Shameless Commerce

April 23, 2008

It’s what we do of course. Try to make a living out of this stuff. So, to work:

I want to alert you to some of classes both for Spring and Summer that we have coming up on Finishing.

Now I understand how furniture makers feel about the subject. Open the can, oh right, read the can, close the can up first, read the instructions, re-open the can, put on the finish, complain about how that’s not what you wanted, and then try to fix it, and then give up. All the while making up new excuses for that color or shine when you show the piece to people. I know how this works for furniture makers. You love finishes; you hate finishing.

First, there is my lecture on 3 Simple Finishes come this May 27th. In it I hope to demystify some of the confusion about oils and varnishes and shellacs that the finish manufacturers love to manufacture. Just so you’ll open a can and it can start to gel over. There will be lots of useful and practical information on hand applied finishes. It is a 3 hour session, and it is only about hand applied finishes. I’ll lecture in Portland May 27th and then in Seattle at the Woodcraft Supply Store on May 31st.

I also highly recommend Roland Johnson’s Restoration Class this September 8th and then his Finishes Class September 15. Rollie is a spray guy, a lacquer and varnish guy, a restorer with 25 years of experience tearing things apart and then rebuilding and refinishing them so that they act and look as good as new. This class wowed me last year when we just did the Restoration class because there was so much to be learned. Not just learning about how to knock things apart which is fun of course, but also how old things got built. Figuring out how the makers 50 or 100 years ago put something together. One thing I learned is that finishers aren’t afraid to start over which is what restoration is all about.

Restoration will be the first week: taking an old piece of yours, examining it, figuring out how it went together, what needs fixing, tearing it apart, stripping it, and then putting it back together. Learning about strippers, hide glues, joinery, patching mistakes, fixing broken pieces, veneers, hardware, fabric and leather treatments. It’s great stuff.

The second week will be about finishes, and I can tell you that one week barely scratches the surface of finishes, pun intended. First there is surface prep including sanding, planing, and scraping. A week alone could be spent on colors, glazing, stains, tints, and dyes. The differences between mordants and chemical dyes. How to darken wood, how to lighten it, how to show things, how to hide things. Oh, I forgot filling, grain filling, filling with color added, leveling and detailing. Surface treatments will include oils, varnishes, special mixtures of oils and varnishes including Rollie’s hot mix varnish, lacquers: both brushing and spray lacquers. It’s a huge amount of stuff but it only gets us to the application of a finish.

The killer, what everyone forgets about, [perhaps it’s not forgetting but a willingness to overlook] is that once a finish is put down, then the real work starts, rubbing it out. Giving it the look you’re after from a matte and restrained oil finish to the high gloss of a piano finish and everything in between.

A ton of stuff to cover in these two classes and it’s finishing which is regrettably not like furniture making. It really bears little resemblance to furniture making. Their only point of commonality is that they both use wood. So these classes I recommend highly. Come and learn about the stuff that people will see and touch first, the finish.

Published in: on April 23, 2008 at 9:10 am  Leave a Comment  
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