A Perfect Finish
by Richard G. Russell

Be sure to read: About This Site

This is an excerpt from the main article.   You are encouraged to take the time to read the whole story.

This is the main procedure...

This is a simple finish; All of these steps are intended to be complimentary.   The earlier steps (in the main story) provide a foundation for the next steps.   Here is a summary of the recipe and the details follow in subsequent sections:

Step 1:   Machine the wood flat and smooth to begin with -
plane it, joint it, and glue it up.

Step 2:
  • Sand to 320 on hardwoods
  • 220 on pine and other soft woods
  • Go easy, don't be too aggressive
  • Use a good random orbital sander.
  • If it is variable speed,
  • slow it down to 1/2 at 220 and
  • use the lowest speed on 320.

    Step 3:   Raise the grain and knock it down again.
  • I like to use thin quarter pound cut shellac.
  • The alcohol will raise the grain.
  • I prefer alcohol over water as alcohol dries faster.
  • Knock the grain back down with 320 grit and the random orbital set at its lowest speed.
  • Let it dry.
  • Do this one more time.
  • If you are staining, you may want to use plain alcohol (without any shellac ) as even 1/4lb cut shellac will partially seal the wood.

    Step 4:   Brush on a thin coat of one pound cut of orange shellac.
  • Let it dry,
  • sand again lightly with 320 grit using the random orbital on its lowest speed.
  • This coat of shellac acts as a sanding sealer.
  • This seals the pores of the wood and lets the surface be sanded very flat.
  • If you don't want to use orange shellac , you can use de-waxed shellac or a special purpose sanding sealer (Target Coatings makes a fine sanding sealer).

  • Step 5:
  • Brush on a second thin coat of one pound cut orange shellac.
  • Use the same shellac as used in step 4...
    Waxed or De-waxed...
  • Let it dry.
  • Hand sand lightly with 320.
  • I really like the richness of color that the shellac adds to the finish.   On woods like cherry and ash the orange shellac adds a rich, warm iridescent quality to the wood.
  • Repeat this step to taste.

  • Step 6:
  • Brush on a thin coat of polyurethane.
  • Let it dry.
  • Knock down any dust bumps with a green 3M pad.
  • Smooth the surface with #1 then #000 steel wool .
  • Use a tack rag to get all the dust and steel wool bits off the surface.
  • Repeat this step two or three times.

  • Step 7:
  • Using 1500 or 2000 grit "black" sand paper and a flat sanding block, gently wet sand the polyurethane.

  • That's it!   The resulting finish is very thin, smooth and durable.  
    The next few sections provide the details for each step.

    Richard, thank you for giving us permission to do this,
    Joe Lyddon

    This site is maintained by:
    Good-Lyddon Data Systems

    Copyright © 2004-2010 Joe Lyddon, WoodWorkStuff.net

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