Orders Shhmmorders

Captains log: Star date: November 18th, 22:00 Hours, Jewish Standard Time

Subject: Chai-boy project progress

Orders have been issued: Commence waxing! What?! Waxing before assembly has even begun?! Are you nuts?!

Now that I think about it, I don’t respond well to someone giving me orders. I don’t think the military would keep me very long. I ask too many questions and question authority at every turn. So why is it that I am a very ordered (almost OCD) personality type? How in the world can I be artistic? Once I know and understand the rules, then I can derive freedom by understanding my boundaries.

So why am I applying finish and waxing before even putting the project together? Simple, I have big hands. Big hands can’t fit well in the tight confines of the drawer compartments. Therefore, I put on multiple coats of shellac on the inside of the carcass, let it dry, knocked it down with 320 grit sandpaper, and then hit it with a couple of coats of Renaissance wax. I need the sides to be really smooth, especially the drawer runners. I might even run a piece of paraffin wax over the runners before the final drawer installation.

Next, I need to sand down the drawer “shelves” and get a couple of coats of shellac on them before they get glued into the carcass.

Order of operations is everything to this project. For someone who dislikes taking orders, I live by order of operations. Even as an Orthodox Jew, I live by an order of operations in regard to my daily life; starting from the moment I open my eyes in the morning and the last thing I say before going to sleep. Now that I think about, my life might be laid out like train tracks, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be like the “Soul Train.” Gosh, I can only hope you know what I mean.

Back on topic; order of operations. For example, I want a uniform color for all the walnut. There are a couple of pieces that are naturally lighter in color, so I am going to dye all the walnut pieces before assembly. The walnut will be glued next to maple, so I can’t risk getting a dark walnut dye on the light maple. I have already sanded and dyed the walnut legs, and with the inside of the carcass finished and waxed, I can glue up the legs to the sides. If there is any glue squeeze out in the inside, the wax will make it easy to remove.

BUT, here is another dilemma. I saw an episode of the New Yankee Workshop where he made a large walnut table. To finish the table, he first applied a boiled linseed oil finish, (which I will do too). Then he put down multiple thin coats of an amber shellac. What a good idea to enhance the walnut color! BUT! There’s always a “but” isn’t there? I don’t want amber shellac on the light colored maple. So should I shellac the legs and other walnut parts before I assemble? Maybe apply a copy of coats of amber, assemble, and then apply clear shellac over the rest of the project? Back to rolling around ideas

Suggestions anyone? And what is your favorite finishing wax?

About yaakov

Husband, Abba, Furniture Maker, Turner, Bookseller, and all around working stiff.
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5 Responses to Orders Shhmmorders

  1. paloarte says:

    hey yaakov,

    when i do a 2 color finish, i usually use the blue tape—but that’s gotta be applied after the finish is well dried — talking about a week or couple of weeks. however, there’s still a problem with my method—that is the so called “bleeding” of the stain…basically, the blue tape can’t securely cover the finished surface to 100% coverage and therefore the new stain still goes over the the edges of the blue tape and under it.

    since the chai boy furniture piece is done with lots of care and love—i think that there shouldn’t be a rush in finishing it improperly.

    by the way, i’ve missed aaron from the new yankee workshop show so bad–i wonder how’s he doing…


    • yaakov says:

      Who is Aaron from New Yankee Workshop? Do you mean Norm?

      I am certainly concerned about amber shellac bleeding on the the maple. I am afraid I will have to do a lot of finishing before assembly.

      BTW, have seen you post much on your blog lately. I hope that means your business is booming!

      your friend,

      • paloarte says:

        ah, what a shame on me; his name is norm and not aaron! 🙂

        i remember watching his show 8 years ago; loved his shop. secretly, norm has encouraged me to get into american woodworking—which is more different than the european woodworking, which is more industrialized.

        anyhow, lately i’ve been quite busy, especially on one of the project where the general contractor didn’t want me to represent the cabinetry we built—i guess he wants to show the project owners that he is the one building all of that goodness. but then, there was a problem in communication.

        the problem with him and the project owner is that—because he didn’t understand much of the terminology used in our trade, and thus he didn’t even bother to share what the clients really wanted. so we ended up having a product which didn’t match the verbal details of the client but still per drawings.

        so i don’t know whether i should give up working with this contractor, or should i redo and recharge them for to-replace. indeed this is a heartbreaking feeling for me and embarrassing too; even though my guilt is little.

        anyhow, i’m still trying to find a horizontal rift oak plywood; but i highly doubt to find it; since i’ve failed on artificial-thermo-foil availablility as well.

        will keep following on your project; it’s coming along nicely!


  2. Yaakov, one can put linseed oil on and then shellac over it? Orders are orders – What will the oil do to the overcoat of shellac? John

    • yaakov says:


      Sure you can put BLO on first, then shellac over it. The BLO brings out the luster of the wood, then let it completly cure (very important). Most people topcoat BLO or Tung oil, it provides a tougher finish for protection.
      Be well, yaakov…

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