HELP with woodworking emergency

I need a bit of quick help regarding a woodworking "emergency".
My SWMBO volunteered me for a little trip through a minefield. To wit, the son (whom I don't know) of my neighbor (whom I barely know) asked my wife if I could help him with a little woodworking project. She said sure.
When he came over to formally ask me to help (two nights ago), it turns out that he wants to make a jewelry box. For his girlfriend. Who lives in Washington DC. He is leaving Sunday. He has no woodworking experience. Or wood. Or plans.
Because of my schedule, that left us with two evenings and part of Saturday and a bit of Sunday morning to get this box made and finished.
Tonight we hope to get the box assembled, and get the first glue-up done so that it will be ready for corner splines to be installed in the mitered corners.
My largest concern is how to finish it. My garage is unheated and it's chilly now in Seattle. I would have liked to do a quick shellac finish, but it's too cold to dry properly in the garage and too smelly for the house. I am thinking some kind of paste wax finish might work. Any ideas?
Thanks for any advice. I really don't want to ruin this project. It's not a good idea to make your neighbors mad at you, even if you don't talk often. Also, the kid seems very nice, and it would be good for him to have a positive experience with woodworking.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote: ...

What is the wood choice? Might make some alteration in suggestion, particularly regarding stain/no stain/color, etc., but for a box given the restrictions you mention, I'd suggest one of the commercial rubbing oil finishes like the original Minwax or similar. You can get the level of luster you desire by combination of how finely you sand the piece and number of coats and it can be applied and rubbed out in an evening. It isn't that bad odor-wise so can be done at the kitchen table if it is really cool that evening to help some, as well. If possible, I'd give it a full day and then use a paste wax over it. Either way, it will last well and is easy to renew at any time.
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For a quick finish consider shellac, either blonde or orange. You can put on several coats in a few hours. The orange shellac adds a nice amber color.
You could also consider just using a paste wax like Butcher's or Johnsons. A few coats right on the bare wood with a hand polished surface on the last coat looks great and holds up quite well. It'll also only take you a few hours to do, and you can (should) do it in the house where it's warm. I've done several small projects like this and they turned out really well.
--
Charley


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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

You gotta learn to say no! But now that you're this far, I think I'd bring it in the house, warm it up and rub it down with warm mineral oil. It wouldn't have been my first choice of finish for a jewelry box, but it doesn't smell and will pop the grain and make it look really nice for a while. Maybe later when the lustre begins to die, he can rub on some tung oil finish or Waterlox.
DonkeyHody "Every man is my superior in that I can learn from him." - Thomas Carlyle
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Not the most elegant, but you have time to put on three coats of water-based polyurethane. You might also be able to find some shellac in a spray can. I found some once that took about 1/2 hour between coats. Either finish will last longer than a wax or oil-based finish. Do it in the house where it's warm.
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Explain to him the problems with applying the finish in those conditions and ask him what he want you to do. Give him his options and put the responsibility for success on him.
As long as I gave it my best effort, I would not lose a bit of sleep over this project.
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Mapdude wrote:

I just recently had a similiar "emergency" and had one night to get a finish on a small item. Outside finishing was not an option due to the weather. Here's what I did. Get a can of spray lacquer. Get a box fan and put it on a table next to a window with the airflow pointing out. Make a small booth around the fan using duct tape and cardboard. You will want to get the jewelry box on a lazy susan or a small block of wood or a nail board so you can turn it without touching it. You can get easily get three coats or more on in one night with minimal or no sanding between coats. If you're adept with a spray can the final coat will need no further attention. There will be very little smell in the house. Is this safe or environmentally responsible? Probably not, but it is an "emergency."
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I would go with some Watco Danish oil. Rub it in well, wipe it dry and be done with it. (You will have some lingering odor however) I'm not a fan of lacquer finishes but that would be another way to go. (Deft "Clear Wood Finish" is available in spray cans)
Max
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Three coats of shellac... in his warm house....buff with wax&wool the next day.
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Thanks for all the good advice.
I am wondering about glue. I can do the primary glueup using regular woodworking glue and bring it into the house to cure, but on Saturday we need to cut slots for, and install decorative splines into the corners. I would like a fast-curing glue so he can install the splinesand and apply finish and install the hardware AND install felt lining, all on Saturday. Has anyone used those super glues for wood?
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:
> I am wondering about glue. I can do the primary glueup using regular > woodworking glue and bring it into the house to cure, but on Saturday > we need to cut slots for, and install decorative splines into the > corners. I would like a fast-curing glue so he can install the > splinesand and apply finish and install the hardware AND install felt > lining, all on Saturday. Has anyone used those super glues for wood?
Never going to happen.
Sounds like you are in a cold climate.
Adhesives along with coatings don't do well when the temperature drops, especially anything below 60F.
You may get an initial cure, but to fully cure requires added time at low temps.
If you truly want to screw things up, try to fight mother nature.
DAMHIKT
Lew
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I routinely work glued pieces as little as 1/2-hour after gluing... so long as the joint will not be stressed much. Soemthing like a box joint is going to hold together just fine after 10 minutes. The joinery does all of the heavy lifting, the glue just locks it in place.
Be careful not to glue cold wood. before you start working make sure that your wood is at indoor temp. It's not good enough to slap glue on a 40 degree (F) workpiece and bring it indoors.
Regards,
Steve

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Stephen M wrote:

That's a very good point.
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Thu, Dec 28, 2006, 9:29am (EST-3) snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com doth query: <snip> Has anyone used those super glues for wood? Yes.
JOAT It's not hard, if you get your mind right. - Granny Weatherwax
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Thu, Dec 28, 2006, 7:59am (EST-3) snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com doth mumble: <snip> My largest concern is how to finish it. My garage is unheated andit's chilly now in Seattle. I would have liked to do a quick shellac finish, but it's too cold to dry properly in the garage and too smelly for the house. I am thinking some kind of paste wax finish might work. Any ideas? <snip>
Yeah. Garage too cold? Take it in the house. Too smelly? Take it in the kid's house. No, on second thought, take it in your house. That'd serve your wife right.
Have a lonnng talk with your wife.
JOAT It's not hard, if you get your mind right. - Granny Weatherwax
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On Thu, 28 Dec 2006 07:59:36 -0800, bsa441 wrote:

IMO, Minwax wipe on poly doesn't look bad at all and doesn't have any more odor than paste wax. Dries fast too.
--
--John
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I keep an air brush filled with General Finish Water Poly for small projects. I think you can spray that indoors. I spray in my basement. You can put on 3 coats in less than 2 hours. You may be able to find it in a spray can. Ted

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Or Preval units available in many stores for finish of choice. Suggest waiting for wax after the full cure of whatever finish. Buy a can and include it in the gift package for her to be involved also.

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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

How about you and he apply the finish in his house (or in his basement)?
Mark
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