I woke up Saturday morning and changed my mind. I was originally going to finish this project with Tried and True oil. But I decided to go with clear shellac. The entire mini tansu already had two coats of BLO and that had dried for at least 48hrs.
Once the shop was warm enough to work in, I glued and pegged the rear panel in place. Once that was done I added the first coat of clear shellac. I have never used shellac over a base coat of BLO before and I like the difference it makes. I usually apply shellac directly to raw wood. Consequently, several coats are required to obtain a workable film thickness. The BLO sealed the wood and resulted in the need for only two coats of shellac. There is the added benefit of the BLO enhancing the grain as well. So two coats of shellac was all that was required. I then left the cabinet alone to dry overnight.
This morning I began rubbing out the shellac with 000 steel wool. It took a couple of hours to get into all the nooks and crannies. It was worth it though. Working shellac this way results in an absolutely silky smooth surface. With the shellac rubbed out I added a couple of coats of clear paste wax and buffed every thing to a sheen. Tomorrow I’ll have to inspect everything and clean up any residual wax residue that has clumped and turned white. You’ll see some examples of this in the photos below.
I ended up using three different styles of knotted pulls. The one on the sliding door is a modified (4) strand star knot. The pulls on the larger drawer are standard (4) strand star knots and the pull on the small drawer is a (4) strand tack knot. All of these are tied with #18 tarred nylon. I also added blue felted drawer liners to the two drawers.
With the pulls in place the Hillbilly Mini Tansu is complete. My goals were to prototype this new design and to try out different decorative patterns. I like the design. The parts function and fit as intended and I will be able to use this design as a base for other small cabinets. It will be easy to scale and add drawers. I had a lot of fun playing with the Hillbilly Inlay designs. My goal here was to try several designs and play with scale and shading.
All-in-all I’m calling this one an overall success. The design and construction are fine. My execution will need a little more polishing though. This design could easily be modified to display a specific item or altered to be a jewelry cabinet. There are many possibilities with this design.
Christopher Schwarz recently published a post entitled, “How I Evaluate My Own Work“. In that post he shows photos taken with overhead fluorescent lights with a plain white paper backdrop. My photography skills are poor at best so I thought I would give his technique a try. At the very least this methods eliminates any distraction and should provide a consistent baseline for evaluating my own work as well.