I’ve finally finished the bookshelf that I built with my father. I’d put off staining or sealing it because I was paranoid about my ability to get a nice, even stain applied. My success on previous projects was directly proportional to the color I picked - the darker the stain, the worse I applied it. Especially in cases where I really wanted the color but not the saturation. As a result, this bookshelf has been sitting in various pieces waiting for me to get some courage for over a year.
Two weeks ago I finally got the bug. I decided that I really liked the color of the red oak without any stain at all, so all I needed was to seal it. We get tons of natural light, so 3 coats of varnish is essential for anything to retain even a bit of its intended color. The living room floor is a perfect example of this - the color fades from one side of the house to the other in direct proportion with the amount of sun.
The trouble with 3 coats of anything is that it takes 4 hours between coats. So it took 4 sets of painting sessions (yes, 12 total) to get everything sealed. It took a couple of weekends, especially with other projects thrown in, but I’m done. And the piece is beautiful. I’m still deciding whether or not I want to wax over the sealant to protect the wood from scratching and daily abuse, but for now it’s actually holding books.
Additional images in the gallery.