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Finish Work Methods for an Inlaid Picture Frame

Finish Work Methods for Lasting Beauty


Finish Work Methods Include Surface Preparation


Completed Cosmati Picture Frame - Finish Work MethodsFinish work methods can make all the difference in a woodworker’s project. One of the major challenges for the beginning woodworker, intermediate woodworker, or even an experienced longtime woodworker can be the ability to achieve a satisfactory wood finish. Surface preparation is a key ingredient to achieving the desired results. In this woodworking article we will focus on these important woodworking skills. These finish work methods include the use of a card scraper and also the use of sandpaper with a sanding block.


The Value of Using a Card Scraper


Cosmati Picture Frame - Finish Work Methods - Card ScraperWhy include the card scraper in the finish work methods? The card scraper gives the woodworker a controlled way of leveling the surface of his woodworking project. In the woodworking video, the woodworker uses the card scraper to level the decorative wood inlay banding to the surface of the picture frame. Not only is the woodworker taking thin shavings off of the banding, he is also cleaning up all the glue lines and any excess glue that may be on the surface. It is critically important to remove this dried glue prior to applying the finish. If not removed, the glue will stick out like a sore thumb once the chosen finish is applied. So, it is imperative that we take care of that now before it becomes an issue.


Control the Wood Being Removed


Another important reason the card scraper is included in these finish work methods is because the decorative wood inlay banding is of only 3/32″ thick and the banding is inlaid and glued into a shallow depth of a 1/16″ dado. The card scraper allows the woodworker to remove thin shavings of wood at this time while eliminating the need for any heavy sanding. In this way the woodworker can carefully control the amount of material being removed. We definitely want to make sure that the inlay banding is not sanded through.


Why Sand with a Sanding Block? 


Cosmati Picture Frame - Finish Work Methods Sandpaper is used with a sanding block. This woodworking technique allows for the woodworker to comfortably grip the sandpaper. This method also provides the woodworker with a great means for applying an even pressure to the picture frame surface. Keep in mind that we are looking for a smooth, flat surface for our woodworking project.  Depending on how well the work is performed with the card scraper and the type of wood being used for the project, it is likely that the initial sanding can begin with 100 to 200 grit sandpaper. In the case of this picture frame, the woodworker continued to prepare the wood surface up to 400 grit sandpaper.


How to Check for Glue Stain


A portion of the finish work methods includes applying a small amount of paint thinner to a rag and then applying it to the picture frame. Why is this an important element of the finish work methods? There are two parts to this answer. The wiping of the woodworking project with paint thinner helps to clean up any sawdust that may remain from the sanding. This cleaning technique will also show us any glue that may may be left on the surface of our project. If we see any glue stain showing at this time, we still have some more work to do before we apply the wood finish. If any glue stain remains, we need to remove it with further sanding.


Sanding Sealer, Cherry Wood, and Blotching


These finish work methods lead us up to the important moment of applying the finish. In the case of the woodworker’s picture frame, he chose to apply a coat of sanding sealer to the cherry picture frame. Cherry is prone to blotching and the sealer will help to remedy this issue.


Applying the Lacquer


Cosmati Picture frame 086After the sanding sealer has been applied and given time to adequately dry, it is time to perform a light sanding. This sanding will help by giving the surface some “tooth.” In other words, when the lacquer is sprayed onto the freshly sanded surface, the lacquer will have a good surface to adhere to. (Be sure to remove any and all sanding dust prior to applying the lacquer.) The woodworker can then proceed to build up layers of lacquer to achieve a desirable wood finish for his or her woodworking project.


Watch more YouTube woodworking how to videos online.

…Your comments are welcomed…

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

Woodturning How to Video – Wood Turn a Segmented Knob on a Wood Lathe

Woodturning How To Video – Wood Turn a Segmented Knob


Woodturning how to video - segmented woodturning - turned knob with tenonThis woodturning how to video shows how to wood turn a segmented knob on a wood lathe using basic turning tools. In this woodturning project a parting tool, roughing gouge, and spindle gouge with a fingernail grind were used to wood turn the glue up. The woods used for the glue up were hard maple and African mahogany.

Woodturning how to video - segmented woodturning blockThe YouTube woodturning how to video shows a woodturner tightening the segmented glue up into the lathe chuck and then turning a tenon. The tenon is then reversed and tightened within the lathe chuck so that the woodturner can woodturn the main body. Notice how the designs in wood appear as the woodturning takes shape.



Woodturning how to video - tenonA star pattern of maple emerges in the woodturning how to video as the woodturning project progresses. Watch how the  two laminated woods contrast one another as the woodturner rounds out the knob. Since the star pattern is solid throughout the wooden block, the white tips of the maple star appear as white lines between the arched African mahogany on the outside perimeter of the segmented woodturning.



Woodturning how to video - Segmented woodturningVarious grits of sandpaper are used to sand and smooth the wooden project of the woodturning how to video. The woodturner starts with 120 grit and progresses to 320 grit wet & dry sandpaper. Afterwards, the woodturning project is nice and smooth to the touch.




Woodturning how to video - Segmented woodturningFinally, the woodturning how to video shows how a wood finish of Tried and True varnish oil finish is applied. The lathe chuck still has a firm grip on the tenon, the wood lathe is turned on, and the finish is a applied using a paper towel. Only a small amount of the oil finish is necessary for a few reasons. The oil varnish simply goes a long way and the segmented woodturning is small. Also, the woodturner wants to avoid any splatter of oil as it is applied to the woodturning project. For this reason it is still a very good idea to work safe and always wear a faceshield during the application of the wood finish.


Watch more YouTube woodturning how to videos online.

…Your comments are welcomed…

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

23…Let’s Build a Jewelry Box…Part 6…Joinery

“If you do not expect it, you will not find the unexpected, for it is hard to find and difficult.”
…Heraclitus 500 B.C.

This woodworking online episode is part of the Let’s Build Series

Woodworking Tips and Techniques:
1.) Creating a wedged tenon joint.

We continue with Part 6 of our arts and crafts wood project, how to make a jewelry box with Koa wood veneerdrill bit, . We begin our joinery process by finding the center on the wooden box lid. To do this we use a straight edge of a combination square to mark diagonally across the corners of the lid. Once the center is located we line it up to the center of the brad point bit at the drill press. To secure the lid of the jewelry box for the boring we adjust the hold down clamps and sliding stop blocks of the drill press table. This makes for a safe, reliable, and accurate method of drilling. The drill bit we have chosen is slightly larger than the tenon of the handle because the tenon will be expanding inside of the mortise.

A wedged tenon joint.

We are making a wedged tenon joint. The mortise and tenon will be very tight once the wedge is set in place and pressed to fit. At the workbench we set the jewelry box handle in the woodworking vice and proceed to bore a 1/16″ hole through the tenon to where the tip of the wedge will be pressed. Next, we saw into the center of the tenon with a thin kerfed japanese saw. Our cut is made across the grain and down to the hole we just bored.

Now, we make the wedge. We could cut a wedge on the band saw however, we are working quickly today due to the 103 degree desert heat. In this case we pick up a leftover piece of Koa veneer and flip on the switch of the disc sander. Within a few seconds we have created a wedge that will work perfectly for our joinery. We then cut the wedge to length and focus on taping around both sides of the mortise with green tape. This will protect the Koa wood from getting excess glue.

We are using cyanoacrylate glue as the adhesive for our wooden joint since we are working quickly. We spread the super glue at its location on the lid and also on the tenon. The bottom of the handle and saw kerf also receive a dab of glue. Now we place the tenon into the mortise and carefully set the tip of the wedge into the tenon’s kerf.

The next step is an important procedure in this process. We place the assembly of the lid, handle, and wedge into the workbench vise and once lined up we slowly crank the handle of the vise to press-fit the wedge into place. This locks the mortise and tenon and creates a very secure joint.

Some woodworkers may be inclined to tap the wedge home with a mallet. This may work some of the time however, it can create problems as well. Keep in mind that when hammering the wedge there is vibration taking place that can lead to misalignment of the joinery. Vibration can lead to cracking of the wood as well. However, we line up the joinery in the vice and then securely squeeze the wedge into the tenon for a pressed fit. .

Notice in the video that a spray accelerator was used to set the cyanoacrylate glue on the lid’s bottom. This further helped to speed up the process so that the exposed joint could be sanded and prepared for the finish.

We choose to use a Watco natural danish oil for our finish. We apply multiple coats of the oil to bring out the beautiful chatoyance of the premium curly Koa. Note: (Be sure to safely dispose of oily rags to prevent fires.)

We have completed the Koa wood veneered jewelry box utilizing a variety of woodworking tools that include the band saw, vacuum press, table saw, jointer, open drum sander, drill press, wood lathe, and the disc sander.

Our accuracy and skill level for this woodworking project has been improved by the use of various table saw sleds. We have used the cross cut sled, dedicated miter sled, and the flat board miter sled. We have also applied a few woodworking tips for this wood project. These tips include the use of tape to hinge our miter joints when gluing the joints. We also used blue and green tape to protect the wood from the excess glue. Furthermore, we used paper shims against the stop block of the cross cut sled to achieve pin point accuracy when fitting wooden components of the jewelry box.

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

Segmented Woodturning video of the 9″ x 12″ Vase

Segmented Woodturning – 9″ x 12″ Vase

Segmented woodturning has taken its hold once again. In this woodturning video we are back at the wood lathe with our turning tools working on a new woodworking project, a segmented vase comprised of 18 rings and 432 segments. You’ll see the segmented woodturning process from the very beginning along with edited clips displaying the various wood gouges chosen to cut and shape this decorative vase of mahogany, cherry, maple, and walnut.

When the actual segmented woodturning is completed we will break out the sandpaper and illustrate the sanding process and prepare for finishing the vase. Initially, Sealcoat shellac sealer is used on the vase (inside and out). Once the sanding sealer has dried it is then time for a light sanding with 400 grit sandpaper. Next the dust is removed and we are ready for an application of Arm-R-Seal satin finish. Numerous applications of the wipe on satin finish are applied to the  vase once it is completely prepared.

(Note: all segmented wood has been glued with the same grain direction to allow for wood movement.)

Segmented Vase 9 x 12 Mahogany, cherry, walnut, maple - Segmented woodturning

Watch more Woodturning Videos:

Let’s Turn Salt and Pepper Mills – How to Woodturn

Segmented Wood Turning – Fruit Bowl…part 1

Segmented Woodturning – Fruit Bowl – part 2

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

Segmented Woodturning – Vase of Mahogany, Maple, Cherry, & Walnut

Segmented Woodturning – a Vase

Segmented woodturning - Segmented woodturning Vases

This segmented woodturning is a polychromatic vase that has 18 rings and 432 segments. In this case, the selected woods are mahogany, maple, cherry, and walnut. As you can see in the photo, the vase bottom is secured by means of a tightened lathe chuck while the tailstock holds a live center that is inserted into the mouth of the vase. Notice how the vertically aligned spacers of each segmented ring offer an eye catching effect to the overall design of the vase. Also, take a look at how the choice of wood tones contrast one another to highlight and accentuate the piece.

Segmented Woodturning - a Vase with a polychromatic wood design

The segmented woodturning pictured to the left looks pretty rough. When we start out in segmented woodturning and we see the wood project in this rough stage, we have to scratch our heads a bit and ask “Is this worth it?” However, once the turning tools are applied to the spinning vase, the beauty of the wood design starts to reveal itself to the woodturner. This when our previous question is answered with a “Yes.”

A well chosen wood lathe and a few lathe tools go a long way for the enjoyment of wood turning. Segmented woodturning offers a great way of utilizing scrap wood left over in the woodworking workshop while creating wonderful designs in this woodcraft. The wood chosen for my woodworking projects are all hardwoods and the wood finish chosen is often of a satin finish or a soft natural finish.

Watch these Woodturning Videos:

Let’s Turn Salt and Pepper Mills – How to Woodturn

Segmented Wood Turning – Fruit Bowl…part 1

Segmented Woodturning – Fruit Bowl – part 2

Segmented Woodturning – 9″ x 12″ Vase

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

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