Rather than let all of that wood go to waste, I decided it was the perfect time to invest in an Alaskan Mill - a small, portable saw mill using a chain-saw. The mill is shown in the banner image. I've started a photo journal to track my progress. It's going to take a few years, as the wood will need to air dry one year for every inch of thickness. I'll probably give it three years. 

I'm using a 24" Echo chainsaw with a 24" Granberg Model G776 mill. All in, the mill and the saw together cost me about $700. Just a quick piece of advice for those interested in giving this a shot - if you can't afford a really powerful chain saw, don't get a low-power, inexpensive saw and expect it to work for this application. If you are interested in learning about how to do this, don't hesitate to contact me.

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