Thursday, August 29, 2013

Small Gift Boxes continued-Finishing-The Cedar of Lebanon & Pine wood box

Good Morning Everyone,

I've given all the boxes one last look and I'm happy with the shapes so the turning part of this project is concluded. Time to work on finishing them up. Since the cedar of Lebanon box is going to be stained, we'll do this one first.

All of the boxes require finish sanding and since these woods (with the exception of the ash wood lid from yesterday) are soft woods, sanding them won't take a great deal of time. I began sanding the cedar box with 120 grit sandpaper and ended with 600 grit. This extra fine sanding paper is really something I find that is really needed with softer woods as they tend to develop a very fine fuzz on the surface that can obscure the grain patterns in the wood. 600 grit paper will shave that away. If you have some 0000 steel wool, that will work as well and works very well with harder woods. Just be sure you don't press too hard while the wood is spinning or you will begin to cut into the wood.

Here is the cedar box after sanding:

Now yesterday I mentioned that I had decided to stain the box and I'm going to do this now. The first step for this is to seal the wood. Soft woods really need this step and I've done it for harder woods as well. Just using a stain on unsealed wood can result in a very blotchy or overly dark result as the density of wood fibers can vary quite a bit, especially in pine. Taking this step reduces that. I'm using Minwax products today as I've used them before and their results are quite predictable (this isn't an endorsement).

 So I placed the box back on the lathe and turned the speed down. I used gloves, a small foam brush to get inside of the box with, and laid a paper towel over the lathe bed. No point in mucking up my lathe!

Here are both the box and the lid after the application of the sealer:

I let the sealer soak in for about 30 minutes and then came back to take a look and to do the next step. The color of the box is really quite nice at this point and so is the lid. So I'm going to give both pieces a thin coat of Minwax stain in natural to keep the color of both intact:

These are both pieces after staining and waiting about 5 minutes and then wiping the surface off. I like the colors. I think this is a much more interesting color combination that just leaving it natural:

I'm going to leave this until later this afternoon and we'll come back and see what it looks like then. When the stain is dry I'm going to use Minwax polyurethane on it to finish it.

A note about the stain color: golds in the form of varnishes, oils, and stains, can really enhance the color  and grain of wood. The change in the depth of the wood and the overall appearance of the piece can at times be breathtaking. The color of the stain I used today is a natural finish which is just about the color of honey. I probably will use this on the hackberry box and all of the other pieces later today.


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