Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Box Finished, but Not Done!

Well I did some prefinishing on the box. Several coats of shellac on the inside/bottom, and Tried and True varnish for the outside. I prefinished everything except the outside faces where the through tenons will show. I will do those with Tried and True after assembly and trimming the mortices.

Then I dry assembled the box, next step will be to do the "glue up" which will consist of gluing all the wedges into the tenons. I think there are 30 tenons, so 60 wedges. It will be a process!

Some people don't care for Tried and True as it takes a while to dry, but I find it works well when applied in very (extremely!) thin coats with a couple days between coats. I love its total non-toxicity, no metal driers or other bad stuff in it as other BLO products have. (I'm still looking for 99+% pure ethanol or propanol to dissolve my shellac flakes in so I can get away from the additives in shellac reducer!)

Meanwhile, I decided to start kilning the slabs which I had milled in the winter of 2010/2011. They now have nearly two full summers of air drying. I would normally wait until early October before putting wood in the kiln as August and September are the best (driest) months here for air drying. But I have so much wood that has to go through the kiln that I figured I better get started now or I'll still be doing it in January!

I put in some alder, spalted maple, yellow cedar and Deodar cedar, all of which I have found to be pretty well behaved in the kiln. I also put in a few pieces of cherry and one slab of beech, which I have not had such good kilning success with in the past.Fingers crossed this time.

The yellow cedar I had originally milled to 8' 6" long, I don't know why I do that as the kiln can only accommodate 8' lengths! Rather than cut them down to fit in the kiln I decided for the better ones to just clean up the edges and store them in the garage. 13" wide, 3" thick and 8' 6" long quartersawn old growth yellow cedar. They are some pretty fine planks I must say!


  1. ""13" wide, 3" thick and 8' 6" long quartersawn old growth yellow cedar. They are some pretty fine planks I must say!""
    Wow, I would say to!! Man you are so lucky! I wish I could get some of that stuff!!
    As for the Beech wood, I read some where that it is one species that do a lot better if air dried... Especially if worked with hand tools.

  2. looks to be a neat little klin there ... would you care to elaborate on the set-up?

  3. Thanks for the comments guys!

    David, I did not know that about beech, I will see how this slab turns out, I have a few more beech slabs and maybe I will forsake the kiln for them.

    Matt, the kiln is pretty simple, just made of 5 pieces of 1/2" plywood, one cut in half for the ends and one hinged on the front for access. I insulated it with some foam boards, and I just use a cheap dehumidifier inside with a tube running to a bucket outside so I can measure the water removed each day. I used to have a bunch of more sophisticated electronics to measure the humidity and turn the DH on and off as required, and heaters and fans. But all I use now is the dehumidifier, and also the fan at the end of the cycle. Since the wood is air dried before it goes in, I find that I can pretty much just turn on the DH and go. I also measure the inside temp and humidity each day, as well as the wood's moisture content each day just to have an idea of progress. I have found that once the inside humidity gets to 23%, the wood is at 8% MC or so and I am not going to get it any lower.

    1. Dan, do you keep your set up outside or inside the workshop?