Dining Table Bench – First Coat of Oil

Earlier this week I finally got a coat of oil on the bench and left it to cure.  I wish I had remembered Jack Plane’s post about adding lamp black to oil as the grain needs a bit more color.  Hopefully I’ll wet sand another coat of oil later this week.

In line with darkening the finish up a bit I did some more test work on the sample piece. I mixed up some warm and burnt Cyprus umber pigment with some water and wiped it on after taping off some areas (The golden strip has some spray shellac on it).


Based on this, I think I will mix up some oil with black epoxy colorant (which I have from a chair repair) and some the the same pigments and try to wet sand it into the test board.  I was hoping to shoot shellac this weekend but the summer fog has arrived so it will depend on the weather.

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Dining Table Bench – Stain

Last night I finally applied the stain to the bench.  Once the wet wood had dried over night I lightly sanded the top to lower the grain.  I left eye base with its raised grain as the base wood test pieces did not take stain as well as the top.  The end grain of the top was sanded down smooth.

Still Damp
Mostly Dry

All in all it looks pretty good.  This morning I noticed a few darker areas on the base that will need some smoothing and the grain needs some more highlighting.  I’m going to add a pigment wash to the test piece tonight and see how that looks.

Stain testing

After getting back from Hawaii work has been crazy but it did sand down the cutoff test peice to remove the old finish and finished with a hand block at 220.  I wetter down 2/3rds and left it to dry.


After drying I lightly sanded the right 3rd, stired it up, and brushed on a coat of stain, making sure to work it into the grain.  After wiping away the stain the results were clear.  I had read years ago that raising the grain with water caused pigment stains to work better and the results are pretty clear.  Time to let it fray and add a seal coat of linseed oil.

My earlier work

This past week we have been at my parents house introducing them to their new grandchild.  While reading bedtime stories to my oldest ( who was sleeping in my old room) I realized the bookrack on the bedside table was a project from 8th grade shop class.  

This basic slanted book rack was one of the shop projects everyone at Kainalu Intermediate School completed and it was the only non-plywood project (I think it’s mango).  It’s basically my first project using hardwood.


My finishing skill are only marginally improved.

Bench – ready for finishing

One the base had dried for 24 hours it was time to fit the top.  I cross cut it using a clamped block and a large backsaw, leaving 3.5 inches of overhang on each side.

Since this was the last time for adjustments, everything was carried up stairs to make sure it would fit under the table and in the entry way (it’s final home once the dining chairs are complete).


Luckily I had left the top a bit thick because there was some tear out that I removed with the planer.  Then the top received a chamfer on all edges (probably around an 18th of and inch) and the top of the base was planted down flat.  

At this point I realized that the pocket hole jig and my drill were not going to work because the bottom cross memeber was in just the wrong place.  After quite a bit of fooling around I ended up using my small brace for held of the depth and then would swap back to my drill for the final depth. 

I attached the top, cut the legs to final length as then removed any imbalance with my Shinto saw rasp.  Then I used a low angle block plane to apply a roundish chamfer to the bottom of each leg.  When I remove the top for finishing I will elongate the holes to allow for wood movement.

Bench in the white

Speaking of finishing, like many woodworkers I dread this part.  When I started the project I found an ash table on Pegs & Tails which I wanted to duplicate and Jack Plane was kind enough to give me some direction.  After a lot of experimenting I have a stain that looks close.  It’s a mixture of three TransTint colors plus some vandyke crystals and some Cyprus Umber Warm (which I think is the same as turkey umber) pigment.  I’m out of blo but a coat of raw linseed looks pretty good.

dye no oil. going with middle stripe

I’ve sprayed the bench with some water to raise the grain and identify any stray glue.  Once it dries I will sand with 320 in preparation for the dye.

Bench Cross Member

Now that each end of the bench is assembled it’s time to get the final pieces ready.  The long rails needed a bit of adjustment to fit into their mortises and the cross member was trimmed to close to final size.  Then the parts were taken upstairs and dry assembled to make sure the bench would actually fit between the table legs (better safe than sorry).

Now it was finally time to shape the cross member.  First I applied a 1/2 inch wife wide and 1/8th inch deep rabbit on each side (I realize it should have been 5/8th but it worked out).  It was nice to use my Stanley 45 plane, it’s been sitting on the sidelines for too long.

Then it was time to round over the corner and since I do t have a set of hollows and rounds it was the 45 to the rescue again.  Yup, I have a set of the hollow and round attachments for the 45 (including the stair tread one).  The 6h was just the right size.


It’s not perfect but that’s kind of the point 🙂