Evening Steam

Well everything got clamped down and I didn’t hear any pops or cracks so maybe this will be the first successful bend of the Tasmanian Bluegum.  Find out on Friday.

While I waited for the steamer to heat up I I stacked the seat blanks that have been drying for the past year.  One of then had a split so I decided to froe it apart.  I can attest that once it drys, the interlocking grain is tough to split.

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A bit of chair progress

It’s been pretty light on woodworking recently as time and energy have been in short supply.  That said, last weekend I made a bit of progress on the stick chairs including the first successful crest rail bend.

After looking at the bending form I decided to smooth out the curve a bit and used the band-saw and spindle sander to make the adjustment. After the sander, it was finally time to use the compass plane I purchased years ago (the rear handle broke off first time I tried to use it, unscrupulous dealer hid a JB Weld repair) and it smoothed out the high spots quite well.


While cleaning the garage I found a piece of ash left over from the bench build and decided to use it as a test bend.  It worked perfectly.  Hopfully I can get a successful bend in eucalyptus soon.

Ipe Fence

I had big plans; my wife and kids were going to be out of the house for the month of august and I was going to knock out a few projects around the house.  Unfortunately, shortly before 4th of July weekend I got sick and it took 2 months to figure out what it was (I’m 98% back to normal).  On the plus side I lost a bunch of weight that needed loosing but on the downside very little got done.

Sunday I finally got started on one of those projects.  When we moved into our house I had the old retaining walls inspected and was told they had decades of life left so rather than replace them we planned to hide them: the right one with a bamboo hedge and the left with a decorative fence.

I had originally planned on using cedar for the fence but 6 months ago I found some Ipe (Brazilian Walnut) on Craig’s list and have been storing it in my garage ever since.  I had sunk the support posts a while back (the retaining wall has no footing) so I mitered 7 boards to length using my circular saw and pre-drilled screw holes (I’m using self taping stainless screws so predrilling was more about maintaining spacing) which was followed by walnut tinted deck oil on all sides.


The oil was taking forever to dry so they were installed with the oil still wet.  Once all of the pieces are installed and dry I will put on another coat on the face.

Another 4 or 5 boards will be added along with a return on the right side.

Dining Table Bench – Finish is On

As I had hoped the fog cleared and the sun came out on Sunday afternoon.  Both the top and bottom spent a bit of time in the sun while I set up the new HVLP sprayer that I picked up on clearance from highland woodworking.


I’ve got to say the sprayer was a great addition to my garage, it makes finishing so much quicker and easier.  The top received around 7 or 8 coats of amber shellac (thinned from the can to 2 lb) and the base received 1 coat of amber (to use up what was in the sprayer and 6 or 7 coats of garner shellac (in an attempt to darken in a bit more.  I sprayed the parts separately and then reassembled.

All in all I am happy with the results so thanks to Mr. Plane for his staining advice last year.  I will let the finish harden this week and then finish it up next weekend.  I’m going to burnish it a bit and apply paste wax (clear on the top and darker on the base).


This lumber was riddled with was I assume was Ash  Borer damage that managed to heal.  It makes for some interesting figure.

Dining Table Bench – Pigment Stain 

I fully intended to only make a few samples but the second I wiped off the pigment and BLO mixture I knew I had a winner.  After rubbing in the stain and letting it sit a few minutes I rubbed off most of the oil.  While the oil was sitting I wet sanded the top and a few wear areas on the base.  After letting the pieces sit for 15 minutes I buffed the surfaces to remove even more oil.

I am very happy with the outcome  and very much looking forward to shooting shellac.  I’ll let the oil cure until the weekend and hope that Sunday will be warm and sunny (and fog free).

The mix was 1 part pigment and 3 parts BLO; primarily Cyprus Umber Dark with a bit of the Cyprus Umber Warm and Natural Umber added in for variation.