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  1. #16
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    Sep 2011
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    Very meticulous Brian, as always, lovely work.

    Paul

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  3. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Leopold, Victoria
    Age
    61
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    3,289

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    Just out of curiosity Brian, what did you apply your hard shellac with?

  4. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    534

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    Hi Dallas,

    Here’s my basic shellac finish kit:

    4D04B064-4E8F-4328-8F6C-221240B1A94D.jpeg

    I apply shellac with a rubber made from scrap cotton inside another piece of cotton. The rubber, seen here sitting on top of it’s home (a small screw-top jar) is about 25mm in diameter. It is never outside the jar unless I’m using it - only here for the picture. I have three plastic bottles from the local chemist - two can be seen here. They contain 1) a 50/50 mix of hard shellac and IMS (denatured alcohol), 2) pure Industrial Methylated Spirits and 3) just out of shot for some reason - mineral oil.

    Very occasionally I brush on a first coat or two with a polisher’s mop but almost always just use the rubber. The older the rubber gets the better it gets as long as it is not dirty. I will use the one runner until the covering cloth wears through, then move the cover cloth around a bit to find a fresh surface. At the end of a polishing session the rubber goes back in the jar and I add a small amount of methylated spirits to keep the rubber moist until next time.

    I like the Hard Shellac because it cross-links after about 3 weeks and offers more protection. It is also easy to repair a mistake as you will see later in this Work In Progress Report. I do also like Behlen’s spray pre-cat lacquer (but that does require serious lung and eye protection) and Tru-Oil. I’ve been meaning to give Kunos Livos a try because people speak highly of it. I’m also currently experimenting with using medium CA glue as a coating. However, shellac is definitely my usual go-to finish.

    Brian

  5. #19
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Leopold, Victoria
    Age
    61
    Posts
    3,289

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    Thanks very much for the info Brian. What do you use for your mineral oil?
    I have got a bottle of Hard Shellac here which I have had for years so I don't know if it goes off over time. Last time I used it I got a very glassy finish which I think I brushed on and then sanded down very fine.
    I will be interested if you get around to trying a CA coating as I have never seen it done on a flat surface. I use it all the time on my pens and it works a treat where I am able to smooth and polish it while the blank is revolving on the lathe.
    Cheers,
    Dallas

  6. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    534

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    The mineral oil I’m using at the moment is Johnsons Baby Oil. Works a treat.

    Shellac, once mixed, has a definite shelf life. I’m sure others will have views on this. All sorts of factors - storage temperature, humidity and exposure to air included. Neil puts a Best Before date on his bottles of Hard Shellac. My own experience is that the shellac is fine up to and perhaps three months after the Best Before date after which it deteriorates and I bin it. Stickiness, drying problems, reduced clarity - all problems you don’t want when you’ve put a big effort into making a piece.

    I’ve had the same issues with shellac made up from flakes and with premixed brands such as those popular in the UK. No experience with Zinsser products. I stick with U-Beaut for three reasons - it works, it’s an Aussie business and Neil very generously provides this forum for us

    Yes, you can brush, pad or spray shellac. I’ve found the gentle rhythm of polishing with a rubber is very relaxing. As to CA on flat surfaces, Dallas, have a look at these:

    YouTube (coffee table)

    YouTube (guitar)



    Brian

  7. #21
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    534

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    Edge Banding

    Now to tackle the egde banding. A small rebate is cut on the router table to take the 4mm x 1.5mm boxwood dyed black.



    ABF96C1B-08B6-488D-A8AC-9ACEDD07E8C7.jpeg


    The banding is rough-cut to size then finished off by carefully sanding the mitres on a small disc sander using a little MDF jig clamped to the table. When I was first introduced to this method of mitring inlays I expected the results to be rough. In fact the mitres are very crisp.


    91371D9E-D88E-4963-9D21-503B3CA6B1B3.jpeg


    I glue up as I work around the box. I forgot to take pics of this, but here is the final result with all the stringing taped in place. The tape is light-stick and it is stretched slightly to ensure a good clamping effect.


    61129DCB-613C-44B2-8DAF-0386115E1266.jpeg


    Iíd usually use a card scraper to level the edge banding to the box top, but in this case there was very little to be removed, so I used wet & dry 400g under a long piece of timber. Keeping the non-sanding end pressed lightly to the box top ensures there is no accidental rounding of the edges. Iím not concerned with slightly scratching to top surface as this is only a protective coat of shellac, not the final polishing.

    845B25F9-0263-49CA-B19C-8E393F38830F.jpeg



    Checking the side view of the edges of the lid there were a few minor issues that needed attention. This pic is the lid in a vise, looking directly down on the front side.


    15950595-109E-46F2-A7E7-6AFA402E096B.jpeg


    These few minor irregularities are easily fixed. A small amount of walnut wood tone putty with just a drop of shellac-based indian ink does the trick


    E1F3FCF1-288F-4E68-8759-9EF8036CE28A.jpeg


    The irregularities on the top surface are minor thank goodness so I rely on the shellac to gradually bring the surface level and smooth. If the surface needed more work Iíd use Aquacoat water-based clear grain filler. Now the early stages of the finishing begin. Here Iím using a rubber (pad) to apply Neilís Hard Shellac, diluted 1:1 with industrial methylated spirits (alcohol).
    Iíve used a drop or two of mineral oil to prevent any sticking. I took this picture immediately after putting the oil on the surface which is why it looks quite oily. In fact this disappears quite quickly.


    28944893-2D36-4FA6-BF2F-ABE123C6EBDB.jpeg


    At this stage Iím just building up the finish (bodying up). The final finishing will be done once the hinge gains are cut and the hardware decisions made. Iím tempted not to use a lock on this but to fit one or two brass lifts. I think the brass would look good with the ebony macassar. Time enough to make the decision later.

    I used to be indecisive, but now Iím not so sure.


    More later....




    Brian

  8. #22
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Leopold, Victoria
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    61
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    Another great update thanks Brian.
    The IMS, is this a special form of metho or just a good quality version such as what you would buy from a paint supply shop?

  9. #23
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Melbourne
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    534

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    Hi Dallas,

    Thanks! IMS (Industrial Methylated Spirits) is just 100% methylated spirits (denatured alcohol) - not difficult to get, e.g. Timbecon, auto paint shops, presumably decent paint stores etc. The meths that you buy in supermarkets or the big green shed usually contain a certain amount of water. In the case of Diggers, for instance, I think the label says up to 5% water. Actually I’ve used that product successfully, but since shellac hates water (moisture clouds the shellac) it is much better to start off with pure IMS.

    Since meths is hygroscopic (absorbs moisture from the air) whichever product you use the moisture content will increase as the contents of the bottle are exposed to and replaced by outside air. Starting off with something that has no water in it gives you a much better fighting chance.

    My next post in this WIP report will show you what happens when I don’t pay enough attention to the moisture content

    Brian

  10. #24
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    534

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    Hinges at last!

    A little bit more polishing before I start on the hinges. Here Iím polishing the edges where that little defect was in an earlier picture. All gone now. I use a piece of timber clamped overhanging the workbench so I can work around the edges without having to rest a polished surface on anything. Because the sides of the lid are small I only work on a side for a very short time then move on to the next side.


    1637FB50-B897-4169-9396-2F342A1689B3.jpeg



    OK - enough of that for now. Moving on to the heart-stopping bit - fitting the hinges. Iím using Andrew Crawfordís smartHinges. The hinge rebates are cut at the router table using an 8mm spiral downcut bit to avoid chipping the edge of the rebate. Alex S gave me an excellent tip saying he makes two small cuts with a Japanese saw at the points where the router bit will enter the timber. Given that weíre using 12mm timber and making an 8mm rebate there is only 2mm of solid timber either side of the rebate and it is extremely easy to snap off the leading edges unless you make these two small cuts to relieve the stress the router brings.

    You will see in the pics below that I use a low MDF fence when routing the hinges. This is just in case the box sides are out of true at all. A higher fence would then shift the hinge rebate by making it relative to the outermost part of the box side rather than to the edge where the top and bottom are divided.

    Since I use smartHinges on most of my boxes I have a small positioning Ďjigí - a piece of 12mm timber with a hinge rebate cut in the appropriate position.


    3FD7F77E-7BAD-4D5A-9152-A3FC517118AB.jpeg

    I put this over the router then raise the bit until it just kisses the rebate, then bring the fence in until it just touches the positioning jig.

    F6FCC692-5B51-4F38-B004-9547B4EB388C.jpeg

    Finally I push the jig piece until the router bit is at the end of the rebate (the rounded end) then set set a stop against the end of the jig.

    7E442112-99C9-4510-8E83-E33E67F5B717.jpeg


    Note that Iíve added some layers of blue tape to the sides of the jig - this spaces the fence further away to allow for the thickness of the ebony macassar veneer.

    Two cuts are made with the stop block to the left of the bit (the left side hinge gain on the body of the box and the right side hinge gain on box top) then the stop is moved the same distance to the other side of the bit and the remaining two cuts made. Take great care when cutting the two rebates where the lid or box moves from right to left. Because this is a climb cut the router bit wants to push the workpiece away from the fence with disastrous results. It is very important to keep quite a lot of pressure against the fence to avoid ugly torn edges.

    Warning! This sounds simple but it does require care. After setting up the fence, bit height and stop I ALWAYS make several test cuts on scrap to Ďdial iní the last tiny adjustments. Yes, itís a pain but nothing like the pain of when the hinges donít align (smile).

    If Spinankut, the ancient god of routing, is smiling on you the hinges should fit the resulting rebates perfectly.

    DC8AC577-60E9-4B6B-BEF5-4226F48BAAE9.jpeg

    I didnít take pictures of drilling pilot holes etc but essentially the process was to test fit the hinges without screws to see that the top and bottom aligned properly. The screw holes were drilled using a Vix-type self-centring bit, some #3 steel screws were given a little wax by rubbing against a candle (the screws, that is) and the hinges fitted with the steel screws. The steel screws help cut the thread and prevent the final brass screws from breaking off.

    Once the box has been checked for alignment (with screws in place) the steel screws are removed and replaced with brass ones. If I need to fit and remove the hinges a few times to get everything correct I will drop a little Titebond into the bottom of the screw holes using an hypodermic syringe before the final fitting.

    OK - a big day. More later.

    Best regards,

    Brian



  11. #25
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Auckland New Zealand
    Posts
    140

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    Another lovely box Brian, I always enjoy reading your build posts, and this one doesn't disappointment. Keep it up [emoji16][emoji106]

  12. #26
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Coffs Harbour
    Posts
    812

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    Hi Brian, thats a very informative post there, and I like your idea of that positioning jig. I have been using the way Andrew does it on his video, but often I am always that smidgeon out, which proves a real pain. For the stop block I use a length of steel pipe like Andrew does in his video, find you get less sawdust build up as opposed to a timber stop. But what do you mean by "dial in" for any last minute final adjustments? and how do you make test cuts on scrap without fitting hinges to the actual box?

    Paul

  13. #27
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    534

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    Thanks, guys!

    Paul, I haven’t looked at Andrew’s video, but I remember the pipe from my last visit. The “other” end of the pipe is connected to the dust extractor. It didn’t work as well as I expected as some of the shavings are not in the direct path of the air flow. My dust collection is from under the router table - again not perfect but I clean up before each cut so it seems to work.

    Sorry if I was unclear. Once I set up the height, fence and stop block i do test cuts on a piece of stock exactly the same thickness as the box sides - in fact usually from the same piece of timber. I’m making the cut exactly as if it is the box side and not scrap.

    My aim is to get the hinge sitting with the centre of the hinge pin in line with the end of the test piece (so it will sit like that when I make the cut on the box. With the depth I’m aiming for half the depth of the hinge knuckle when closed so the lid will sit flat. Actually a very little less than that so when the hinge is in place there will be the smallest of gaps at the back - perhaps the thickness of a piece of photocopy paper.

    If the hinge rebate is not deep enough there will be an ugly gap at the back. If it is too deep the box will bind at the back and not close properly. If in doubt I’d err on the side of too shallow then get the depth bang on with a small hand router plane.

    When I start using a new hinge type I make a lot of test cuts on scrap, fitting the hinges between two pieces so I’m sure of the depth. I like to be absolutely happy before making the final cuts. No “that should be OK” An engineer friend of mine uses the expression “Perfection is the starting point”.

    Hope this helps, Paul.

    Brian

  14. #28
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Leopold, Victoria
    Age
    61
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    3,289

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    I like your friend's expression and I see you have taken it as gospel. It is great to see the effort you go to to make sure everything is as perfect as possible and your clear explanations of how you achieve it.
    Cheers,
    Dallas

  15. #29
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Sydney Upper North Shore
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    3,125

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    Great write up Brian - thanks.

    I haven’t used Hard Shellac but I’ve being reading up on it as I have some projects coming up and it sounds, and looks like it will do the job.

    Do you thoroughly wash your rubber out with IMS between uses so it doesn’t set hard ?

    Cheers

  16. #30
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    Apr 2014
    Location
    Melbourne
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    534

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    Hi Lappa,

    No, don’t do anything except use the rubber, put it in an airtight container like a small jam jar, put in about a teaspoonful of IMS then screw the lid tight. I’ve left mine like that for 3 months while I went overseas and it was fine when I came back.

    There are lots of good (and bad) videos on YouTube about French polishing. I recommend Peter Gedrys
    YouTube and also this one: YouTube

    The best advice I could give you is to watch these videos then make up a couple of test boards and practise on these. Your carefully made project is not the time to experiment

    Happy polishing!

    Brian

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