Tuesday, March 27, 2012

More on Staining Wood with Tea

Okay, here's an update on the staining wood with tea experiment; I added two different oil finishes to the test.

First, let's revisit the test board with only the tea stain:

Applications of the tea stain from left to right: five, three, one, and none.

Now the oil from top to bottom: four applications of dark tung oil, four applications of Tried and True Danish Oil, and none.

And the same, but rotated 90 degrees:

I think it is interesting how the angle makes such a difference. The wood is planed, so the chatoyancy might be a factor - I don't remember seeing such a difference when the wood was sanded. But then again, it's been quite a while since I've done much sanding or staining, so maybe I'm just wrong about that.

Oh, and I'm still working on on the coffee stain - more on that later.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Tool Tote

I meant to post this some time ago and then completely forgot about it. I only remembered when I stumbled across the pictures on the computer. So, anyway, here it is.

When I was getting ready for my classes with Roy Underhill last year (Dovetails and Mystery Mallet) I realized I didn't have an good way to transport all the tools I needed/wanted to take with me. It was time to build!

I thought about several different designs, but in the end I decided to make a larger version of the tool tote I made for my son's birthday. Here's how my larger version looked when it was loaded up for the class:

And here's a shot of the unpacked kit:

It's surprising what can fit inside - here's the list(from left to right):

8" Yankee brace, mallet (sans mystery), Gransfors Bruks sharpening stone, Stanley #71 router plane, Lie-Nielsen #98 & #99 side rabbet planes, Veritas marking gauge, Millers Falls coping saw, Stanley #60 low angle block plane, 6" dividers, bevel gauge, pencil box, auger bit file, still more dividers, square, Veritas spokeshave, another marking gauge, half-round files (single and double cut), Nicholson cabinetmaker's rasp #49, flat file (single cut), folding extension rule, auger bit (5/8th"), marking knife, Lie-Nielsen dovetail and carcass saws, my "Scary Sharp to Go" kit, and various gouges and chisels

This particular kit was based on a list specific to the class and additional tools I though I might need for the class projects. I can't remember why I took the Gransfors Brucks sharpening stone. It's what I use on my drawknives, but I didn't take any...hmm. I'm sure it made sense at the time.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Staining with Tea

I've been experimenting with making my own stain; I want something completely non-toxic. I've used tea in the past, but it really didn't seem to do much to the wood, but then I got to thinking about making it stronger somehow. Here's what I came up with.

I started with about two quarts of water. After the water got to a rolling boil, I added six teabags and just let it keep boiling. After about twenty minutes or so, I removed the bags and kept boiling the water down until I had about one cup left.

As you can see, it became quite strong tea:

To test it out, I divided a board into four sections:

Then I left one section unfinished and stained the other three:

After several applications, here were the results:

The first section was left unstained, the second section had one application of stain, the third section had three and the fourth section had five applications.


  • Well first, it obviously works. Cool.
  • Second - since it's water based, I realized that you have to wait for the previous application to be completely dry before adding another. If you don't, the wood doesn't absorb the stain and not much happens. I think I could have achieved similar results with fewer coats if I had figured this out sooner.
  • Third, the blotchy spots are due to my sloppy application and could easily be avoided.
  • I'm curious about what might happen if I strained the tea through a coffee filter. Would it act more as a dye rather than a stain?

Next steps:

I'll oil part of the test board and see how that looks.

Also, now I'm curious about coffee...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Woodshop Roses

Happy Belated Valentine's Day!