Finishing a Wood Project

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leggo PE

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Hello woodworking geniuses of EB!

I shall be the first to admit how little experience I have with any sort of woodwork, for better or worse. Anyway, that’s about to change a little bit!

Mr. Leggo and I have purchased a raw wood entertainment center that will require some minor assembly (we’re expecting to have to install two sliding doors, a shelf, and 4 legs) as well as finishing of the wood. I’m taking on the finishing project, and want to finish with Danish oil and satin wax, all hand rubbed.

I’ve watched some videos and read some blogs and articles about how to accomplish this, and have decided it’s probably going to take me at least a day and some serious elbow grease.

My rough plan is to prep the pieces (before assembly) by sanding from 120 grit to 320 grit, removing dust after each increase in grit with tack cloth. Then I’ll brush the first of two coats of the oil-based Danish oil on (I bought standoffs to do both sides of any piece that might need it, like the shelf), let dry, lightly sand with 320 grit sandpaper, and then remove dust again. Apply second Danish oil coat, repeat following steps. Then I will apply the first of two coats of the satin wax, again letting dry, sanding with 320 grit sandpaper, and removing dust before applying the second coat. Repeat the steps for the second coat of satin wax, all the same expect now sanding with 400 grit sandpaper. After the second coat of wax dries, I will sand with a paper bag (to emulate 1000 grit sandpaper) to remove any final little bumps. Then I’ll leave it to cure for at least 24 hours before assembly.

Does that seem reasonable? A few questions that come to mind… Should I do 3 coats of the Danish oil and then 1 coat of satin wax, rather than 2 coats of each?

I want the combination because I really like the look of the satin wax over the Danish oil, and wanted the wax for a bit more durability against kitty paws that will no doubt jump up on this media center once it’s put into use.

Right now, I have the sandpaper, the sanding blocks, standoffs, clean brushes, a nylon tablecloth to put beneath to cover the concrete it would otherwise sit on, tack cloth, the Danish oil, and the satin wax. I also have rubber gloves if I need them (some people said they’d be helpful for the tack cloth). Is there anything else I might possibly need?

Can you tell I’m an eager beaver to do this? It’s probably a bit dorky, but I am excited to personalize this piece of furniture! I hope I can make it look nice! And it’s small peas compared to some of the things the rest of you all do, but I’m still quite enthralled at the prospect!

Anyone got any tips for doing everything by hand (literally hand, no motorized anything)?

Thank ya kindly!
 

pbrme

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In general with oil and stain, always apply in the direction of grain and immediately wipe off any excess. I usually use latex gloves and a stain rag to apply, and other disposable stain rags to wipe the extra. Dispose the gloves and rags in a ziplock after each application, and push out as much air as possible. I've found that rubbing on the stain is quicker than brushing and has an overall better effect. Here's an article on spontaneous combustion of oil based stains: Oily Paint Rags Can Spontaneously Combust

I think two coats of each would be fine. I've done the same but with 3 coats of satin poly on the finish but it was overkill looking back.

Also, always sand in the direction of the grain. Not sure if you already knew this or not but doesn't hurt to mention. The only other advice I have, is to not feel rushed. Taking your time on projects like these will show in the results. I try to let each coat sit for a day before sanding and being thorough in between with light sanding, dust control and tack. Dust and air bubbles are a pain. You're introducing a lot of moisture into your work, so taking a little extra time to let the wood expand and relax is good, especially before assembly.
 

leggo PE

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Welp, I am 3.5 hours in and got the first round of sanding done (plus a little bonus sanding, entailing me sanding both of the largest pieces with 80 grit sandpaper when I meant to start with 120 grit). I can now see this is gonna take me a looooonnnngggg time, haha!

Here are all the pieces laid out, before sanding started (some are stacked 2-3 high):

398024D0-2C07-4671-9658-F370F1AC4E3C.jpeg
 

leggo PE

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I put another three hours in yesterday, and was able to get two more rounds of sanding in — 180 and 220 grit. I am hoping to get to 320 grit tomorrow, and maybe even apply the first coat of oil, if I have time!

And while my husband thinks I’m crazy and shouldn’t be sanding this much, I did manage to get a little bit of a compliment when he said the wood is feeling very smooth!
 

squaretaper LIT AF PE

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Looks like you have the wood finishing process down, looking good!

Probably obvious, but just a friendly reminder to wear PPE (I wear N95) when sanding. Wood fibers are an irritant but sanding the finish is especially hazardous. Best to have increased airflow out to the environment and wear different clothes for project work. You already know this, just had to say it.
 

pbrme

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Hehe..hehe...hehe he said "wood". - Beavis and butthead | Meme Generator
 

leggo PE

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So! I changed up how I’m doing the Danish oil a little bit, after doing some research. Here’s an updated photo after the first several coats:

DCE0BCE8-D70C-4462-9201-5BD0381E7105.jpeg

I had to run to the hardware store to get more Danish oil. Luckily, I found another pint!

I have to say, I liked the natural raw wood look, but I LOVE how the Danish oil has warmed up the pine wood so very much! Can’t wait to have this done and assembled, and put into its new place!
 
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leggo PE

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Next update! I only put satin wax on the top and bottom. It doesn’t really seem to change the appearance that much, but it may protect a bit more. I am now calling it officially quits on my part of this; next up is for Mr. Leggo to assemble!
 

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