Finishing to Enhance Your Projects
Building a nice project is a lot of fun. But once the “construction” is done, you need to apply the finish which can greatly enhance the beauty of the project. Finishing frightens a lot of woodworkers and holds them back from trying a new challenge. It shouldn’t.
We are currently in the middle of a two-meeting program on finishing; what to use, when to use it, and how to use it. We heard a lot of information at our first meeting in January and are looking forward to seeing some illustrations and examples in the February meeting session.
A lot of what I have picked up about finishing since joining the Guild came from watching demonstrations and reading, but most important has been talking to other members about how they did something. And with that as a starter, I went home and did some practicing on how to apply finishes. Trying something and seeing a result is a fun experience and the best way to learn. I messed up many practice boards over time, but I gained a lot of knowledge about what works in my shop.
For me, finishes are most often applied with a brush or a pad (a small ball of cloth). I have done a little spraying, but I do that outside which introduces another set of variables to consider. In my world, for my applications, I learned…
- Polyurethane flows better if I first add about 15% of a solvent, as do many types of finishes (even paint), before brushing on. Doing that cuts down on those brush lines that show when you lay on a thick material that doesn’t have the fluidity to level out. I make it runny, but you must be careful to spread it out and avoid drips.
- No matter how many brush lines you create along the way, you can sand the finish flat to create a smooth finish that is satin or high gloss in appearance. Yes, it is work but the results are worth it.
- Several finishes can be laid on with a pad by dampening the pad with a solvent and then dipping it in a finish. You just wipe and move on without backtracking over your work beyond a slight overlap.
- Once you put down a finish stroke(s), leave it be and move on. After it dries you will have an opportunity to buff away issues and add more coats. With many finishes, trying to fix an issue while the finish is drying will result in an even bigger issue.
- Too many layers of finish are not as effective as a few smooth ones which better highlight the look of the wood.
- Natural color finishes allow you to see the grain of the wood which is part of the beauty I like. If I want to color the wood, I will probably use a dye as it does not cover up the grain which I like to see. If the underlying wood has no character, I might use a stain which lays on top of the wood.
- Shellac has become my favorite finish and is easy to use. I have practiced enough to figure out sort of how to do French Polishing and I like to do that on top surfaces. But I have also had great success in brushing on several coats and lightly sanding for a great finish. You can wipe it on with a pad that has been dampened with alcohol to give you a smooth surface with no brush lines. Use a small brush to get into the corners. A coat dries to the touch in minutes and you can lay down another coat right on top of that. You can do that for two or three coats before you need to let it rest an hour or so. Then buff lightly with sandpaper and repeat. More coats will yield more sheen up to a point. After your finish has had time to cure, it is easy to flatten with sandpaper and/or steel wool to create a smooth finish. Add some paste wax and you’ll have a beautiful surface. You can change the color by tinting the shellac with something like TransTint (a few drops will make a quick color change). Shellac flakes are easy to mix up and they come in several colors such as blonde, amber, orange, and more. It does darken some over time, but I like that aging feature.
For any of the finishes that you hear about at these meetings, go home and do some testing of your own. Figure out what works best for you and it will greatly enhance your woodworking experience.
I look forward to seeing you at a meeting soon.
We had record attendance at the January Guild meeting with 78 attendees in the room plus 2 presenters. We used all of our chairs. This easily shattered our recent attendance records.
If you are a member and did not attend, or would like a refresher, you can watch the entire meeting by clicking on Connect > Meeting Summaries. You will also see more photos and a number of supporting documents from the meeting.
A very educational and informative meeting was led by Marion Smith and John Ogilvie regarding their experiences in finishing their woodworking projects, including several examples of their projects. Click a photo to open up a viewer.
Part 2 of “Finishing Woodworking Projects”
In the February meeting, Marion Smith and John Ogilvie will cover various methods of applying finishing products, including brushing, wiping, spraying, all the way to HVLP spraying.
Marion and John are long time woodworkers known widely for their finishing expertise and high quality woodworking projects.
Be sure to arrive early in order to use your Guild membership to receive discounted prices as you shop prior to the start of the meetings. Please consider bringing a friend, neighbor or colleague as your guest!
Favorite Power and Hand Tools with Various Presenters
Octagonal Box Construction with Ronnie Young
May 30th and 31st
Spring Symposium with Matt Kinney
TOOLS FOR SALE – GREAT BUYS ON TRADING POST
Looking for some great tool buys for all of your shop needs? Check out the Trading Post on the main menu or under Forums on our website! There are some great tool buys including some full shop liquidations. Big tools and small tools alike are available at great prices.
Also, check out the Off-Topic Forum for service offerings.
To get there, go to WWGofGA.com and under menus, select Connect > Forums. You will be asked to log in as a member if you haven’t already.
Let us see your projects, jigs, tools on Instagram
- Take a picture with your phone.
- Display the image on your phone and select Mail on iPhones or the Share button on Android phones.
- Enter the email address firstname.lastname@example.org in the “To:” field.
- In the text field area where the image shows, write a few words to describe the image. Include your name in the description if you want to be credited or leave the name out if you want to be anonymous. The Instagram post will always show as coming from the Woodworkers Guild of Georgia.
- Press “Send”. When prompted to select the image size, select “Actual”, which will give us the best resolution.
That’s it, and you can do it in less than a minute!
You can view these images on your desktop or laptop computer by clicking on the Instagram icon at the top right of our Guild homepage, then click any image to see a description of it.
Download the Instagram app on your phone or tablet and follow us by searching for WoodworkersGuildofGeorgia. Be sure to choose the one with our logo.
Post your photo to the Guild website
We need a photo of you from the shoulders up on your profile page. This can be done from your phone or your computer.
Go to Members Only > Member Profile in the top left of the home page.
You will be asked to log in if you haven’t already.
Under the placeholder for your photo click on “Upload”
Follow the prompts to find your photo on your computer or phone (you will have to have already taken your photo in order to see it). You can even take a selfie of yourself if you’re using your phone.
Select the photo and it will automatically upload. When complete you will see the photo in your profile. You’re done. Yay!
TIP: After the upload, if your photo is upside down or rotated in your profile, simple open the photo before uploading on your computer, make sure the photo is displaying properly (head is up), and save the photo. This trick also works with most recent mobile phones. Resaving the photo will “fix” the problem. Then upload THAT photo and you should be all set.
Show ‘N Tell
A great Show ‘N Tell was held during the January meeting. Charlie Levan showed three turnings, Andy Wilkerson showed four boxes he made using various woods, Gary Fader made a “Guitar” band saw box and Ken Gregg made a small stool.
The next Show ‘N Tell will be during our February 13th meeting. Bring your latest projects to share with Guild members.
“Better Homes & Gardens Wood Magazine”
The following is taken from page 10 of the March 2020 issue of the Wood Magazine. Congratulations to Gary Fader. Several years ago, Gary showed a similar Zigzag box at the Holiday party.
International Woodworking Fair, August 25-28, 2020
Get ready: Registration for North America’s largest woodworking event opens January 7.
Register for the woodworking industry’s must-attend show. You’ll find out all that’s new and next in manufacturing technology, innovation, product design, learning and networking.
IWF Atlanta. Where the woodworking business does business.SM
By Milton Miller
I had the opportunity to participate in the last Marquetry Workshop taught by Jane Burke at Woodcraft. Jane is relocating to Idaho and will continue to teach and write about Marquetry. There were 8 students enrolled in the class; however, after the first break one student decided this was not for them and they left.
We were provided with all the needed tools for the workshop:
Two knife blades—pointed and wedged
4” x 4” plywood block for mounting work.
Small glue brush
12 “ metal ruler that needs to be sharpen on one edge similar to a cabinet scraper to cause it the grab the veneer while cutting with knife.
The process is basically a four step one consisting of SCORE—CUT—SCORE—CUT.
- Score/Pattern Transfer
- Cut window frame from pattern
- Score element inside window frame
- Cut out element
After the veneer project is completed it is mounted on a backing sheet of plywood, sealed, finished and framed.
There are at least 3 techniques used in Marquetry, the other two require the use of power and/or hand tools.
My motivation for learning this technique was to be able to use Marquetry on the top of some of the 50 bandsaw boxes I make each year.
Working Wood in the 18th Century
By Brent Richardson
The 22nd annual conference convened in Williamsburg on January 16-19, 2020. The theme for this year’s conference was “Down the Great Wagon Road: Furnishing the Southern Backcountry”. I have been fortunate to attend 11 of the 22 conferences which began back in 1998. The conference was sponsored by the Society of American Period Furniture Makers (SAPFM) and the Early American Industries Association (EAIA). This year’s conference began with a presentation by Dr. Daniel Ackermann, curator of collections, Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts, in Winston-Salem, NC. His presentation titled “Backcountry, not Backwards, Working Wood in the Inland South” provided significant background showing the geographic and economic influences of life in the 18th century away from the major urban centers on the coast. He also strongly supported that backcountry furniture was quite advanced and represented the rapidly growing tastes and designs of American not British furniture.
There were three main presentations which were visited at different points over the 3 full days. One involved three craftsmen from the Anthony Hay Shop of Colonial Williamsburg building a Shenandoah Valley High Chest of Drawers (see below). They focused on actual construction demonstrations of the lower section, upper section and the pediment with curved crown molding. The second presentation was by Elia Bizzarri, chairmaker from Hillsborough, NC who duplicated a Fancy Writing-Arm Chair (see below). He and his helper humorously demonstrated the building process from a log to a finished chair in which he sat on stage. The third major presentation was by Steve Latta, cabinetmaker and educator, Thaddeus Stevens College, Lancaster, PA. Steve focused on the ornamentation of Major Smith’s Corner Cupboard (see below) demonstrating the process for line inlay, making laid-up bandings and advanced veneering techniques.
Additional presentations were made regarding long rifles from the Great Wagon Road, weaving rush seats for chairs, two post and rung chairs made by joiners and food safes with punched tin panels. Demonstrations of these techniques gave the audience a greater understanding of furniture and life in the late 18th century.
This event has changed quite a bit over time and many of the presenters are relatively new to this setting but there is a great deal that can be learned and networking with other woodworkers interested in period furniture is always a good experience.
Using Hand Planes
Highland Woodworking Scholarship Program
By Michael Faughnan
The instructor, Jim Dillon, started the class with a discussion of the nomenclature of the parts of a Bailey-type hand plane. This included the operation and adjustment of the iron in the plane.
We disassembled our planes and Jim described his method of sharpening the iron. Jim provided insights into the different sharpening methods (Japanese water stone, Arkansas oil stone, and ceramic stone). After all attendees had sharpened their irons, we assembled our hand planes. Jim covered proper placement of the plane iron and cap iron as well as relative placement on the frog. We tuned our planes to provide desired depth of cut, and using the lateral adjustment to allow an even cut left to right. We learned about backlash and the importance of monitoring the depth of cut adjustment to prevent it from occurring.
By and large, Jim did a very good job. His presentation style and his experience provided an enjoyable learning session. I would recommend this specific course as well as Jim as an instructor to anyone. Well worth the time and the commute.
Patrick Bray, Suwanee, GA
Les Moore, Smyrna, GA
Chelsea Townsend, East Point, GA
Jeff Withhart, Woodstock, GA
Rockler: 6690 Roswell Road / Sandy Springs and 425 Ernest Barrett Pkwy / Kennesaw
Feb 8: 11:00 Box Making Techniques
Feb 15: 11:00 Power Carving
Feb 22: 11:00 Corner Key Dowling Jig
Feb 29: 11:00 CNC Technology
Mar 7: 11:00 Spindle Turning
Mar 14: 11:00 Sorby ProEdge Sharpening
Woodcraft: 8560 Holcomb Bridge Road / Roswell
Feb 8: 1:00 Carving Caricature Faces In Wood
Feb 15: 1:00 New Product Demo – MicroJig ZEROPLAY 360 Sled Kit
Feb 22: 1:00 CNC In The Woodshop
Feb 29: 1:00 Outdoor Finishes
Mar 7: 1:00 Surface Prep – Sanding Options
Mar 14: 1:00 SawStop Table Saw
Support Your Woodworkers Guild of Georgia Patron Sponsors
CAG Lumber – CAG Lumber is known for the largest selection of live edge slabs and unusual woods from all over the world. They sell by the net, not the gross, so you take home what you pay for with no added on or hidden fees. They can saw your logs, kiln dry, resaw lumber, plane, straight line, and glue up ready. They are large enough to handle your needs and small enough to give one-on-one personal service. Guild members show membership card to receive 10% off most items, except items on clearance or discounted. Check out their web site http://www.caglumber.com/, they stock a lot more than is listed.
Fintech Abrasives – For over 25 years, Fintech Technologies has been fabricating belts, sheets, rolls and other abrasives. They also have extensive experience with the application of the newest materials in coated abrasives. Family owned and operated in Belding, MI, Fintech is a highly respected company that takes pride in its excellent product quality, unmatched customer service, and superior technical support. Guild members are welcome to order products, as well as contact them with questions. Call them at 1-888-223-8768. http://www.fintechabrasives.com/
Highland Woodworking – Providing fine woodworking tools and project supplies since 1978, Highland defines itself as a learning community. The store has attracted nationally known teachers and authors including Tage Frid, Sam Maloof, Michael Dunbar, Rude Osolnik, Toshio Odate, Dale Nish, Mark Duginske and many others in Highland’s ongoing program of seminars and workshops. They have some great woodworking class opportunities coming up with classes and seminars every week that include basic sharpening techniques, turning, finishing, project builds, and much more! Visit their website to see their class schedule. Their catalog of fine woodworking tools and workshops is available online, or visit their fully-stocked store at 1045 N. Highland Avenue in Atlanta, 30306. 404-872-4466. http://www.highlandwoodworking.com/
Peach State Lumber Products – They are dealers of high grade/cabinet quality hardwoods, plywood, softwood, veneer and also carry a full line of cabinet grade plywood and turning blocks. They welcome small quantity orders and have a retail sales area open to the public. They also carry Hettich brand hinges and drawer slides and have hardware screws and pocket hole screws. They also have live edge slabs in multiple species, great for bar tops, mantels, etc. Show your Guild membership card to receive their 500 b.f. price on any qualifying purchase. Located at 4000 Moon Station Road, Kennesaw, 30144. 770-428-3622. http://www.peachstatelumber.com/
Peachtree Woodworking Supply – Peachtree is a producer and retailer of high quality woodworking products with a goal of providing the woodworker with the hard to find tools and accessories. They stock over 6,000 different woodworking items. Those items include a wide selection of abrasives, books, DVD’s, clamps, router bits, glue, t-track, dust collection, and much more. Peachtree also carries the major brands. The store is located at 6684 Jimmy Carter Blvd., Suite 100, Norcross, GA 30071, 770-458-5539. Store Hours: Mon – Fri 9 am.- 5 p.m., Sat 9 am – 3 pm. http://www.ptreeusa.com/
Redmond Machinery – Specializes in new and used woodworking and metal working machinery in a 25,000 square foot showroom. They stock machinery, accessories, and supplies from top-name manufacturers. Bargain hunters, check out their large inventory of used and scratch and dent machinery and accessories. They are a source for older American made Powermatic and Delta parts. Guild members are invited to stop by and visit. They are located at 58 Weldon Rd., Palmetto, GA 30268, 770-683-7297 or 800-428-9898. http://www.redmondmachinery.com/
Rockler Woodworking and Hardware – (Two Locations) – Rockler began as a mail order woodworking supply company and today the retail chain stretches across the United States. Their magazine, Woodworker’s Journal, is dedicated to offering plans, techniques, product reviews and tips to woodworkers. Their goal is to be your go-to woodworking resource. Please mention you are a Guild members BEFORE your purchase to receive 10% OFF everyday (normal exclusions apply). You are invited to visit them at 6690 Roswell Road in Sandy Springs 404-460-1000, OR 425 Ernest W. Barrett Pkwy in Kennesaw 678-383-0087. Hours are Monday-Friday 9 am to 7 pm, Saturday 9 am to 6 pm, and Sunday 11 am to 4 pm. On Saturdays they have free demos. http://www.rockler.com/retail/stores/ga
Suwanee Lumber Company – Is a specialty hardwood supplier for custom cabinet and furniture makers as well as the general public. Suwanee features hardwood lumber with matching plywood and other materials to make every project a work of art. Please show your Guild membership card when shopping to receive Level 4 pricing (1,000 b.f. pricing). Their location is 540 Satellite Blvd. in Suwanee, GA 30024. 770-945-2102. http://www.suwaneelumber.com/
Woodcraft – (Two Locations) – Has been a woodworker’s favorite source for quality hand and power tools, equipment and supplies (including wood). Cabinet makers, wood turners, carvers and woodworkers in general rely on their friendly, experienced staff that is always available to help with the selection of tools and supplies as well as provide helpful advice on individual projects. They have fully equipped classroom facilities. Guild members receive 10% OFF qualifying purchases during the monthly Guild meeting or Symposiums at the Alpharetta store. Stop by their store at 8560 Holcomb Bridge Road in Alpharetta, GA 30022, 770-587-3372 OR their west side Store at 351 Thornton Road in Lithia Springs. GA 30122, 770-485-5636. http://www.woodcraft.com/stores/atlanta
Guild Mailing Address
Any mail communications with the Guild should be addressed to the following:
Woodworkers Guild of Georgia
P.O. Box 921424
Norcross, GA 30010
The Guild Board of Directors
John Champion President 404-307-0817
David Hohman Vice-President, Secretary 770-280-1490
Gary Fader Immediate Past President 770-977-7271
Mark Haugland Treasurer 678-472-9117
Don Bolen Website Support 678-296-9074
Gary Fjeld Newsletter 404‐234‐5616
Bob Forsthoffer Mentoring 678-936-7588
John Jones Program Committee Chairman 678-576‐7263
Ken Kraft Membership 262-894-1725
Michael Lawsky Communications 770-329-6548
Tom Melcher Website-Membee, Patron Sponsors, AV 770-851-1098
Jim Milam Symposium, Tool Sales 404-255-2314
Roger Moister Librarian 404-355-5033
Nuane Neely Charitable Projects 770-922-1933
Dan O’Shea At-Large 404-314-4593
Brent Richardson Scholarships 704‐995‐4920
Steven Sheppard Website Technical Support 770-316-7160
Jim Wright Audio Visual 404-644-9156