Sunday, November 13, 2011

The "First Coat"

I started applying the final finish the other morning and then quickly realized that things weren't quite right.  I didn't like the color.  It still seemed a little light so I quickly stripped the small section of wood that I started finishing and quickly applied an additional coat of stain to the entire room.  This added a little more time to the project but I think it was worth it.  When I put on the final coat, a linseed oil based varnish, it seemed to lighten to wood a bit and it needed a little more color depth.   
So far, I am happy with the look.  It is VERY glossy and the wood looks good.  I will be adding one more coat of varnish and then, depending on how things look, I may wait a couple weeks and then knock down the sheen with some steel wool. 
For the final finish, my woodworking guru, Jeff at Oak Brothers, gave me several suggestions.  One seemed interesting to me because it was touted for its "green-ness".  It is a varnish called "Le Tonkinois".  I believe it was formulated for boats so I am sure it will last a long time.  I put it on with a sponge brush and am really happy with it.  Besides tung oil, it may be the nicest stuff I've worked with.  It takes a good 24 hours to dry so the finish ends up being very even and it is not prone to dripping.  Any noticeable dripping can be easily re-touched even an hour or so after you apply it.   It supposedly contains no VOC's.  This should not be confused with it not having an odor because the stuff is actually pretty strong, odor-wise.  I also chose the gloss version as I was unsure of how I wanted the final finish to look.  The original finish had a bit of gloss to it so I figured I would start there and manipulate it later if I needed.  Once the finish is done, I would have put three coats of stain and two coats of varnish on the wood.          
The difference between the finished and unfinished parts of the rooms is remarkable.  Now that I have the finish on, I can start on the next room.
The dining room, with its beamed ceiling and huge built-in, is probably going to take a bit more time than the living room.  I got to work on the ceiling beams yesterday and it is taking quite a bit of time.  These were not stripped as well as any other parts of the house so there is a lot of shellac to take off.  The edges of the cove molding, at the ceiling, have also been painted over about a hundred times so I am scraping all of the old paint to create a crisp an edge as possible within each ceiling section.  Not fun.    
With any luck. I will be putting stain on the ceiling in a couple days.  This will make the schedule for painting to likely start on Saturday or Sunday.  I also hadn't mentioned: the glass shades that I ordered for the dining room light fixture are ready.  I am going to be traveling to the artist's studio, in Wisconsin, next week to pick them up.  I'll reserve a special blog entry for this one. 

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