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Windows 7: Project: The Ultimate Computer Desk

06 Mar 2011   #81
Hellriser

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

Wow, surfed the thread a little and your idea is pretty awesome.
This could turn into mass production, where a desk is not only a place to put your hardware on, it's where you put your hardware IN

Best of luck to you. Total curious to see the end result and the final costs.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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14 Mar 2011   #82
ultimatedesk

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit
 
 
First Staining Attempt

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by crazyeyeschase View Post
Awesome looks pretty good
Thanks

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Hellriser View Post
Wow, surfed the thread a little and your idea is pretty awesome.
This could turn into mass production, where a desk is not only a place to put your hardware on, it's where you put your hardware IN

Best of luck to you. Total curious to see the end result and the final costs.
Thanks - I do know it must have been done before, and I'm sure there are reasons they are not commonly available, but hey, who knows, right?

So - it's been some time since my last update (What has it been.. 2 weeks? Geez!) but I haven't been idle at home, it's just that I was really busy (There are kittens running around now!) and I've been working with some staining techniques, which has been a long, learning process.

I did a bit of research and came across a good video over here: Link and I opted to give it a shot, because there apparently, is a tendency for maple to come out a little blotchy due to the tight grain, or something or other like that.

So I picked up some supplies:



Made up a test board - some wood filler, some real maple trim, and one side sanded to 120 and the other sanded to 220:



And, apparently, I was supposed to cut the shellac with some denatured alcohol. Something I was not able to find, and subsequently, I found out that it is actually quite difficult to obtain here in Ottawa. I did not realize at the time, that I could have cut it with methyl hydrate, which is something quite commonly available at the local Canadian Tire.

And, this is where things start to go wrong. Here is the shellac applied:



Ok, not bad. Full strength. Ended up closing the grain structure completely, most likely. Here is the gel stain I chose:



And, onto the wood:



Wait 5 minutes, wipe off...



Gross. Seriously? This is why you test on samples first. Look at that colour - it's practically pink!

How about a second coat.



And why the heck not, we'll stain the back as well, where it hasn't been shellac'd.



Huh...





Now really. That was not quite what I was expecting. Time to get a new sample piece - no shellac, but sanded properly to 120.







What's going on here? This is not really the expected "richness" of a dark gel stain like this, is it? Hmm..



Doh! Looks like keeping the gel stain in the basement, where it is freezing, separated the contents. There is a visible layer of clear liquid on top of the stain - that shouldn't be there.

Staining attempt number 1? Failure.

1. If you're using shellac to seal, to avoid streaking and blotching - you MUST cut it
2. If you're going to use a gel stain, don't keep it in a cold environment before you're about to use it.

Well, time to put the stain upstairs for a little while, and maybe another trip to the hardware store... And just an fyi, this took me about a week just to do the 2 samples, since it's so cold, I can only do 1 coat per day, as it takes a long time to dry.

And here's a little something else:



Cute, no? A litter of 5 - the first one was stillborn, so we've got 4 kittens, pretty exciting stuff.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Mar 2011   #83
linnemeyerhere

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Ultimate 64
 
 

Yep grain was completely sealed. I would try diluting to almost a watery mixture and putting it on with a padded up cotton t-shirt section lightly sanding then laying on the stain in test sections with different times to let stand like 1-2-3-4 minutes then wipe off/rub in. Or you can stain the wood sand lightly, tac rag then mix some of the same stain in the top coat or second to top coat and and brush on in a warmer area or day. You need at least high 60's f to get good spread, IMHO.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

14 Mar 2011   #84
profdlp

Main - Windows 7 Pro SP1 64-Bit; 2nd - Windows Server 2008 R2
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by ultimatedesk View Post
...And here's a little something else:



Cute, no? A litter of 5 - the first one was stillborn, so we've got 4 kittens, pretty exciting stuff.
Let me see if I've got this right:

Build a nice computer desk and you'll get more of that than you can handle.

Right? I'm going to try that this summer.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Mar 2011   #85
ultimatedesk

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit
 
 
Second Staining Attempt

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by linnemeyerhere View Post
Yep grain was completely sealed. I would try diluting to almost a watery mixture and putting it on with a padded up cotton t-shirt section lightly sanding then laying on the stain in test sections with different times to let stand like 1-2-3-4 minutes then wipe off/rub in. Or you can stain the wood sand lightly, tac rag then mix some of the same stain in the top coat or second to top coat and and brush on in a warmer area or day. You need at least high 60's f to get good spread, IMHO.
Yup, the video link I posted was pretty clear about diluting the shellac, I just couldn't find the right stuff to dilute it with. You'll see I did a much better job in my second staining attempt.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by profdlp View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by ultimatedesk View Post
...And here's a little something else:



Cute, no? A litter of 5 - the first one was stillborn, so we've got 4 kittens, pretty exciting stuff.
Let me see if I've got this right:

Build a nice computer desk and you'll get more of that than you can handle.

Right? I'm going to try that this summer.
Hehe, yup, build a computer desk and the whole world will be charging to your doorstep - make sure you're prepared lol. The kittens are a handful - that pic was taken several weeks ago, so they are actually starting to run around right now


Some of you may have wondered - "You stained 2 small pieces of wood in the past 2 weeks?! That's all you have to show for progress on THE ULTIMATE DESK?!"

Well, not quite... Really - I did more, I swear.

As you all know, the first staining attempt went really poorly, so I immediately went out and started on a second staining attempt. This time, I purchased some pre-stain wood conditioner, as well as a traditional oil-based stain. I also set out to do this the right way. If I'm going to spend a week staining small samples, I might as well have something to show for it. I cut 8 small blocks of wood, and sanded them all to 120 grit, just like before, and tacked them all off.



I had a plan this time - I was going to see what kind of colour combinations I could get with just 2 stains, and 1 wood conditioner (The gel stain, for what it's worth, had been mixed several times, and had been kept upstairs for a few days). Here is the wood conditioner I used. You can see in the background that it tints the wood just slightly.



Here is the oil-based stain I picked up. It's a Minwax product, Red Mahogany.



And of course, the Varathane Gel Stain that you've already seen, also, Red Mahogany.



In this picture you can see a bit how the oil stain reacts to the wood conditioner. The wood conditioner seemed to have hardly any effect on the gel stain, most likely because gel stains don't really penetrate the wood the same as an oil stain.



And in this picture you can see the whopping difference between the oil stain and gel stain, which are, strangely enough, supposed to be the same colour. The one on the left is the Minwax, and the one in the middle is the Varathane. Neither the first or second piece have wood conditioner on them. The piece on the right is wood conditioner + the Minwax oil stain.



Here's the production line, the stain is still wet, I haven't wiped off the excess yet.



And here is the result of 2 days of staining. (First day sanding, tacking, wood conditioner, first coat of stain, second day some of them got a second coat).

From left to right, here is what I did to get the different results (Some of them obvious, some of them pretty darn subtle).

1. Minwax Red Mahogany Oil Stain
2. Varathane Red Mahogany Gel Stain
3. Wood Conditioner + Minwax Red Mahogany Oil Stain
4. Wood Conditioner + Varathane Red Mahogany Gel Stain
5. Wood Conditioner + Minwax Red Mahogany Oil Stain + Varathane Red Mahogany Gel Stain
6. Wood Conditioner + Varathane Red Mahogany Gel Stain + Minwax Red Mahogany Oil Stain
7. Wood Conditioner + Minwax Red Mahogany Oil Stain x 2 Coats
8. Wood Conditioner + Varathane Red Mahogany Gel Stain x 2 Coats

Wow! It's pretty amazing the different shades you can get when using just 3 pretty simple substances.







I then set about the next 4 or 5 days applying one coat of high gloss polyurethane each day (That was a long and boring process). Basically, get home from work, go downstairs for a whole 5 minutes, do a quick sanding, tacking, and another light coat of poly, done for the day, wait for the next day.

Here's the final result of Staining Attempt Number Two. Please keep in mind, they are not in the same order that I mentioned above.





There's no doubt that I will use this method again in the future. I also now have a great set of staining samples for maple plywood that I will surely fine handy in the future (They are all marked on the back what the process / stain used was).

Guess what though. None of them really came out the way I wanted. I'm still in search for that rich, deep, red mahogany / cherry look, and these just won't cut it (Though I admit, I do like #5 and #6, but maybe only because of their really spectacular grain pattern).

See you next time for Staining Attempt Number Three! *sigh*



Oh - and here's another snap of the kittens - they are 20 days old when this picture was taken, and they had just opened their eyes only a couple days beforehand.



I won't be posting another update until next week, as I've decided to take a trip to the East Coast to celebrate St.Patricks day! I'll be in Halifax if anyone wants to go for a few pints! Have a great weekend everyone!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Mar 2011   #86
linnemeyerhere

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Ultimate 64
 
 

Add desired red stain into the clear poly coat and apply to base stain to add depth and add red richness?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Mar 2011   #87
Trickeh

Windows 7 Ultimate x32
 
 

Wow can't wait for the results O: All the best!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Mar 2011   #88
Jaime74656

Windows 10 64bit Ultimate
 
 

you sir have inspired me to start my own project, ok more take it from idea to start planning it out and actually start making sumthin...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Mar 2011   #89
kool1zero

Windows 7 Ultimate x86
 
 

totally awesome! wanna make me one? i haz very little moneyz but i'll pay you somehow.

seriously though, its awesome. some things you might want to consider, an integrated KVM switch, ethernet switch/router, integrated speakers and/or speaker ports.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Mar 2011   #90
crazyeyeschase

Windows 7 OEM Home Pre. x64
 
 

I havent been around much but i come just to see how this project is going so cglad you decided to do samples before mving to the finished produst saves you some time good luck be back next time.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Project: The Ultimate Computer Desk




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