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.

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.

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 🙂

Dining Table bench – mortices 

The massive dirt moving project that is my back yard has been taking much of my  time recently and SWMBO banned morticing while our son is asleep (apparently the hammering was waking him up) so progress has been slow.  

I have cut the mortices in the legs where the skirt attaches.  I used my #45 to plow a shallow groove to guide my mortice chisel and chopped 1/2 inch mortices.  Once they were chopped the #45 and a router plane set the groove to a consistent depth to help keep the rail flat.  The outer side wall 3/8 inch wide which may be a mistake but it allowed for a longer tenon though  I followed the “half the rail” rule for sizing the tenon.


I’m slightly behind where I should have been because on Saturday I had almost finished the first tenon and was just making the final cut when I inadvertently marked the wrong side of the cut and ruined it.  Luckily I had not trimmed side rail to final length so I was able to salvage the part (though the tenons are slightly shorter than planned).