A Finish with a Good Lick

I am not a fan of modern finishes.  I know with pens that I use CA glue, which is in effect an acrylic finish, but in that situation, it is durable and comparatively quick. In saying that, I am now wondering just how well this traditional finish would work.  It would require the pen to remain mounted in the lathe (or remounted for each application) for an entire week, but if the finish was perfection, that might be worthwhile.

But I’m getting distracted.

For some items a traditional wax finish works well, for others, an oil finish really brings out the lustre in the timber.  The (mineral) definition of lustre is very appropriate “a description of the way light interacts with a surface”, and some oil finishes on some timbers produces such a depth – a fully three dimensional effect in the surface of the timber.

I have wanted to try Tung Oil for a long time – I’ve seen it used on a finishing video by Jeff Jewett (Taunton Press), and it was an amazing finish for ‘just’ an oil. It is an oil that all others are judged by – a Tung Oil finish is used as a descriptor for other finishes, even those that have no Tung Oil in them at all.  China Wood Oil is another name for the genuine stuff, and dates back to China, and over 2400 years ago.

In the past I have gone for oils that have included Tung oil, but haven’t gone out of my way to seek it out in a pure form, so finding Organoil now have it on the shelf in Carbatec meant I couldn’t help but grab it.

Tung Oil

There was also Terpene, which is a distillation extracted from citrus peelings, and can be used in place of turpentine, including cleaning brushes, and for thinning Tung Oil.  Tung Oil is surprisingly thick, and is a nut oil that once it has been applied and has had time to cure (for want of a better word) it is both water and alcohol resistant – perfect for a hall table.

The citrus terpene allows better penetration of the timber by the Tung Oil, so I am using it for the first coat, but from then on will be using the Tung Oil neat.

The timber looks absolutely stunning, even with the first coat.  It dries to a matt finish, but additional layers (applied 24 hours apart) increases the gloss until a mirror finish is possible.

Mahogany table with a Jarrah river

Hall Table

And this is just the first coat of about 6

Even now, check out the contrast with the raw table state (before it was sanded obviously)

Raw Table

I’m feeling so inspired to finish this project off, and start another!  Once the finish is done, I still need to make a dovetail drawer and give it a lick of the Tung, but then I really want to see what else I can come up with.  Beating the procrastination with the leg of a Hall Table Fable!

Incra Laminated Breadboard

Ever since seeing Perry McDaniel’s breadboard, I have wanted to try one myself – doesn’t look particularly complex, but it has been one of those projects I’ve just never gotten a round tuit.

tuitSo with the clamp review, and finally obtaining some purpleheart which I always planned to use as one of the timbers, I begun cutting.

First job was to get the dust extraction up to spec again – after finding the thicknesser blocked the DC inlet too quickly.  It looks a bit confusing in a photo – it is slightly less confusing in real life 😉

Dust Collector with Preseparator

Dust Collector with Preseparator

The tablesaw, and router feed directly into the DC.  The thicknesser and planer feed into the precollector.  There are 3 different sanders that happen to be feeding into there, but they don’t need as much air draw so they won’t suffer from any performance hit caused by the preseparator.  The bandsaw also feeds into that line, so will assess how it performs, but as a general rule it is also a pretty fine dust that will be fine with any lower air flowrate.

Once the machines were again online, I was able to take a piece of mahogany, and one of purpleheart and run through the inital stock preparation, with all the generated dust and shavings whisked away to the extrator.  To any really observent amongst you, yes, I have turned the DC around.  This gives me better access to the start/stop switch (and was necessary with the location of the precollector, as it pretty much blocked access to the back corner).  It also means that the demented spider of tubing is more intrusive into the shop, but again, necessity is the biggest force of nature!

Resaw with MagFence

Resaw with MagFence

I resawed both the mahogany and purpleheart, but I did my usual trick of trying to get too much yield out of the timber I have.  Sometimes a bit of wastage is necessary to get the stock you need, but it is a lesson I still need to learn.  I ended up, after dressing the timbers, with stock that was thinner that I wanted.  This does reflect that I am still struggling to find where to get good timbers from at a reasonable price.

Once all planed and thicknessed, it was time to move to the tablesaw.  For this project, I finally used the Incra LS Positioner on the tablesaw for the first time actually using it as a tablesaw fence.  I used the MagJigs to hold it down, which worked ok, but I found it did need some more holding force, so I will add an extra two MagJigs, which will be overkill, but there is no such thing as too much where it comes to locking down a fence securely.

Incra LS as Tablesaw Fence

Incra LS as Tablesaw Fence

On the tablesaw, I ripped increasing widths of timber, from 2mm to about 15mm wide.  This worked well with the Incra, although it would have been better if I had remembered that it is an imperial measuring system, not metric!  Even so, the absolute precision of the Incra worked well – it clicks into precise location without having to microadjust the fence position with a fist-tap (as is normal practice).  A really interesting look at the Incra system.

After taking the mahogany and purpleheart through the ripping process, they were then interleaved, and clamped in the Jet Bar Clamps, which are really nice I must say.  They stay balanced where they are put, whether horizontal or vertical, they don’t slip, clamp tight and really look the part.

 Mounting in the Jet Bar Clamps

Mounting in the Jet Bar Clamps

I haven’t glued these up as yet – consider this a dry-fit.

Storing vertical

Storing vertical

I didn’t realise how stable these clamps were when vertical, but the job was in the way at one point, and I went to put it on the floor, and did a double-take when it stayed quite comfortably where I placed it.  A definite bonus of this sort of clamp design IMHO.

Ready for glue-up

Ready for glue-up

This is as far as I have gotten with the project – next I will be gluing it up, topping and tailing it then rotating the ends through 180 degrees, finishing with a router dressing of the edges.  Mahogany wasn’t my first choice of materials – I wanted even more contrast between the lighter timber and the purpleheart, but even so, unfinished as it is, it still looks the goods.

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