Procrastination as an Art Form

It has almost been a year since I attended the hall table course at Ideal Tools in Williamstown. And ever since then, the hall table has been sitting, incomplete, in my hall, being used as a table! The top was still not squared off, or even fixed down.

I’m not sure what finally caused the cloak of procrastination to be shrugged off, but I took the table out to the shed tonight to be completed. And after such a long time, it is difficult to perform the mental switch from it being a piece of furniture in use, to one that is in the midst of the build process.

First thing I really wanted to do was to trim down the top – the ends got squared up, then a couple of rips down either edge front and back to finish with a trued top. I used the Flai Ultimate for this job, and in crosscut it was excellent – beautiful finish, no tearout.

But it was the rips that blew me away. They were not just smooth, or even to the quality of a glueline blade (one that rips smooth enough that you can go straight to glue-up). It was silky smooth, as good as you would get with a fine sandpaper, or even a scraper blade. The finish was that immaculate. So much so that there is no point me sanding it before starting finishing.

I then moved over to the 150/5 Festool ROS, and worked through the grits to 320. Again something I have wanted to do for a long time. The drum sander I used to do the initial flattening had left a burn the length of the table down near the rear edge, so sanding that out was a pleasure. Using the 150/5 was a pleasure as well. No dust (when combined with the Cleantex obviously) the pad remained clear and unclogged, minimal vibration transmitted to the hand, and a satin finish. I found myself running my hand over the top time and again just enjoying the feel of the surface.

The shed time finished with the top finally being secured to the base, using blocks screwed to the underside of the top, and engaging domino slots cut for the purpose in the rails.

Next, after some more sanding will be to apply the finish. Tung oil in this case – penetrates deep into the surface and once fully dry, it becomes quite durable, and water resistant.

5 Responses

  1. You painted a pretty clear picture of the process but do you have a picture of the finished piece to compare to the unfinished one?

    • All will be revealed in a bit of a video I’m shooting while going through the steps.

      Hopefully today I will get to wipe on the first layer of Tung Oil, which will be very revealing on a number of levels.

      The final stage will be the dovetailed drawer and in all reality, the unit will be finished about 12 months after it was started.

      • Stu
        You mentioned your drum sander left a burn the length of the table.
        Do you have any idea what causes this burning?
        What grade paper were you using on your drum sander?
        I have the same result from time to time.

        • I don’t have too much info on the drum sander – it was one in the Woodworking Warehouse so not sure of the grit of paper – 120 perhaps?

          I’ve also had this with my own drum sander, so hopefully these will help.

          The burning comes with the paper clogging, and then instead of cutting, it burns its way down the work, leaving that distinctive burn that is about 3mm wide.

          There are a number of things that can cause the paper to clog. It could be insufficient collection, too aggressive a pass, too slow a feed rate resulting in the paper and surface getting too hot, or too fast a feed rate so the paper cannot cut as fast as it is being asked to.

          It could be a bit of glue squeeze-out getting caught in the paper, or paper that has become too dull and no longer able to cut.

          Cleaning the paper with an abrasive cleaning stick will help, but once an area is encrusted with burnt wood around the circumference, it is likely to clog (and burn) again and again.

          Is your project worth more than the cost of a bit of sandpaper?

  2. Sounds good. One day I must look at those tools you talk about. But have to think why I need them. Cheers, K

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