another step closer...

to finishing the living room. I spent five hours out in the cold today ripping the last of the window trim, cutting it to length and sanding it. It was nineteen degrees with a wind that was gusting up around thirty miles an hour and it was unpleasant, to say the least. But now I'm ready to paint, so I'll be working inside for the next few nights. I should have the sash repainted, the new trim painted and up by next Sunday, if all goes well. Then I think it's break time until after Christmas. I just don't have it in me to rush through doing the built in bookcase and the new mantle, which, as usual, I've probably over-designed, but it will be stunning when it's completed. I have to go see my friend at the exotic wood place next weekend and put in a huge and probably unduly expensive order for some quarter sawn oak. The mantle (which is actually a full fireplace surround) will comprise of about seventy individual pieces of wood, not including the carcass and mounting strips. Nothing to delve into without one's head in the right place and a boat load of patience, considering that I can't make any mistakes, or it's going to get even more expensive. Just finishing the wood is going to take a week, as it's a three part process of various stains and fillers before I even apply any final finish, which will probably be melted beeswax. It gives just the right sheen and luster to oak. Once it's applied and hand rubbed, there's nothing like it. And, it ages quickly and attains a nice mellow patina that makes the wood look a hundred years old. It's great for things that don't get mauled a lot, like a table would and it's worth the effort. It's melted, brushed on in a very thin coat, then scraped smooth. Then a second coat is applied, in the same way, then a third and, if you're really ambitious, a forth, then it's rubbed with a wool pad for hours on end, then you stand back, admire you handiwork and wonder if anyone else will notice, or even care. That's the problem with woodworking these days; people are used to getting things done is a hurry, with modern stains and finished and the don't know the difference between a real wax finish and polyurethane or even care. I look as some of the cabinet work that people have in their houses and I can't believe how much they paid for something that is not only of inferior construction, but the finish is horrible. Wood is an organic material, full of defects, odd and inconsistent grain, but that's what makes it so beautiful. Most people hate the look of quarter sawn oak, as it really accuentates the grain, especially when you get lucky and manage to find some that was ripped from the heartwood. It has huge, swirling grain patterns, rather than the straight, seedy look of straight sawn oak - have a look:

This is quarter sawn oak.

This is radial or straight sawn oak.

Quarter sawn lumber is expensive because of the labor and waste involved, but in my opinion, it's worth it for that special piece.

Ok, I know you're bored. What can I say, I'm a wood geek.
Well, I'm going to go have some dinner, watch some football and have some of that which inebriates and cheers, then hit the hay.
Hope you had a great weekend, my fellow wanderers. Fare thee well.

wander with me...



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