First Project Completed

I just finished my first woodworking project. This is from a guy who never made so much as a birdhouse before. It is a tray with the handle cut in the sides. My wife saw one like it at Pottery Barn and wanted to buy it for $40. I told her I could build something that simple. SO, $70 or so dollars later I finished it. It might not look quite as good but I suspect it will hold up longer and the sentimental value is worth something.
The wood cutting part was fairly straight forward but cutting the handles in the sides with rounded ends was a real.... pain. I learned a lot in the process but it still would be a pain to try it again.
I sanded the wood (pine) down to 220 grit, but now that it's done, I see that I should have sanded more. Then I used a couple of coats of mahoganny stain. I then applied a sanding sealer. Probably didn't need it with Pine but that's what the instructions on the lacquer can said. (I suspect profit motives may have been involved). After spraying the sealer, I did a quick once over with 220 grit sandpaper. I then sprayed about five coats of lacquer. I used 4F pumice followed by 2F pumice and then followed up with rottenstone. I finished it with a carnuba wax. I feel pretty confident about the process and materials, but if anyone has any thoughts or warnings about my method, please fill me in.
If I had it to do again, I probably would have used Polyurethane for durability but I had heard a bad thing or two about it. Since then I've come to recognize that it had it's strengths and weaknesses like every finish out there.
I learned that a brush is okay for getting dust out of the corners until the metal part around the bristles brushes against your wood and leaves an ugly divit.
I also learned that you can't read enough about finishes, though it looks like the best teacher will be experience.
A couple of thing are still bugging me. I still haven't figured out how to properly sand inside corners (after staining). I guess using a q-tip to remove excess stain in the corners might have helped and reduced the need for sanding. It also bugs me that there are a few spots on the wood that are near white. I didn't use a wood filler so I'm guessing the lumber company (?) did... Any suggestions on how to fix this in the future?
The important thing is that I enjoyed the process and learned a lot. I'm starting on a multi-room martin bird house now. It doesn't require much in the way of finishing....
Richard A.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Good one.
Try holding the rod a little higher just as you flick the bait out there. And use better bait. Maybe a fly (try a fly-tying newsgroup).
Sheesh.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
J.B. Bobbitt wrote:

Oh, I don't know. If it was a real troll, the wood almost certainly would have been cherry and it would have still been stained. And some kind of worry about the wood being 0.001" out of X would have been involved.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.