Itty Bitty Bit of Progress

Rec.normers,
I am finding precious few hours to devote to my wooddorking. No complaints, just a fact. The cherry mantelshelf has a few coats of shellac onnit, and in my most modest voice I say, "It's not looking half-bad."
The final product is to be an eight foot mantel shelf, made of 6/4 cherry, with just a bit of decorative moulding underneath it.
Where I'm at: http://www.klownhammer.org/yetmoreprogress
O'Deen
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Will it be mounted low enough to be easily seen and admired?
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com says...

Very purty. I don't understand the idea that figured cherry is a problem (I think one of the latter issues of FWW made that comment)
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Really nice figure. No French polish?
Preston

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Thanks. Half the final effect of any project is board selection, IME.

Didn't fit in the schedule/budget. It will be highly polished-out, and given I cut the finish back rather severely, I end up with an effect that's pretty close to the quality ya get in French polishing. That is, the shellac coat is quite thin, yet uniform. No over-thick plasticky Martin Guitar type finish (sorry, Watson, I know you're a lacquer fan).
Someone else asked about the vagaries of cherry, as described in FWW. Cherry can be quite vexing. The little swirls and grain reversals are often subtle and insidious (of course, they add beauty as well). The trickiest part for me has been the widely varying hardness of the wood. One really has to go easy, especially with a scraper. I got the best results when using a scraper with no hook. Progress is slow, but the result is the as-smooth-as-a-baby's-butt surface I prefer.
Anudder thing about shellac - since it dries so fast and is utterly non-leveling, every single minute imperfection is suddenly magnified. It's a humbling experience to say the least :0).
Lastly, the height of the shelf is around 5', so the spectacular grain won't be casually visible to folks in the room. However, if past experience is any indicator, a project like this has a very high "pet factor." That is, a person will spontaneously get up and run their hand over the finish and marvel at the look and feel. There is nothing like the feel of a hand-rubbed shellac finish. I feel a little like a drug pusher with my friends on this job - once they get something like this done, there's no going back. Heh heh heh.
Thanks to all yall who offered comments. I sent the customers these WIP pics, and according to my pal, his fiance did something that rhymes with creamed-in-her-jeans when she got a look at it. It's nice to be appreciated.
O'Deen
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Pretty wild grain, Paddy. (the order of the adjectives can be reversed) Was matching a problem?
Bob
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Yes/no. Spent about an hour with the customer at the hardwood store, selecting the boards. The first one (on your left, as you look at the two glued-up planks) was easy. It shouted ,"pick me!" The other plank is actually a cut-off of a 15' board (we had to buy the whole thing). It's not really a case of matching, but more of finding something complimentary. A tame, straight-grained piece would have looked funky next to a "wild thing." As you said, it's wild/pretty grain.
We agonized over the knot for a little while, but the board we selected goes really nicely... dontcha think? The customer is letting me keep the cut-off, and in appreciation of that (they paid for the cherry up front), I'll be making them a picture frame (or two) to match their shelf.
Ya never can have too much cherry ;-).
O'Deen
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wrote:

Was
In a word, very well.
The customer is letting

Aren't you a dear.

I wouldn't know.
Bob
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