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Old 16-08-2009, 18:54   #1
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I Suck at Woodwork

I totally suck at all types of wood working but I am particularly bad at varnishing. There is a certain psychology behind it where you have to be very zen like and believe me people I am far from it. I am freaking neurotic and I am being made even more neurotic by my newest and worst screw up. I have over sanded the crap out of this nice teak desk and have managed to go through the laminate and into a much darker uglier bare wood surface. It is glaring and ugly and I feel totally awful. Is there anything I can do. I have tried wood filler, the glue and sawdust trick, all of it just makes it worse and then I have to sand that down taking even more wood off. What the hell am I going to do? Every time I go down there I can just feel the value of the boat decreasing. Is there anything I can do to salvage this mess?
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Old 16-08-2009, 19:07   #2
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Unbusted,
What part of the sole are you talking about, give some more details and pics if you can. I have a friend that covered a bad corner with a piece of brass (kick board for doors) it looks very good - so this goof might be fixable!
Erika
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Old 16-08-2009, 19:07   #3
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I feel your pain brother...I buy a new piece of wood working equipment thinking..."Ya ...thats waht I need to do it right" and maybe it helps and maybe it dosent...most of the time not so much.

Wood working is an art not so much a science and guys like you and me have a hard time mastering it because we want to see the lumber pile turn in to something NOW!..in other words we make better framers then the finish guys will ever! become because if it's within a quarter of an Inch we "Nail it" where they will be sanding the ends of the 2x6's..



About the only thing you can do now is put on a new veneer... down over the whole desk top..and its about as easy as laying Formica so You and I can handel that right?

Sorry for the frustration you are feeling..Buy a good six pack of beer and sit on your boat watching the sun go down on me OK..It will help put it all into perspective.

Edit: Or you could cut in a veneer inlay in just that area..maybe make it look like it was designed to be that way by cutting in the same pattern somewhere else to match it.
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Old 16-08-2009, 19:08   #4
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Stop sanding!

Woodworking takes lots of practice. There is no way around that. If you have the bucks then hire someone to partially undo the damage to the laminate. If you are a perfectionist, then you are going to have to replace the wood laminate. As an alternative to replacement, a good artist can cover over the damaged area simulating the color and the grain with acrylic artists paint. An artist can make it so that you would have to point out the spot for anyone to notice. It will never be perfect again but it will look better than the underlying wood showing through. Just avert your eyes whenever you walk past it.

You then build up the coats of varnish to smooth out the places where you sanded too much. Very lightly sand the new varnish between coats just knocking down the high spots. Use a fine 3M Scotchbrite pad to rough up the low spots slightly so the next coat sticks. Clean thoroughly first with a ShopVac type vacuum cleaner with a new HEPA paper filter and then use a tack cloth. Use a large flat wood block between coats to eventually smooth out the finish coat. We are talking about 5 to 10 coats of varnish, depending on how close it needs to look like a bowling alley. Use a high quality China boar bristle brush, never a foam brush for large areas, and clean it after each use.

The type of varnish is up to you, just don't use the cheap stuff from Home Depot or any varnish from HD. For one part varnishes, I like the stuff Interlux makes. Some people like Epifanes. Other people like other stuff.
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Old 16-08-2009, 19:09   #5
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Sorry I read your post wrong - I see it is the top of a counter, can you still post a picture?
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Old 16-08-2009, 19:44   #6
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Its a desk.
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Old 16-08-2009, 20:37   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ocean Girl View Post
Sorry I read your post wrong - I see it is the top of a counter, can you still post a picture?
No, I'm too grossed out. No one is aloud to see it. Where can I purchase new wood laminate?
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Old 16-08-2009, 21:14   #8
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Teak Veneer is available at your local Woodcraft Store, or on line. Smooth the surface. Glue the Veneer to the top oversize, then trim. Use edge venner on the edges or glue teak strips. LIGHTLY sand to about a 220 or 320 grit. DO NOT use steel wool! Seal with your favorite varnish or top coating. Mine is Waterlox Marine finish.
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Old 16-08-2009, 21:21   #9
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If I was you I would laminate something small first - a 6" square of wood.

Quote:
Originally Posted by unbusted67 View Post
No, I'm too grossed out. No one is aloud to see it. Where can I purchase new wood laminate?
One of the tricks to woodworking is confidence. You never have confidence doing something the first time.

And when exasperation shows its ugly head, immediately walk away, even for just a few minutes, and get a cold one.

As for brands of varnish and the like, its mostly getting used to the one you have and learning how it works. The exact conditions; thinner, drying time, temperature, humidity, sanding characteristics, brushing requirements.

There are few shortcuts to skill at any craft, that I have found. just time and mistakes and learning.
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Old 17-08-2009, 10:28   #10
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Next time remove the old varnish with a heat gun and scraper, followed by light sanding.
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Old 17-08-2009, 10:34   #11
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Probably the easiest recovery is to stain the whole desk at this point trying to recover some even color. You will likely have to go a little dark ont he stain. Then maybe after varnish it will look decent...
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Old 17-08-2009, 10:57   #12
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Remove the top, take it to your local cabinet shop, they will belt sand it flat, they will then reapply a new veneer and varnish it. Re-install, kick back with a coldy and admire.
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Old 17-08-2009, 11:20   #13
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there may be teak veneer on the underside if you can remove the top and turn it over.
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Old 17-08-2009, 11:40   #14
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Is the laminate wrapped by solid wood edging? If so the "just lay a new layer on" won't work unless you are ok with changing the look of the final product. If the edges are only edgbanded then no problem, if it is wrapped in solid wood for a "captured" look then it's a different story.


A pic would help, you're not the first to do this. Laminates these days sometimes sand through before you even touch a sander to it they are so thin.

Easiest fix, try applying a new piece over the damaged area and forming a scarf joint with the sanded but not too far edge of the existing laminate. Then sand it down flush. If this is in a corner you will start with a piece that looks like a 1/4 circle. Clamp it down hard with a fat jaw clamp like a bessy or similar. If you don't have a good clamp use a piece of wax paper over the fix then a piece of 3/4 ply then whatever clamp you can get hold of. Somewhat ghetto from a woodworkers view but how much is this worth to you?

Something similar would be to remove a uniform section of the laminate down to a depth equal to the thickness of the new laminate then cut an exact patch trying to match grain/color and clamp as above. In both situations sand gently until flush. You either do this with a razor knife and straight edge or a router and template.

Laminates can be had from many sources, try leevalleytools.com or rockler.com.

Or take it to a pro and say fix it, any shop worth their salt will have a widebelt or drum sander.
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Old 17-08-2009, 15:25   #15
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Quote:
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Remove the top, take it to your local cabinet shop, they will belt sand it flat, they will then reapply a new veneer and varnish it. Re-install, kick back with a coldy and admire.
Given your results so far, I think this is the best solution.

Next time, take a tip from Japanese sword makers -- give the apprentice (yourself) the very finest grit sandpaper to get started on. Think 600 or so grit and concentrate on technique. Obviously, no power tools to start with either.
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