Garanimals for Old House Owners

I’m not usually too proud of my shavings vs the work…but these were particularly nice and fluffy.

I bought some architectural columns and knee walls to go in the large opening between my front hall and the living room, but instead of creating a frame around the space, the columns will butt into the door frame – so I was able to repurpose that frame wood for other things – including the drawer fronts for my second-floor-hall built-in cabinet.

Yesterday, I finally got around to cutting those to size, milling them to about 3/8″ thick, and planing them nice and smooth. That was the easy part. Finishing them to match the rest of the woodwork in my house was a bit trickier.

I’ve been playing around with various recipes for a while, and the closest I can come (without going to crazy amounts of trouble,. e.g. a violin finish) is four coats of garnet shellac (I like the Tiger Flakes from Tools for Working Wood (TFWW)) followed by a coat of Behlen’s Jet Spray Lacquer Toner in Dark Walnut (which is currently also available from TFWW, but Behlen has been sold, so it might not be available in the same formulation for long), with a topcoat of Liberon’s Black Bison black paste wax.

Old-growth pine (or possibly fir) with one coat of garnet shellac (top) and bare (bottom).
Four coats of garnet shellac (top), one coat of the dark walnut lacquer toner over four coats of shellac (bottom).
I buffed out the black paste wax with a hertofore unused pollisoir. Good thing I’ve another to use with untinted wax!

The finish is not a perfect match for the old mouldings – it needs a touch more red and a touch less brown (and a shiny topcoat – the original, now patinated, finish is likely a pine-resin varnish), so I’ve ordered some dark red walnut lacquer toner to give that a try on the replicated three-part mouldings I’ll be installing in the kitchen and first-floor hallway…when I get around to that project.

But for a second-floor back hallway built-in, my current recipe is wholly acceptable.


They all fit perfectly left to right, but I’ll have to take a couple swipes off the bottoms of each for the top-to-bottom fit. Then I’ll glue and screw them in place from behind, and install these bin pulls. Then there’s the paneled doors for the upper part…

About fitz

Woodworker, writer, editor, teacher, ailurophile, Shakespearean. Will write for air-dried walnut.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Garanimals for Old House Owners

  1. toolnut says:

    Are you planning on putting up doors or are you leaving the shelf space open?

  2. OneBigMarine says:

    I understand your frustration, I do a lot of old house and furniture restoration and matching color and patina is the most hair greying part of each restoration.
    I offered to turn the spindles for your staircase.

  3. johncashman73 says:

    I really look forward to seeing those columns and knee walls. That was a fantastic find.

  4. BLZeebub says:

    That is coming along fabulously!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s