Monday, September 29, 2008

Finishing the Raised Panels

The 12 raised panels for the pulpit have been flattened, thicknessed, glued up, cut to size, and shaped. Its time to put the finish on them so they won't show any unstained areas when the wood shrinks. And given that it was the middle of September when I started this, you just know that they'll shrink come January & February.

My finishing schedule had been established previously. To refresh your memory, here it is again:

  1. Sand everything smooth to 180 grit.
  2. Apply Minwax Golden Oak stain.
  3. Let stain stand for 5 minutes.
  4. Wipe off excess stain.
  5. Apply one coat of Zinser Seal Coat shellac, straight from the can.
  6. Apply one coat of gloss water based Minwax Polycrilic & let dry.
  7. Sand with 220 grit, just trying to lower the high spots & scuff up the surface.
  8. Apply a second coat of gloss Polycrilic & let dry.
  9. Sand with 320 grit.
  10. Apply a third coat of gloss Polycrilic & let dry.
  11. Sand with 400 grit.
  12. Apply one coat of semi-gloss water based Minwax Polycrilic.

When I was finishing the corner cabinet, I had used a package of Painter's Pyramids that I got for Christmas to keep the shelves & doors up off whatever I kept that item on & so I could do both faces & all sides at one time. The only problem was that I didn't have enough of them. So I bought another three packages before I began this project. I still don't have enough for this project, but I got by.

I had 12 panels to finish. I barely had the space to lay all of them out, never mind enough Painter's Pyramids. I had to place only 3 pyramids under some of the panels in order to do all 12 panels. It worked, but it's not quite as stable as working with 4 pyramids.

I managed to get the stain, the shellac, and the first two coats of gloss & the in between sanding done working in the evenings after work. And then I took Friday off from work to get a number of things done.

So I moved all of the boards into my shed so I could get to the list of things I needed to get done. This list included things like cutting all of the notches in the shelves I remade (item #1), taking each box apart in turn, sanding all parts, fixing up a couple of minor mistakes, then assembling & gluing up the boxes.

I knew I wasn't going to get all of the items on the list done, but I ended up spending the entire day working on item #1 alone. And this time, I got all of the notches right. Though I did have a scare after making the first cut.

What happened was I carefully measured the right rear post on the left wing using my combo square and I transferred that measurement to all of my blanks, at both the right & left corners. Then I raised the blade on my table saw to the depth of the post, clamped the first shelf to a tall auxiliary fence attached to my saw's stock miter gauge, and made the first cut on the left corner of the shelf. Then I took the shelf to the left wing & held it up to the posts. And found that the cut was in the wrong place -- it was too far to the right.

Well, at this point, I thought I'd ruined another shelf blank, started swearing, and broke for lunch. While eating, I recalled that the notches on left & right weren't going to have the same dimensions because I made the rails 7/8" thick instead of 3/4" thick. So when I got back into the garage, I took that blank to the right wing & sure enough the cut was in the right place.

At that point, I ignored any markings & just used my combo square. What I did was I set the square to the dimension I needed by holding it to the post. Then I placed the square against the blank & slid it until the blade touched the edge of the auxiliary fence. I applied a spring clamp & made a pass. Then I used the "nibbling" technique to remove the rest of the notch. This way I only had to use 2 height settings, one for the notches in the front & one for the ones in the back.

Anyway, here's what 8 of the panels look like now that they're done. All of the finish is applied & they're just waiting to be put into the boxes.

Next: Some Assembly Is Required

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