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 – 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.

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.

The Next (Oficial) Project – Dining Table Bench

In my mind, the next project is the back stool from the Anarchists Design Book but SWMBO is concerned (rightly so) that the planned dinning chairs may take a while.  As a result she has requested that the next project be a bench for the dining table. So while I will be sneaking in work on the back stool, the official next project is a bench.

Because the plan is to build a set of 6 chairs the bench will eventually need a new home so it will be sized to act as a bench near the front door, under the coat rack.  This means the bench seat needs to be fairly narrow (less than 12 inches) and no longer than 4’10”.  After doing some searches on 1stdibs.com (which has become one of my favorite inspiration sources) I found this pair of french oak benches  which fit the bill.  The stated width is 10.5 inches, the style will go well with the contemporary shaker dinning table and the overall feel of the house.  Most importantly, we both like the look.

Dimensions/proportions took a bit of finagling.  I printed out the end on image and laid out the sizing using the stated dimensions of the piece.  I assumed a 1.25 inch thick two inch wide legs and a 1.5 inch wide stretcher/foot rail but the totals would not work out.  Then I realized the height of the base was equal to 13 times the thickness of the stretcher/foot rail; 18 (estimated base height) divided by 13 resulted in a rail thickness of 1.3846 inches which was an odd dimension for what was certainly a factory produced piece.  Then I realized I was being an Imperialist (well American Standard) fool and the dimension was likely 1.37795 inches, otherwise known as 3.5 cm.  With that everything fell into place.


Making some assumptions regarding human error (a common requirement in the data analysis work) I think the piece is 49 cm tall and 65.5 cm wide.  I’ll need make a sketch-up model to finalize the ratio and convert to inches.

The goal is to make this an inexpensive project and given its intended uses, I decided to look at inexpensive hard woods known for being hard (you know what I mean).  The inspiration piece is made of that wonderful fine grained french oak so red oak would not look right.  When I purchased the wood for my back stool I had purchased some 8/4 ash, mostly because it is the cheaper than red oak (I assume this is due to the ash die off happening in the USA right now) and there was a piece with straight looking grain.  Ash has tight grain and takes stain well, plus I have so stock perfectly suited to making the legs.  The plan is to build the base out of ash and decide on the seat when I find the right material.