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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I decided to make a wooden basket out of birdseye maple and mahogany for a Marine Captain.

I had a local engraver to do my engraving prior to assembling the pieces.

Finishing: I have made a little modification from my usual procedures. I applied ZAR semi-gloss mixed 50/50 with mineral finish to the inside prior to assembly. After assembly I sanded to 180 grit with a random orbital sander. I then applied 4 coats of my usual mixture of 1-part Zar oil-base semi-gloss polyurethane and 1-part mineral spirits. I do not sand between coats. I apply the finish with a blue paper shop towel cut into 1/4 sheet and folded into 1/4 give about a 2" by 2" piece. I wait 8 hours between coats.

After 4-coats I apply another coat with a 1" foam brush and put the poly mixture onto a 600 grit wet/dry sand paper on a sanding block or random orbital sander. I rub this in (3 or 4 strokes per piece of wood) then wipe it off with a sheet of the blue shop towel. After 8-hours I apply a coat of 1-part Zar oil-base semi-gloss poly, 1-part Zar oil-base gloss poly, and 2-part mineral spirits. I apply this the same way as before with the blue shop towel. With the gloss poly mixed in the shine is greater. After 8-hours. I applied a second coat of this mixture. Several people said the finish is the best they have seen in my projects. Guess I'll keep using this one.

Malcolm / Kentucky USA
 

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I find applying finish, even stain, with a paper towel really does a great job. It seems to lay on the stain or finish gently and thoroughly. I run the air filter overnight before finishing to clear all dust out of the air, and find it helps prevent drifting particles from landing on the project while wet. I also have found that a pe-stain helps with even staining.

I do my sanding before and after staining, and my secret weapon is using the flexible 3M sanding sheets that are both flexible and extremely long lasting. I seldom sand to more than 220. I also use the shaped sanding blocks (from Rockler), including both the curved and flat blocks. The 3M material conforms beautifully to the block's inside and outside curves, and with the triangular flat blocks, provides a fine point for the corners of the frames I often make for my wife's paintings.

The pictures are of the sanding blocks and my favorite Aussie filler (Timber Mate) that takes stain beautifully. That filler often allows me to get corners looking perfect, even though there is a slight warp or twist in the stock. It also does not shrink so once you apply and smooth it, it stays that way and covers lots of small errors. The sandpaper picture is there because I can never remember the name of the stuff.

Timber mate comes in a variety of types to match the wood stock you are using. I think that's why it finishes exactly matched to your stock.

Finishing is one of the most daunting parts of learning woodworking, and detailed posts like yours really help newbies get started. It can be daunting when you consider all the methods and materials out there.
 

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I decided to make a wooden basket out of birdseye maple and mahogany for a Marine Captain.

I had a local engraver to do my engraving prior to assembling the pieces.

Finishing: I have made a little modification from my usual procedures. I applied ZAR semi-gloss mixed 50/50 with mineral finish to the inside prior to assembly. After assembly I sanded to 180 grit with a random orbital sander. I then applied 4 coats of my usual mixture of 1-part Zar oil-base semi-gloss polyurethane and 1-part mineral spirits. I do not sand between coats. I apply the finish with a blue paper shop towel cut into 1/4 sheet and folded into 1/4 give about a 2" by 2" piece. I wait 8 hours between coats.

After 4-coats I apply another coat with a 1" foam brush and put the poly mixture onto a 600 grit wet/dry sand paper on a sanding block or random orbital sander. I rub this in (3 or 4 strokes per piece of wood) then wipe it off with a sheet of the blue shop towel. After 8-hours I apply a coat of 1-part Zar oil-base semi-gloss poly, 1-part Zar oil-base gloss poly, and 2-part mineral spirits. I apply this the same way as before with the blue shop towel. With the gloss poly mixed in the shine is greater. After 8-hours. I applied a second coat of this mixture. Several people said the finish is the best they have seen in my projects. Guess I'll keep using this one.

Malcolm / Kentucky USA
Mr. Malcolm, I wish I could see the difference in the new finish. I am sure it's first class. It's a lot of work and it takes a lot of time to finish a box like you do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
To bend the handles for my baskets, I cut them to length and width, and sand them. I drill the hole for attaching to the basket. I don't drill the same distance from the end on both side in case I make a mistake in attaching I can always rotate the handle to the other side. I put 5 or 6 into a 2" by 24" PVC pipe that has a cap over the one end. I stand the pipe up in a trashcan. I bring a pan of water to a boil and pour it into the pipe. I put a shot-glass over the end to keep the heat in and the handles from floating out. After 45 minutes or so I pour the water back into the pan and bring it back to a boil. I do this 3 or 4 times. I have forms that I bend the handles around. Sometimes they break. I leave them in the form for a day or so then transfer them to a different form for several days. Then take them out and let them set for a few week to full dry. Malcolm / Kentucky USA
 
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