Finish Adjustments

I often get asked how much lumber should be purchased for a project. My answer is to have enough on hand that you do not have to settle for what is a mismatched piece in your project. Even with that in mind, there are times when mismatches happen. My secretary doors are a perfect example. In the photo you can clearly see the differences between the door panel’s rich, dark walnut and the significantly lighter walnut used in the frame. At the time, I selected those materials to allow the grain of the book-matched panels to stand out. Big mistake.

For a better look at the toner I used, click the photo.

As I applied oil to the walnut, the differences proved to be too much. If I had determined the differences prior to oil application, I could have evened out the frame using aniline dye. With oil applied, the process is different. I decided to use a lacquer-based aerosol toner to correct my colors. I used a dye-based toner instead of a pigment-base toner to minimize the effect on transparency.

Before using any toner, I added a coat of shellac to my doors – shellac is the perfect finish to apply over an oiled surface (allow oil to dry 24 to 48 hours). I then added toner on top of the shellac. I masked-off the panel area to adjust only the frame, then lightly sprayed a few layers of toner onto my frame until my pieces better matched.

This toner has a higher sheen that the early coating of shellac, but that sheen is leveled when sealed under another coat of shellac.

When I was satisfied with the match, I sprayed another layer of shellac to seal in the adjustments. From there, I proceeded with normal finish processes.

Here is a look at a completed door front set beside an non-treated door back. You can see how my frame is a closer match to the panel, and just how much the change was in total. I would have preferred to select my materials for a closer match from the beginning, but it’s good to know there is a way to fix bad decisions.

Build Something Great!

Glen

6 Comments

Filed under Finish Techniques, Shop Tips

6 responses to “Finish Adjustments

  1. Very good, Glen.

    Thank you.

  2. Derek Wolcott

    Isn’t this the mark of a real pro? How to fix mistakes? Well done. One of the reasons I so appreciate your skills is the humility that accompanies them. Thanks for the lesson.

  3. Kevin L. Schroeder

    Wow! Fantastic Save!

  4. Marlon

    This is some of the best advice. There are many ways to work around mistakes. Experience is the best teacher. Thank you for your experience!

  5. There was no mistake, simply the skills of a professional meeting the variance naturally present in the media we choose.

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