Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sir Isaac's Revenge

While I'm waiting for the heavier-grit sandpaper to get here so I can continue with the stair treads and 2nd floor hall floor, I've kicked myself up to see if I can get going on the shellac for the trim.

First thing that entailed, late this afternoon, was cleaning up my workbench.  It looked so pretty and clear!  For about five minutes.  Then it was messy time again, filtering the bug bits and stick residue from the Kusmi #2 shellac I mixed up the other day.  No, I didn't make the mistake of blowing on it to make it go through or anything Newtonian like that.  I just had a bad aim when I first tipped the mixing jar to pour the solution through the cheesecloth in the strainer.

No problem.  I had newspaper down and didn't lose too much.  Strained the shellac twice, once into the spare jar and then again into the original mixing jar, which I wiped down well first.  Lots more residue than in the Kusmi #1, I noticed.

But Sir Isaac had his little joke later, when I was mixing up a tinted sample of what is supposed to be a warm darkish walnut.  I bought a couple of little syringes the other day, thinking that would give me better control over the dye amounts than trying to dip it out with the teaspoon set.  So I drew a little of the mahogany color up in one of them, thinking I'd decant just a 1/4 teaspoon or so into my yogurt cup of 1.5 lb. cut shellac.


Oh, yeah, I got dye into the shellac, all right.  Also all over the workbench, on the shelf above, on my scratch pad, on my t-shirt, on my left arm, and a few drops on the finish sample I made for the floors the other day.  Though it should have been out of range.  Happily, the shirt is old and navy blue, I was wearing disposible gloves, and the solution on my arm came off easily with some fresh denatured alcohol.  And unlike some people I could mention, I did not get any on my face.  I checked.

Confident that that little contretemps was past, I thoughtlessly proceeded to try to eject the rest of the mahogany dye from the syringe.  Spplaaaaatttt!!!!  Well, I tried doing it more gently! 

This time, most of it ended up in the yogurt cup-- just before it hit me that I wasn't planning to put that much red color in there.  So I added the equivalent (I think) of dark walnut.  Nope, not warm enough.  OK, more mahogany. 

With that I'm seeing what it will do on the back side of one of my oak balusters.  Not anywhere near dark enough yet (it looks way darker in the photos), and I don't want to lay on more than three coats.  Color's nice, but too much like the floors.

Maybe I should leave the trim shellac a 2 pound cut and dilute it, if at all, with the dye.  I think I need more coverage.  And a bit more walnut.

I know for sure I'm going to have to invest in another, narrower, shellac brush.  The 2" one I have is too wide for those balusters.  Got drips all down the sides, meaning some stripping will be in order.

Never mind.  It's easily done.

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