Thursday, November 26, 2015

Black walnut bench

Loyal reader, I have been trying to refinish a bench that was gifted to me about a year ago.  
The bench is a rustic slab-style bench of black walnut.  We have been using as an entry bench just inside the foyer of the house.  However, until recently, it was simply unfinished.  I wanted to give this thing a refresh so it looked like a real piece of furniture and not just a slab of wood.

After going through the cycle and sanding it up to 320, I decided to try something new for a finish.  Since I'm not really a woodworker, I have no idea about how to finish a piece of wood.  My idea of finishing wood involves me going to either my basement or C&R and discerning between which type of polyurethane I'm going to use.  Water or oil based.  I feel like a dunce when I go this route.  It's kind of like the McDonald's of wood finishing: cheap and fast.  But like the old saying goes: Cheap, Fast, Good... you only get to pick two out of those three.  

That's how I feel about finishing wood with poly.  Its cheap and fast, but not very good.

So, I got a recipe from a fellow woodworker which involved mixing up some toxins.  I'm really not that interested in chemistry, but the idea of doing a DIY finish has the potential to be more satisfying.  Also, I figured I would give it a shot and see if I could actually learn something.

The mixture is as follows:

1 part turpentine
1 part boiled linseed oil
2 parts spar vanish

And some of that can vary based on the moisture content of where you are finishing.  The problem with finishing this thing in my basement is that its a high-moisture area (especially since I don't have a clothes dryer).  Thus, I have been doing this refinish job for months.  The drying time can take weeks sometimes.

The best I can do is a before picture on the flip phone

I was not a photography major

Here is after four (4) coats of the special finish:

Still feels tacky, and I even sealed it in with one final coat of just spar vanish.  I'm going to give it a light sand with some 000 steel wool, then its time to re-glue back up.