Tuesday, June 25, 2013

waiting for oil to dry...

When applying an oil finish, you really don't want to wait around for a long time for it to dry without taking time to rub it out... drying places where there may be too much oil, and distributing that excess to an even luster throughout the surface of the box.

So I am always careful to not leave things unattended for long.

This morning I went to the post office and I was glad that I'd done the wipe down on boxes first. Waiting for me at the post office was a new Hamilton Marking Gauge. Jeff Hamilton knows the value of effective surprise. The gauge came packaged in old-time excelsior, and in a sewn cloth pouch for safe keeping.

I've had a Hamilton marking gauge for years, and when I was at Marc Adams School earlier in the month, I was impressed seeing all the Hamilton marking gauges in use in Marc's joinery class. Marc recommends  them and Jeff has taken them to the cutting edge. He also has a larger version, but I like the delicacy of his first. You can see that it's a small tool, but one that does the job, even in large hands.

They've become objects of both beauty and practicality, that can be bought for less money than it would cost to take your wife out to dinner and drinks at a modest restaurant.  It will last nearly forever.

My first that I've used for years is currently on loan to my apprentice and is made from cherry.  I chose my new one to be made from walnut.

A second reason to rub out an oil finish before going to the post office is that a copy of Wooden Boat might arrive and will most certainly distract you from what you'd been doing.  It is the best magazine for advocacy of hands-on learning, hands-down.  It features programs in which kids learn all kinds of wonderful things hands-on by being involved in the making and sailing of wooden boats. In addition, if you are a wood worker, you will find the basics of  hand-tool work covered and you'll find yourself becoming a better and more knowledgeable woodworker because you are a reader of Wooden Boat.

Yesterday I got a phone call from a friend who had applied numerous coats of Minwax antique oil as well as another product to a door and it was still sticky after a few days. She wanted to know if it would ever fully dry. Those are the kinds of questions that it's best to ask the manufacturer. They put 800 numbers on the can in the hopes they can help solve problems and do a better job of meeting customer needs. Most often problems like hers come from failure to follow the directions on the can, and it is not always the best idea to mix products. Some have drying agents to make them dry more quickly and some do not. And to mix two products from different manufacturers is almost always an invitation to a great deal more messing around than you intended.

In any case, you learn in time what works for you and what won't. It's the value of actual experience.

Make, fix and create...

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