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Saturday, May 12, 2018

Townsend Kneehole Bureau Finishing Process & Complete Step 13

Now that the construction is complete, it is time to think about how I want the finished piece to look.
I usually have an idea in my head about how it should look.  I often get these ideas from pictures in books or from museums.

The finish usually includes dye staining the color.   In this case, I am trying to make it look a reddish brown like old leather.

I cut a piece of wood from the mahogany that I used for a sample. The samples need to be finished just as I would the entire piece.

The routine that I used was to sand the mahogany to 180 grit.  Then I wiped the wood with warm water to raise the grain.  After it dried I sanded it with a gray scotch brite pad to knock the fuzzies off. Wiped off the dust and then sprayed a 1/2 pound cut of shellac on the whole piece.  If you cut Zinsser sanding sealer by 50% you get a 1/2 pound cut.

After drying I sanding again with a gray  scotch brite pad to get it smooth.

Now I applied a water based aniline dye from  Lockwood English Brown Mahogany and some Scarlet Red to the color that I want.  As the dye was drying, I used a wet cloth to lighten the areas that were too dark.  Particularly the end grain.

After the dye was dry I rubbed the surface with a white scotch brite pad.

Now it is ready for final finishing.  Mahogany is an open grain wood and often filled before applying finish.  I do not like the look of a filled finish so I use the shellac to partially fill the grain.

Below are samples of the color that I like with 2 coats of 2 lb. cut  shellac sprayed on.

I tried many mixes of colors before settling on the color mix that I like.

Following the procedure above, you can see that  I have applied the dye and sprayed the first coat of 2lb. cut of blonde shellac.

After each coat is sprayed, I sanded the surface with 400 grit sand paper.  This levels the surface and partially fill the grain.  I do not sand the carving, I use the gray scotch brite pad on the carving.

I repeat the process of spraying and sanding until I get the amount of grain filling that I want.  In this case I sprayed 5 coats of 2lb. cut.

Then it was ready for final finishing.

I wet sand with 600 grit sand paper with mineral spirits an then wipe off the residual.  I wet sand until the finish is very smooth.  I have to be very careful not to sand through to the color.

After the wet sanding I apply a good paste wax with 0000 steel wool and wax and then buff to the sheen that I am looking for.

It is a lot of work but this is the result. I finish does shine but there is a glow to the surface.  It does not look plastic.

This completes the project.  On to the next.

Here is today's video:

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Townsend Kneehole Bureau Hardware & Back Step 12

Starting to work on the hardware today,  Using the drawings for reference you can see that the pulls are centered on each drawer.  Except for the top drawer which has the two shells.

These are sand cast back plates or escutcheons which are not perfect.  The lobes on the pattern are not parallel. But I decided to make them parallel and the knobs on the posts of the bail pull with be slightly out of parallel.   I think this will look the best.

The holes on the back plate are square and match the square portion on the posts. I will either pound them in with a mallet after drilling a hole or I will have to pair the hole to make it square.

Positioning the escutcheons on the large drawer, they need to be just in the exact spot to clear the shells and at the correct height for the lock pin.

The hardware is all marked out on the drawers.  I think I will start on the lock first.

I drilled a small pilot hole to locate the pin for the lock.  Then using the lock as a template I marked out where I need to cut the mortise.

I have two mortises to cut, one deep one for the lock works and one shallow one for the lock plate.

I use my hand router plane to cut out the material for both mortises.

This is where the shallow mortise needs to be cut.

I have the lock installed now, and then I went to install the pulls I found a problem.   The holes for the pulls were where the lock plate is on the back of the drawer front.  I drill and taped the holes for the posts so it should be ok.

Trying to show where the posts would hit the lock on the right. On the left you can see a large hole.  That is for the counter sink of the posts which are only 3/4 of an inch long.  The drawer fronts are 1 1/8 inch thick.  So I counter sunk the holes for the nuts to thread on.

All mounted and looking pretty good.  Now I have to take them off for finishing.

Removed the hardware to get ready for finishing.

I also put in the drawer stops.  They are 1/16 inch thick pieces that are glued to the bottom of the drawer opening.  The are clear of the bottom of the drawer but stop when the drawer front hits them.
This is the correct way to install drawer stops.

Now I made the two small shelves that fit into 3/16 inch dados that I made a long time ago. They slide in from the back and are rounded over on the front edge.

I made the back out of three pieces of poplar and put lap siding rabbets on the edges so the pieces overlap. I will leave a gap between the pieces to allow for expansion. They will be nailed in place.

With that I am done with the construction of the bureau.  The only thing that remains is the finishing.

Here is today's video: 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Townsend Kneehole Bureau Carving Newport Shells Step 11

Now that the lower drawers are finished, it is time to work on the large center drawer.
This drawer has three shells on the front.  One shell is concave which is similar to the shell the we carved on the knee hole door. There are two convex shells to the left and right of the center shell.

I left the center drawer unassembled while I am carving the center concave shell.  I'll put it together after I carve the shell.

Here is the pattern for the center concave shell.  It is similar to the shell in the kneehole door but larger.  I blew up the shell pattern to full size and traced it on the drawer front.

Here I have partially carved the concave shell,  Since I have successfully carved the concave shell on the knee hole door, this shell does not seem that difficult.

I have the convex shell pattern from the drawings at full size.  I traced the shape on to a 1 inch thick mahogany blank with carbon paper and cut it out on the bandsaw.

I attached it to a pine board with screws from the back before cutting it out. This way the backer board was the same size as the shell blank.

I also have a plaster cast convex shell from Mary May for me to look at while I carve the convex shell. It is slightly different in size and the center is different but it is a good reference.

I cut a rebate in the front of shell a 1/4 inch deep.  This leaves 3/4 inch for the blocking that needs to match the blocking on the lower drawer fronts.

The plaster cast shows the blocking on the bottom of the shell carving.

I traced the curve of the drawer divider on to the bottom of the shell before mounting it to the board.
This gives me the shape to carve the shell blocking.

I made a cardboard template for the curve on the top of the shell, so I could measure when the round over was correct.

I use a spokeshave to round over the top of the shell using the cardboard template to measure the work.

I retraced the lines on to the shell which have been removed by the round over process.

Here is the result of the first shell that I carved.  It was not good enough to keep, so it made a good practise piece.  There where too many chip outs and the lobes of the shell where not flowing in the right way.  I had to start again.

This is the second shell that I carved. The lobes of the shell are about half done and the carving process is going much better.  So far so good.

Here I am working on an outward lobe of the shell.  I am rounding over the lobe with a 1/2 in #6, first working on the top part of the lobe.  This part is almost all end grain because of the round over.

 I work on each side of the lobe to round it over to the middle.

As I work back to the center, I have to watch the direction of the grain.  One side of the lobe I carve down toward the round over portion.

Depending on the grain, I carve the other side of the lobe upward from the round over. I repeat this until the lobe is completely rounded over

Now I am working on the inward ray right next to the rounded lobe we just did.  I am using a 1/2 #7 here to hollow out the ray. I will use smaller one as I work toward the center.  I also use #8 or #9 gouges to get the right depth in the ray.

Now all of the lobes and rays have been roughly carved.  It is time to flatten the very thin fin along the inward shell rays.

This is a very nervous process for me. These are very thin and can break off very easily which would ruin the shell.

You can see that they go from thin to flat but still at an angle to the round lobe next to it.

This completes the steps that are unique to the convex shell. The smaller inside of the shell uses smaller gouges but is straight forward carving.

I cleaned up the tool marks with files and a little 150 grit sand paper.  This shell is good enough to mount on the drawer front.  I will glue it on and put one screw in it from the back.

One more shell to carve and the drawer construction will be complete.

Next I will mount the hardware.

Here is today's video: