Finishing Input Requested: Ambrosia Maple and Walnut Coffee Table

Ever have one of those days where you just can't make up your mind? In my case, there's little enough to make up you'd think it'd be easy...
So, the wife's got me building her a coffee table: Ambrosia Maple top with Walnut skirting and legs.
I'm driving myself nuts trying to decide on as much contrast between the top and the walnut base as possible, vs. finishing the top just a bit darker to bring out that _snappin_ figure and accent the "ambrosia" streaks.
I _will_ of course slice up some samples and try different things, but if you've got input, lemme have it.
Especially if you've got experience with different shellacs on Ambrosia Maple, I'd really be interested in a link to a photo.
There's an absolutely _killer_ photo of one of Frank Klaus' tiger maple lowboys in one of Yeung Chan's books, but he doens't mention the finish used. Sure looks like some variety of orange shellac, and if so, that's snappin'.
But, there's that "I'm torn between" thing again. Sure would like to keep the top a as contrasty with the base as possible.
And I want my cake. And I wanna eat it. Hell, I'd even like left-overs, too. KnowhatImean?
(Paddy, you reading this? Laughing yer bigass ass off yet?)
Michael Sucks when all your options are good and you only get one... ;>
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I will have to go out and look to see which lac I used but this is maple and walnut.
http://www.hollywoodswoodcrafts.com/images/Jewelry_Box/2_JBox_ClosedView.JPG
BRuce
Michael Baglio wrote:

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wrote:

Nice looking jewelry box, Bruce. You must've made someone happy. :)
Michael
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yep, customer was very appreciative. ;-)
BRuce
Michael Baglio wrote:

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The local soft maple shows all that it has very well with just shellac. I use Russ's super blonde from http://www.woodfinishingsupplies.com /
If I knew what species ambrosia maple is - I thought it related to beetle damage - I'd give a link.
Also shows handsomely with oil-based varnish, but that adds a touch of amber to go with the toughness.
If you want more brilliance, don't wet sand the piece or burnish it. The difference in absorption between early and late is what makes the figure "pop." The reason oil looks better on a piece which is sanded to death than a surface finish is that it does soften the surface a bit to recreate the contrast.
Linseed oil the walnut. Thinned, less thinned, less thinned, then a varnish, remembering to wipe well after 20 mins with the oil. Thirty years and still dark on the stuff I made and my daughter stole from the shed for her new place.

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Yep, that's my understanding. The figure in the piece isn't over the top, just a bit here and there.

Hey, I've got one of those daughters, too. If the high point of my entire time here is that she gets to tell her friends "My daddy made this.", it will have been a very good life.
Thanks for the help, George.
Michael
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wrote:

Just now took the top out of the clamps. Posted over on abpw.
Michael
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Don't confuse losing your hair with losing your mind, Michael. DAMHIKT.
[tamp tamp]

Yes and no. My ass really isn't that big. I attribute this to something SWIATAABOC refers to as, "your little Cuban ass." What's bigass on me is the gut, viewable here:
http://www.klownhammer.org/proto-bench/boring.jpg
Regarding figured (not necessarily ambrosia) maple, here's an example of potential contrast:
http://www.klownhammer.org/proto-bench/part3/bench2.jpg
Yeah yeah yeah, the figure might be a bit over the top, but the contrast between the figured maple and the... bark (hey, it's brown like walnut) is nice, I think. This was thinned (w/turpentine) pure tung oil, topped with garden variety dewaxed blonde shellac. I'm still working on carving out a little shop time so I can install the bonerific mesquite slab that Chuck Vance sent out a few weeks ago, as my new vise face. Yeah, curly maple wasn't good enough so I had to send to Texas for mesquite. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Hey, I don't get the binaries group, so do ya think you could email me your work-in-progess pic?
Humbly submitted, O'Deen
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Do your friends call you "Calvin" or "Klein" ???
(thanks to that movie... "Back to the Future"
Patrick Olguin wrote:

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On 22 Jul 2004 12:29:13 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Patrick Olguin) wrote:
snipperoonie...

Seems to be a winning combo there. The project _is_ a coffee table, however, and since I know I'm _never_ gonna be a doily kinda guy, I'm thinkng poly for the topcoat is pretty much mandatory. Any thoughts on oil/shellac/then poly vs. just oil and then the poly top coat? (Never had reason to ask before, since this will be the first time I've ever bought a can o' poly. _That's_ gonna be interesting.) ;>

Sure thing.
Progress has stopped since I'm packing for the annual bidness conference this weekend, but I'll send you one I took right after I got it out of the clamps.
The space in the picture represents about a quarter of my entire 12X16' shop-ette. :) SWMBO is calling for an entertainment center next, so I think I'm going to have to come use your shop.
Oh.. wait... you're "shop" _is_ right outside my shop doors! :)
Pic sent to your Yahoo account. Thanks for the response. And by the way, this:
http://www.klownhammer.org/proto-bench/us.jpg is one _great_ photograph.
When you gonna put a directory on da main page? All yer cool stuff (like dem fancy shellac brushing movies) is buried so deep we needs our pickaxes to find it. :)
Michael
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pecked out: >
[tamp tamp]

Not eeeeeeeven! My (and so many others') favorite for this high-use application is Behlen's Rockhard Table Top varnish. Here's the first link I found:
http://www.vandykes.com/product/02238449 /
It rubs out far more satisfactorily than any polys I've tried (in the days of my ignorant halcyon yute). You can rub it to whatever level of gloss you'd like.
And yes, you can use oil, then dewaxed shellac and then the varnish.
McCloskey's also makes a great varnish to go over shellac (I believe Jeff Jewitt likes it best). Here's a shot of a walnut table finished with shellac and McCloskey's Herloom varnish:
http://shellac.net/images/charlie_table.jpg
Reminder: I'm no longer affiliated with shellac.net.
Have fun with it. That's some interesting-looking wood you're working.
Humbly submitted, O'Deen
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On 23 Jul 2004 19:33:50 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Patrick Olguin) wrote:

Paddy, sorry for the delayed response, been outta town. Thanks for the above info. Behlens will be a new experience for me, looking forward to it.
Michael "Friends don't let friends use poly." ;>
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