With all the woodworking done I turned my attention to finishing. Not knowing any better, I bought General Finishes “Milk” Paint on my last trip to Woodcraft. My mom picked out Lamp Black so black it was. I still don’t understand the differences between this product and the traditional powder form of milk paint (at least not from a results standpoint). I guess I’ll have to pick up some of the powder stuff and do a comparison.
As far as the acrylic, GF stuff, I love it. The first coat looked hideous but the second coat was awesome (and easy). I ended up putting a coat of paste wax over the second coat but would’ve liked to try boiled linseed oil. I just didn’t have the time or material to do sample boards.
The top was another story. I didn’t do any research on finishing chestnut. Maybe I should’ve. I hear so many great things about shellac so I picked up a can of amber Zinsser. I cut it 50/50 with mineral spirits and ragged on the first coat. My main problem was where the proud breadboard ends meet up with the panel. Getting finish in that area was quite difficult with a rag. On my third coat the rag started to stick as I overlapped strokes and I panicked. I let it cure for about 24 hours and then switched to my tried and true Arm-R-Seal. It ended up ok. If anyone has some tips for working with shellac, please post them in the comments below.
After the second guessing was over, I installed the hardware (including the torsion hinges from Rockler) and put it in our empty dining room for the girls to play with. Then it moved into the office since there was some delivery problems over the weekend. Wherever it went, they weren’t far behind.
For the first day, all I could see were the flaws. But after spending the entire weekend watching my girls make it their own my attitude changed. Completely. They don’t care about the slightly flawed finish, or less than perfect fit, or the slightly uneven reveals. To them it’s a drum, or a place to put their toys, or a seat to put on your shoes.
As this project ends, my only hope is for this chest to evolve alongside my family. And one day, when my mortal coil has shed, for someone to look at this chest as a place to find my heart.