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Archive for the ‘Featured Specials’ Category

3 Wonderful Sapele Wood Finishes for Better Woodworking Projects

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

Sapele lumber with finish

Sapele is a versatile and beautiful wood that can take many kinds of finish. Here it’s shown, top to bottom: raw, dyed & stained, clear sealer/lacquer, and Danish oil with lacquer

It’s easy to love sapele lumber, especially for furniture and cabinetry. The wood is well-mannered when it comes to machining and working it with hand tools, making it a pleasure to use in woodworking projects. But it’s also downright beautiful with flowing ribbons of stripy figure trailing from end to end of the boards. Plus, the boards tend to be big, and utterly consistent.

Somewhat like mahogany in appearance – both the color and grain can make it tough to tell a difference – but it’s a bit harder and has more golden bronze color than mahogany. And sapele is best when it’s quarter sawn because of the ribbon grain that appears.

See all sapele lumber on sale >>>

So how do you make the ribbon stripe figure look its best? There are a few ways, and in the video above we show you three pretty good methods.

  1. A simple clear finish of SealCoat and spray lacquer.
  2. A coloring method using light dye, some sealer, a quick stain, then also spray lacquer
  3. A natural Danish oil also topped off with spray lacquer

Each method gives a different look, but as far as making the ribbons jump out the most, I think it’s with the Danish oil and lacquer.

Check out the video, and decide what’s best for you. Read more about these finishing processes below.



Finishing Method #1: Clear Sealer and Lacquer

clear finish on sapele

One of our favorite sealers around here is Zinsser SealCoat. It’s a dewaxed shellac that’s crystal clear. The reasons for this sealer are varied, but the best of SealCoat is that it’s a universal sealer. Any protective topcoat can go on top of it, solvent based or water based. SealCoat in particular dries exceptionally fast, which means you can sand it as quick as 10 minutes after applying it, working up 3 or 4 coats between pulling in the driveway after work and sitting down for dinner. SealCoat also sands smooth with just a couple of easy strokes, and the combination of quick-drying and fast-sanding helps you get to a baby-bottom smooth surface rather quickly. In turn, your varnish or lacquer finish that you apply on top of SealCoat has a much easier time going on smoothly. Using sealer helps you achieve a glassy finish with the least amount of elbow grease as possible. To do a simple clear or natural finish on sapele, you’ll be well served to do 3 coats of SealCoat first, sand between each coat, then shoot the final 3 coats with lacquer. You’ll get a beautiful and natural finish.

Finishing Method #2: Dye, Sealer, Stain, Lacquer

sapele with dye and stain

To add color to sapele with a stain, you don’t want to apply an oil pigment stain straight to the raw wood. The stain will actually reduce the shimmer in the ribbon figure, making it dull because it mainly stays on top of the wood. Instead, if you want to color the wood, use this simple process. Using an amber colored dye, thin it to about 20% dye and apply a coat. Once that dries, apply a washcoat of dewaxed shellac. A washcoat is a very thin application of sealer, in this example we thinned the sealer by 25% (1:4 ratio of denatured alcohol to SealCoat). Once the sealer has dried, use an oil stain, the shade you choose depends on the result you’re after. This sample, above, has Zar Merlot #140. Simply wipe the stain on, then wipe it off. Once the stain dries in 12 hours or so, you can then apply a protective top coat. In this case, it’s spray lacquer. But polyurethane or another varnish will work too.

Finishing Method #3: Danish Oil, Lacquer

Danish oil on Sapele

Oil finishes like Danish oil or boiled linseed oil frequently intensify the beauty in certain woods yet offer very little protection from scratches, drink rings, and other hazards around the house. Fortunately, you can apply any good, hard finish on top of these oils once they’re dry—getting the best of both worlds, beauty and protection. That’s certainly the case with ribbon stripe sapele, too. You can see how intense the contrast gets with this recipe. It’s simple to pull it off. Prepare your wood surface as you normally would by sanding to 220 grit or so, then apply the Danish oil just as it says to do on the can. Wipe it onto the surface liberally, wait 30 minutes then wipe off the oil. Unfortunately sapele is a wood that will soak it up unevenly and send little dots and eyes of oil rising back to the wood’s surface. So you’ll need to keep your eye on the oiled wood for a couple of hours and wipe off the dots of oil. Once the oil dries, apply a couple of coats of sanding sealer to get to a glassy smooth surface, then spray 2 or 3 coats of lacquer. The results are stunning.


Great Woodworking Project Plans for $0.10 each? Yes, on WOOD Magazine’s Back-Issue DVD

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

Excellent resource from WOOD Magazine: nearly 1,500 project plans and more on one DVD

As a general rule, maintaining a magazine collection isn’t easy. First, there’s the space problem. Second, there’s the organization problem. Third, there’s always someone in the house who wants to throw an issue or two or more in the trash. And tossing just one does the damage to taint an otherwise perfect collection.

Perhaps the worst problem is finding what you want when you have more than just a fistful of issues to go through. What issue was that dresser? Or desk clock? Or garden bench? Or where’s that bandsaw comparison guide? We just got our copy of the WOOD Magazine back-issue DVD and it appears to solve every one of those problems. Since its price of $150 is no small ding in the woodworking budget, I figure you could appreciate a glimpse into what you get, and possibly a recommendation.

WOOD has put all 27 years of their publication onto one hefty DVD disc (it used to be 5 separate discs) while maintaining a high resolution of each page, down to every last shop tip and advertisement.  To sum it up:

  • 209 issues
  • 1500 projects
  • 1600 tips
  • 570 tool reviews
  • 810 techniques

That’s what you get access to, and with a pretty decent searchable index. With a matter of keystrokes, you have every, oh, armoire built by WOOD since 1984 and can compare the plans to each one. Or jewelry box or cabinet or desk clock, and so on. Plus you can print individual cut lists, plans, and articles.  This is the part that’s hard to get over: 1500 projects by the industry’s most reliable creator of project plans (or it’s certainly a tie with Woodsmith).  If that were the only important thing to me, a little 6th grade math reveals those plans are $0.10 apiece. Worse plans sell for much more.

We’re just a little ol’ woodworking store with only one reason to be singing the praises of the WOOD DVD, and that’s to help you do better and better woodworking.  You don’t even buy it from us, you get it directly from WOOD Magazine.

For $150, I just don’t see how you’d be sorry. It’s a massive resource, and a good one at that.

Get it from WOOD Magazine:

The WOOD Magazine back-issue DVD has all 1,475 projects and plans, plus every shop tip and technique they've published since 1984

Experience the Joys Of Wood Turning with Arizona Woodturners Association

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

figured wood bowl

There’s nothing quite like the thrill of shaping a piece of wood with a sharp gouge while it’s whirling along at 400 RPM. There’s also nothing like watching an experienced artist do it. For both of these reasons, you can come watch and talk to some members of the Arizona Woodturners Association as they demonstrate and inspire woodturning.  Learn or just get really excited about bowls, platters, vessels, furniture knobs, handles, and more that are turned from amazing woods.

You can get some instruction, ask your questions, learn some tips, get advice on how to get started yourself, or just enjoy watching the action.

The Arizona Woodturners Association is the Arizona chapter for the national American Association of Woodturners. Many of the members are both professional artists and educators who are sure to provide a fun and interesting presentation.

Saturday October 29, from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm (casual, come and go as you please)

Woodworkers Source
645 W. Elliot Road
Tempe, AZ 85284

Gallery of Fine Wood Turnings:
not all are by Association members