I hope to be ready by this weekend to start applying finish to the rustic bed
I'm building for my daughter. Mostly quarter-sawn Douglas fir.
This is the first dry fit:
I think I want to use a gel stain and possible a gel final finish mainly
because wiping something "thick" onto these big pieces sounds easier than
any kind of brush on/runny finish. I'm really limited on space and spraying
is not an option.
I'm not looking to change the color too much, maybe darken it just a little
and bring out some of the red. Any and all suggestions are welcome, including
comments on stain-sealers if required and what to use as a final finish.
The simpler the better, I'm a real novice when it comes to finishing.
Well I will say that different gel stains work differently. Mostly you
wipe them on and immediately wipe it off, and after wiping of, buff out,
with a cleaner cloth, to get rid of smudges.
If you want to just darken a little the varnish might be enough and a
lot less work.
TEST on scraps.
On Tuesday, September 13, 2016 at 8:52:18 AM UTC-4, Leon wrote:
Will varnish bring out any of the red? I sure wouldn't mind "a lot less
I have a sample board that I'll try to post an image of later, but I don't
know how the color will come out via my cell phone then uploading. There was
one stain that I had lying around that brought out the red and that my
It will if you add a bit of universal tint to it :)
Without it (tint), it will appear yellower and darker. The wood will also
darken with or without varnish and/or stain over time and exposure to light;
if you want to retard that, use a top coat with an UV inhibitor in it.
On Tuesday, September 13, 2016 at 11:37:37 AM UTC-4, dadiOH wrote:
I am hoping that the wood has already attained it's steady state as far as
The vast majority of this wood, as in *all* of the headboard board slats
and uprights has been lying around in it's current condition (S4S) for
about 20 years. It was originally reclaimed and then cut/surfaced to be
used as door and window trim in a post and beam house. For various reasons
it never got used and the owner put it on Craigslist at almost the exact
same time as my daughter said "Dad, can you build me a rustic bed from
reclaimed wood?" Can you say "serendipity"? ;-)
The rails were the only rough lumber that needed to be planed down. You can
see the totally different grain pattern in the rails vs. the quartersawn
On the fir you'll want to use a sanding sealer first (cut shellac) to
avoid the otherwise inevitable blotching of the difference in takeup of
any stain/finish Doug fir is bad about.
I'd probably just use a wiping varnish and protect the glue spaces with
blue tape and finish at least first coat before assembly.
Just as a thought if you've not; I'd also strongly recommend either
rounding over or (I think it'd look better with) chamfer those hard
square edges--otherwise it's going to accumulate a lot of dents and
dings and there will be many "ouches" I foresee in the future...
On Tuesday, September 13, 2016 at 9:18:18 AM UTC-4, dpb wrote:
Just to be clear: If I use a wiping varnish do I still use a sanding
sealer or is that just for stain?
Yes, that is the plan. My daughter has requested a very light roundover
as opposed to the 1/4" (?) I did on the bunk beds I built for her many
years ago. I think I've settled on a light hand sanding vs. even a 1/8"
round over bit. At least that's what SWMBO says to do. ;-)
Thanks. I was limited as to what I could do because the reclaimed wood was
already "cut to size" for the most part. A couple of the uprights for the
headboard had to be ripped down, which exposed a totally different side
grain pattern than the face. I ripped very thin strips of side grain from
other pieces and glued them on, creating a uniform look on the sides and
Depends. Do you want to minimize or accent grain? Varnish will maximize ;
if you want to minimize, use a water base sealer or clear coat, THEN
BTW, you can wipe any varnish. Just thin 50/50 or so with thinner, get a
wad of cotton, wrap the cotton with a piece of old cotton sheet, dip in
varnish and wipe away.
Personally, and with fir, I would indeed use a heavy gel stain if you
must stain ... less likely to blotch and you won't need to use a
Nothing wrong with keeping it natural. If going that route, I would
choose an oil based lacquer or varnish. Water based won't age as nicely
as oil based film finishes.
Above all, do some tests on some scrap before you take any Internet
advice ... there will be as many opinions as assholes on this. ;)
On Tuesday, September 13, 2016 at 10:26:39 AM UTC-4, Swingman wrote:
Thanks. I'll definitely do some testing. I like the thought of natural.
There is already a lot of variation in the colors and I'd like to retain
as much of that as possible. There is also exposed end grain, side grain,
face grain, etc. There is no way it will ever be uniform, so I might as
well take advantage of that.
In that case, you may be well pleased w/o the sanding sealer/undercoat;
I was presuming you'd want to even-up the overall piece rather than
accentuate the differences.
I'd still be somewhat concerned w/ fir and the source of this that
unless it's finish sanded uniformly that variations in surface texture
of the material "as is" will lead to disparate reflectance and variation
in individual pieces...
But, you'll have to judge that from being close up; as another noted,
wiping it down with mineral spirits will give you a good idea of how
similar/dissimilar the surface is going to be and will highlight any
scratches or other defects that you can be the judge of as to
desirability or no...
OMG|No offense intended but my daughter Brittany
is a far more skilled woodworker than you r. In her
first video tutorial she builds a cute functional end
table < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ENqg-jX-6s she
would never use splitted lumber as you did on the
bottom horizontal headboard piece. Shoddy!
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