Let's Finish It!Timmy2Hands Jun 29, 2016
Now we finally get to see what all the hard work has gotten us. I think this is every woodworkers favorite part, applying the finish.
Now that the hinge mortises are done it's time for the last check and final clean up before we apply the finish. I use a card scraper, some small sanding blocks with 220, and a dry brush and cotton rag to remove any dust from all the nooks and crannies.
My finish of choice is Watco Danish Oil (natural). This product does not dry as fast as shellac and is not as durable as polyurethane, but I find that small decorative boxes don't get a lot of wear and tear, and I personally like a non-film finish.
I put a small amount of finish into a secondary container and use a folded clean cotton rag to apply the oil. I flood the surface completely and let it sit for about 20 minutes. By this time the wood has absorbed most of the finish, I flood the surface again and wait another 20 minutes. I flood the surface a third time and wait an additional 20 minutes.
So I have flooded the surface 3 times in an hour and at this point the wood is not soaking in any more oil. I take a clean dry cotton rag and wipe off any excess. The pieces will sit like this for at least 24 hours, but more like 48. The Danish oil needs a few days to really cure and harden. I really like to give it a full week if I can.
After the finish has cured I apply furniture wax. The first thing I do is take a square of this 3M synthetic 0000 steel wool and burnish the entire piece. I then take that same piece of wool and use it to apply the wax. I let is sit for 10 to 15 minutes until the wax clouds over a bit and then I buff it out to the luster I like. A cotton rag is great for buffing, but I really like to use a shoe shine brush.
Now I install the hinges.
I always hinge the smaller part first. It makes final assembly easier.
I position the hinge and use an awl to mark the screw location
I apply a piece of blue tape to my drill bit and make a flag so I know how deep to go.
This is the original cordless drill.
Once the holes are drilled I get the screws started. I'm putting brass screws into hard maple, so a little furniture wax helps keep things lubricated.
I like to use slotted screws instead of phillips head. I always "clock" my screws too, I orient the slot in the same direction as the length of the hinge. In this picture though, the screws are still a quarter turn out. I will bring them all to final tightness at the same time as the last step.
Always make sure to use an appropriately sized screw driver for the size screw you have.
I lay a bench plane on it's side to help position the lid.
You can see here that All the screws have been tightened to their final position.
And there it is a finished box with a raised panel lid, reinforced mitered corners, and grain matched sides.
It's true that once you get the box building bug there are all kinds of sizes shapes and techniques to keep you occupied in the shop for a long time to come. And you will never run out of gift ideas for friends and family.
Here are few of the different boxes I've done in the past year. All with just hand tools.
So I'm really glad you have followed along with this build and I hope that you learned some useful tips or techniques.
I could call this box finished at this point and be very happy with it, but I'm going to take it a step further. I'll be adding a bonus post about lining the interior of this box with padded suede panels. I'm hoping to have it up soon.
If you have any questions about the tools or techniques that I've used please feel free to post a comment below and I'll do my best to answer.