Thorsen Cabinet Finish I

Yesterday I started applying the finish to the Thorsen cabinet.

It seems like ages ago that I started this project, but I have to remember that in the course of building it I started (and completed) the Thorsen side table.  Plus I also designed an Arts & Crafts bookcase that I intended to build next (as soon as I can source the wide quarter sawn oak for it I will start it!) and almost by accident I decided to design a the Blacker House Serving Table, which I might actually build next.  Part of my interest in the Blacker table is, of course, learning about inlay — which is my current fascination.

So it was with equal parts excitement and trepidation that I started layering on the finish yesterday.  I’m excited to be so close to completing this project finally, but I’m worried that I’ve forgotten to do something in the interim.  I think I’ve made al;l the parts — case, back, door, skirt front, glass retaining strips…check.  Everything is sanded to 320, wiped with water to raise the grain, scoff sanded and cleaned to remove dust.

So I mixed the Trans-Tint Reddish-Brown water dye, and assembled my tools.

Dye mixed and ready to go

Dye mixed and ready to go

I set up my finishing stands (I made these folding stands 25+ years ago from electrical conduit to hold car parts I was painting) and did a final clean up pass on the parts.

Door ready for dye

Door ready for dye

Cabinet ready for dye

Cabinet ready for dye

I used a combination of the spray bottle and the brush to get a coat of dye on.  I did one “table” of parts at a time.  First I sprayed the  cabinet and the shelf and glass strips that were on the same stand.  I made sure I had dye everywhere and that it a good five minutes to soak in, then I wiped it down with rags.  Then I moved to the next set of parts.  Once all the parts had been dyed and dried, I left them to air dry for an hour.

Main cabinet after dying

Main cabinet after dying

Door after dying

Door after dying

After I was sure that the water based dye had completely dried I went over the parts with a scotchbrite pad to remove any little fuzzies on the surface, and blew them off to get a clean surface.  Then I slathered on plain Boiled Linseed Oil and let that soak for an hour.  In the sun the parts look very red, back inside the shop they look dark brown, the actual color when finished and in the house is in between these two extremes.

Cabinet with a heavy coat of linseed oil soaking in

Cabinet with a heavy coat of linseed oil soaking in

Door soaking up oil

Door soaking up oil

I kept an eye on the parts while they were coated in oil to make sure they didn’t dry out in spots.  After an hour I wiped them down and removed all traces of oil on the surface.  I used an air nozzle to blow out the joints and corners to make sure there wouldn’t be any drips later.  Then everything went back into the shop to dry.

Door after dye and oil

Door after dye and oil

Shelf and cabinet back after dye and oil

Shelf and cabinet back after dye and oil

Cabinet after dye and oil

Cabinet after dye and oil

You can see how mush darker the finish looks in the shop.  I want to wait at least 24 hours after the oil before spraying the Garnet shellac — and at least 24 hours after that before rubbing the shellac out with colored wax.

Today I’m going to do the stained glass and a couple of errands — I bought a new bandsaw for my wood shop and I need to haul the crate to the recycling center, and I plan to pick up some more Sapele for the Blacker table.  Ideally I’d get the glass done today, but it might get too hot later to work outside and I have to do the errands in the morning while those places are open.  If it’s too hot this afternoon I’ll have to watch the inlay video I got, and that certainly won’t be a hardship!

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2 thoughts on “Thorsen Cabinet Finish I

  1. Joe I love seeing your posts on finishing. The results are dramatic and beautiful. I always struggle with finishing when I try to add color. Of course it doesn’t help that I’m usually working with pine. Your finishes have a nice depth to them and this is yet another beautiful piece. I hope you are going to do up a post on the stained glass. I’d like to see how you do that process.

    Greg

    • Greg, I think pine is really tough with anything other than a film finish. I’m certainly no expert on finishing, but I know I’m had terribly results with pine (and fir) trying to stain or dye them. Milk paint is great. Or shellac — I’ve used Orange shellac and gotten OK results. Garnet shellac would be even better I think, Orange shellac is to, well, Orange for my tastes.

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