3 weeks to the day and I’m officially done my first piece of live edge furniture. Since my last post, the majority of the time has been on endless coats of finish on all the pieces. I also still had a fair amount of work on the top to clean up any of the imperfections.
In the past, the majority of my projects have usually been finished up with polyurethane or something very similar. On the last couple projects I’ve been using Arm-R-Seal which is an oil and urethane blend. For this piece, I didn’t want a really plastic’y finish that I find the pure poly will do. I did tons of reading online to see what people finish with and 9 times out of 10 they ended up using a blend of their own. I’ve used linseed oil in the past on my workbench and it is nice to use but it takes quite a while to finish and lets be honest, I just don’t have the patience to wait that long. I don’t have a dedicated finishing area which means my shop is out of commission while I finish. Mixing your own finish though, you can tweak the properties and give a fine tuned finish.
I started off with an equal 1/3 parts of boiled linseed oil, polyurethane and mineral spirits. This was the go-to for most people and I stuck with it for most of the coats except closer to the end. It is a really easy finish to apply because you literally flood it on, let it sit for a couple minutes and then wipe it off. I had to wait about a day in between coats which was definitely a test of patience considering I just wanted to keep working.
I started first on the legs because I still had work on the top to do. This was just after the first coat and the grain popped right away. It has a nice clean finish and isn’t too glossy which is exactly what I was looking for.
I had to fill a handful of small cracks in the piece that didn’t really require anymore bowties and I just used some cold cure epoxy. The finished colour of the epoxy is an amber colour so I needed to tint it to blend in a little nicer. Because a lot of the cracks and imperfections were already almost jet black I decided to mix a black tint into the epoxy. I used an old can of Ebony finish I had from a previous project. This was the first time I’ve used epoxy for filling in any holes but it was a pretty easy thing to accomplish. Because it’s the cold cure epoxy it really gets into all the voids and crevasses nicely. Once this was done I just knocked down the surface roughly with a chisel, sanded it flush and at this time I was also doing the final sanding for the top.
Here is the top with the first coat of finish. I used the same finish with the same proportions as the legs.
I couldn’t resist taking a picture about half way through the finishing process. At this point I changed up the mixture slightly. I put a bit more poly in the mix to build up the finish. By the end, I had put five coats of finish on the entire piece. I will definitely use the mixture again. Even though it takes a while to dry in between coats, I much prefer this finish to the usual all poly finish I normally use. The final step for the legs and stretcher was to apply a wax and buff out the finish. I didn’t do this on the top and just used it on the base.
Now that I’m starting to make some nicer furniture I feel like the pictures really need to sell the product. I bit the bullet and bought a couple cheap photo lights and a sheet of fabric so I can take nicer photos of my work. I still need to get better at this part (as well as iron out the wrinkles in my backdrop) but I figured it’s still better than a dirty workshop as a backdrop for my finished pieces.