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Finishing the ash desk *PIC*

Bill Tindall, E.Tn.
I have preached many times, don’t do chemistry experiments on the finished project. So, what to do when evaluating a new finish?

I find ash difficult to finish. Any yellowing of the finish will result in a long term unattractive appearance. Acrylics are the only common finishes that do not yellow. This MInwax finish was chosen to evaluate for the ash desk.

The first step was to brush it onto a test piece. The result was surprisingly bright and no blue cast. The finish passes this test. But I intended to spray it.

The back of the top provides a test surface for the next step. It would not spray. This was a major problem. After some failed attempts, changed from a 43 cap to a 30 and it sprayed wonderfully on cardboard. Sprayed the back of the top and it went well. This practice session enabled me to move on to the show surfaces.

Spraying something with surfaces as complicated as this desk is not straightforward. I like to spray these kinds of things upside down. Overspray of one surface onto one behind it is the problem. One works from front to back of each side to lessen overspray problems. Angling the gun to direct overspray away from the surfaces behind and to the side helps.

The second challenge is intersections of posts and drawer rails. It is easy to double coat these intersections thereby building up too much finish at the intersection. One can either spray across the front or narrow the spray pattern to about the width of the post. Then spray the posts and start and stop spray across the rails at the intersections.

The first sealer coat went well. Now cure, sand at 400 grit and recoat with top coat, which will be satin.

PS: The easel is for spraying the top. I like to use the easel for flat surfaces. Spraying straight on is easier than flat, but I can do either.

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