I co-host the WoodTalk podcast with Marc Spagnuolo and Matt Cremona, and it's a running joke on there that I never put finish on anything.
That's not entirely true, but I do tend to put it off a lot. The reason is that my shop is useless once I have applied a coat of finish. I can't work on anything as the dust will end up settling in the wet varnish or shellac or whatever. Even moving around and organizing things will kick up dust particles.
Since my shop is pretty small, I essentially have to leave the shop for an extended period of time once that wet finish is on my project. Because of this I usually finish several projects at once. I guess kicking back on the couch with a frosty beverage should be a nice reward for completing a project, and in most situations I think that would be fine.
My problem now is I took two days off work to dedicate to finishing up some outstanding projects and to begin my shop renovation. Two whole days with the house to myself and unrestricted shop time…that is now restricted by drying times of my oil/varnish blend. I suppose I could finish the project out in the driveway. Though the yellow coating of pollen on my car and the flowering Dogwood that overhangs the driveway makes me hesitant to do that. Sigh, guess I should have put off finishing these projects too.
So my question to you is, what do you do in between coats of finish, and/or what solutions have you come up with to keep on working while the finish is drying?
This "Hand Tool School" series is provided courtesy of Shannon Rogers, a/k/a The Renaissance Woodworker. Rogers is founder of The Hand Tool School, which provides members with an online apprenticeship that teaches them how to use hand tools and to build furniture with traditional methods.
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I try to keep it simple. Since I usually clean up the shop for the weekend I finish on Friday after I have cleaned up early and then let the thing sit for the weekend. If I need more than one coat I just move the time frame accordingly so that the final coat is completed on Friday. This might give me time between coats so I use this to start plans on the next project, catch up on paperwork, file taxes (yea!), shop for the next project materials, go for a walk, spend time with family, go the dentist, you see where this is going. Really a great excuse to do all the things that need gettin' done.
I've gotten pretty good at applying cyanoacrylate glues to large surfaces so I don't have to wait around. Doesn't seem economical at first, but when you add up all the time spent waiting for a coat to dry just so you can sand it completely off because a moth flew into it, it's probably works out in the end.