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
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
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....