Yesterday I had a long (24+) and speedy (14+) ride. I figured tonight my legs would be tired and achy, but despite their protestations, the legs were still pretty strong (14.7 for 16). I broke 1000 miles for the year. The only fly in the ointment is that the sun was setting as I drove home. I hate earlier sunsets.
I should probably mow the lawn tomorrow, and I have a ticket for a Pawsox game Wednesday, the first time there in more than three years, so the legs will get some time to recover.
I finally harvested a ripe, non-rotten tomato over the weekend. I picked some small tomatoes about a week ago, but they had rotted while they were turning red, and were thus inedible. Fortunately, Schartner's has had plenty.
I've been slowly making some progress on the workbench for the nerd hole. After a lot of experimentation and overthinking, I finally hit upon a stain for the mouldings that I liked, and a protocol for applying it. It took awhile, and I now have a boxful of little cans of different stain shades for my trouble. I was trying for a warm, dark reddish-brown. The last time I wrote about this
, I tried Minwax's Red Mahogany, but it wasn't reddish at all. Red Chestnut was better, but not very dark. I tried mixing the two, but that didn't look good, either. A second application of the Red Chestnut looked better from certain angles, but I still wasn't satisfied.
For my next set of experiments, I went to Lowes to see if they had anything different from what the Depot had. Turns out they did. Where the Depot only carries the full Minwax line, Lowes has several brands, but with fewer choices per brand.They had some Cabot stains, one of which was Red Mahogany, so I got some of that to see it was redder than Minwax's version. It was, but it sets up very quickly, so you can't leave it on the wood for more than three minutes or so, or it gets very sticky and hard to wipe off. I'd been leaving the Minwax stains on the wood for 15 minutes or so. The shade was okay, but it was even less dark than the Minwax. I tried a couple of Minwax shades, but nothing really satisfied me.
I was once again haunting the stain aisle at the Depot when I decided to take another approach. I'd been using oil-based stains, but Minwax also makes some water-based stains. I'd skipped past them earlier because there were way fewer shades, and they didn't have a mahogany, but on looking at them again, they did have a Rosewood stain. I have a couple of Rosewood-handled tools that are very pretty, so I figured it was worth a shot.
The water-based stains set up fairly quickly, although not as fast as the Cabot stains did. I did a three minute application, and the color had the qualities I wanted. Still not very dark, though, so I did another application, and another. That finally got the color about where I wanted it. Time at last to stain the mouldings. One problem that crops up with water based stains is that they raise the grain of the wood some, so you have to sand the pieces after they dry, which removes a little of the color. In the end, I did four applications, and they look great. Or at least as good as a light, not very porous wood can look when attempting to make it look dark.
After that each piece got three coats of polyurethane. I used a spray can instead of brushing. I don't usually like to spray, but it was a lot easier and quicker when dealing with a bucnh of long thin strips.
That done, this weekend I cut to length the rails and stiles for the face frames. Now I need to stain those...