I worked for a long time on cleaning up the cut out of my practice board. I found my drawknife and spokeshave to be particularly successful at shaving up to the lines of the template. I know it would likely be easier to use a jigsaw or bandsaw to cut out the design. But I’m a handtool type of gal, and there is something about seeing those curls of birch springing through the top of the spokeshave after a perfect angle of attack that makes my day.
Lots of work to be done, but eventually, I had a sufficient cutout of the board, and was happy with the symmetry and concave! Next was sanding. Many people seem to find this step mundane, but I love it! It’s relatively mindless so I get lots of time to think and let myself relax into the methodical motion of sanding along the grain.
Lots of sanding later and I had an exceptionally smooth board that was ready for some staining and graphic design. This was the really fun part! I had done lots of planning and research, since I haven’t done much dabbling in paint or pretty designs! I love lumber, I love wood. It’s amazing to me the difference in every piece of wood that you purchase, and because every piece is different every piece of work will be different and you never really know how the end product will appear. Sometimes, the density of the grain or the knots in the wood give you a hard time – lucky for me they had some good baltic birch at the lumber yard, and the wood looked fantastic.
With wood this pretty, how could I cover it up with paint? I had heard that staining designs into wood was difficult as a result of bleeding and lack of absolute control, but this was a practice board so why not? I had done a good deal of staining in the past so I was confident that I could pull off at least some simple pinstripes.
I chose a red mahogany gel stain. The gel stain I hoped would be easier to control and not seep under the tape as much as a more liquid stain would.
Laziness and impatience plagued this step, as I only had two inch painters tape and didn’t want two inch pinstripes. I cut the tape in half with a straight edge and razor instead of simply popping out to buy the proper tape. The result was some uneven lines, and some minor bleeding. I figured with proper tape this could be easily fixed. I wasn’t sure what people were talking about. This seemed relatively easy.
Look at the grain! GORGEOUS
The back of the board didn’t stain as nicely. Earlier in the build, I mentioned that I had to pry open the boards to squeeze in more glue after it delaminated. It was a messier process than it needed to be after I decided that this was a practice board. Stain doesn’t adhere to glue – regardless of how much it has been sanded down. That shit seeps in.
At this stage, I started to devise plans to make the board look a bit rustic. Driftwood seemed like a good example of what I was thinking – and I drew my ideas with that picture of a washed up board in mind.
While I waited for it to dry – I finished cutting out the second board that I had pressed while cutting out the first board. From what I could tell it was perfectly laminated. No bubbles to be found!
I had learned my lesson from the last board, so before staining this one, I purchased some one inch green painters tape and pressed it down with the flat end of a razor blade. I stained this board a bright red mahogany as well – and while I waited for THAT to dry, I sanded my first board with a rough grain to reveal parts of the original wood. Rustic result. I was happy!
To see the contrast in the sanding I’ll show you a picture of both.
Don’t they look great?! More to come!