camwyn: A six-drawer wooden dresser with bronze-black metal knobs. (furniture)
And the bed is done!

I still have to do the nightstand up, but I'm going to give it a day or two before I work on that- or maybe wait until after Easter, just to let the room air out. If you wanna see the whole process to date, it's under my furniture finishing project on Tumblr.

I'm not entirely sure about the bed being completely complete, mind. There was a whole set of unused screws that I haven't figured out what to do with, and I got under the bed to look for holes and/or points to put them. I'm gonna sleep in the bed tonight and see how it holds up and if there's a problem I'll know- and tomorrow or later in the week I can go to Bostonwood and look at the showroom bed to see if it's screwed together, and if so, see where it has screws that I hadn't placed on mine.

Meanwhile I also made soap last night. It's in the closet curing now- has to sit for several weeks before it's really finished. I cut a sliver off the bars to test, though, and it sudses up nicely. Hopefully this is a good sign.
camwyn: A six-drawer wooden dresser with bronze-black metal knobs. (furniture)
Got the underparts of the bed stained last night and left them to dry. I was down to the literal dregs of the can of stain by the time it was over (does 'the sludgy yuk at the bottom of the liquid' count as dregs if it's not a beverage?), which made for some abnormally dark parts, but given that by that time I was slapping stain on the underside of the mattress slats, I'm not too fussed about the color there. One of the side pieces that might be visible came out a little blotchy for some reason, though. That's a bit weird, as I'm pretty sure I used the stain prep base layer on that area specifically to avoid blotching. Hopefully I can obscure that a bit with a few layers of shellac.

... I realize that up until the mid-to-late twentieth century shellac was a widespread and completely normal substance to be using as a wood finish, but I still find it obscurely entertaining that I'm covering my furniture with something so old school that it's literally alcohol and stuff that came out of a bug's rear end.

(Took some pictures before and after the staining. Will post them once I've got some more from the shellacking process.)
camwyn: A six-drawer wooden dresser with bronze-black metal knobs. (furniture)
The headboard's nearly done! Ultrafine sanding and waxing tomorrow, and then I can start on the rest of the bed- which shouldn't take long, I'm not French polishing that- and then worry about how to get it all moved into my room and the mattress out of the way for long enough to disassemble the old bed and put the new together. Then I can work on the nightstand to go with it!

(More pictures are in my photobucket library for the project, as I tried to document each major step along the way.)
camwyn: A six-drawer wooden dresser with bronze-black metal knobs. (furniture)
Work resumed on the headboard this weekend after all. I'll stain the rest of the bed later, but for now I've been working on French polishing the top and sides- at least as best I can do without the use of pumice to fill in the pores and mineral or olive oil to lubricate the pad, since the oil didn't much seem to help with the nightstand.

This covers from ‘hey, it’s been stained!’ up through ‘hey, I just spent half an hour or more applying very thin layers of shellac to one part of the headboard, whee!’.

Further progress.

I did more work on it that wasn't photographed, mostly on the sides and front. I'll take pictures to document that work before starting on any more layers. I should probably also note that the shellac I use is specifically amber-colored, and that Zinsser shellac also comes in clear, and that I have no idea whether this is 1-pound or 2-pound or even what those numbers mean, but apparently they're important if you do French polishing the proper way. All I know is, I saw 'shellac' on the shelf at Home Depot when all of this started and thought 'hey, low VOC content and it's from a renewable source*!', and it kinda snowballed from there.

*This little lady, specifically. Shellac is the secretions of the lac insect, and as such is currently the only major industrial product primarily derived from bugs.
camwyn: A six-drawer wooden dresser with bronze-black metal knobs. (furniture)
I spent most of yesterday sanding things. The bed proper and the headboard took up quite a few pieces- two separate leg pieces, two separate rail bits, three pieces for the slats where the mattress will rest, and then the whole headboard. Most of the stuff just got 220 grit sandpaper, but the parts I figured might be visible are going to be subjected to French polish technique so I went over those with:

- 220-grit sandpaper
- fine grit sponge (equivalent to 320 grit sandpaper)
- extra fine grit sponge (up to around 400 grit, I think)
- really fine grit sponge (went up to about 500 grit, I think)
- a clean painter's rag to remove the sawdust
- a damp rag to raise some of the wood hairs
- 220-grit again to remove what felt like the hairs
- clean rag again
- a tack cloth this time to remove more of the sawdust
- a rag moistened in denatured alcohol to remove the rest of the sawdust

Worth noting: did you take high school chemistry? Did they teach you that if you have to sniff a sample you shouldn't put it under your nose, but put it near your nose and wave the fumes towards your face with your hand so you wouldn't get smacked with the worst of the stuff if it turned out to be painful or dangerous? I did. And yet I somehow forgot to do this when I was checking the rag to make sure it had enough alcohol on it. Don't do that.

Anyway, after the alcohol rag I let things dry a bit, then came back and put the water-based pre-stain conditioner on the headboard and both of the leg pieces. (There's only so much room to dry these things out properly, so the slat pieces and the rails will get done later.) I was happy when I left the room and spent some time playing XCOM: Enemy Within. Then I went back in and...

Well, the conditioner was nice and all, but it seemed to have raised wood hairs again. I nearly cried. I'd been wearing a respirator mask to keep the sawdust out all day, and my arms were sore in places, and I'd gotten the wood as smooth as bone, and now this? I did my best to go over things again with the 220-grit paper, then got out the stain and a staining pad and dosed the headboard and the legs anyway and wiped the extra off fifteen minutes later. I'll see if it needs sanding again tonight before I start anything with the shellac, but by the time the staining was done yesterday it was past midnight and the front room smelled like New Jersey.

(Note: ordinarily I wouldn't fuss over this, but I wanted the headboard smooth enough to do proper French polish on. I still do. We'll see how it goes.)

At least the majority of the sanding is out of the way, but good Lord that's a pain in the tuchus, finding that out. No pictures yet. I'll try and get some tonight.
camwyn: A six-drawer wooden dresser with bronze-black metal knobs. (furniture)
New pictures of the night table project on my tumblr- here and here.
camwyn: A six-drawer wooden dresser with bronze-black metal knobs. (furniture)
Didn't get any work done on the new furniture last night. I was too exhausted when I got home from work to do anything much more complex than mixing pumpkin puree with Shula's cat food- I'd underestimated the amount of caffeine in Starbucks iced coffee and consumed two of them late in the afternoon on Sunday, and sleep was not my friend that night... anyway. I'll be working on the nightstand when I get home tonight, I think. I've already sanded it a good bit and put on the stain prep. I'll probably go over it with the fine sanding sponge (equivalent to 320-400 grit sandpaper) when I've put the stain on and let it dry, since I plan on French polishing the thing and that's supposed to be part of the process. I made a point of buying a particulate respirator mask at the hardware store this weekend, because the finer grits result in a LOT more sawdust and I think my lungs have had enough crap to deal with, thank you very much.

Will post links to 'before' pics shortly. My browser's being annoying.

ETA: Arrival day pictures behind the cut. )

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