In my last update, I showed how I'd finally gotten the far corner upright into position, along with the end cabinet and laid down some pretty heavy-duty vapor barrier. I finished up by showing the big stack of shelving I'd cut. If you keep in mind the fact that these reports aren't going up real time, it will be easier to take in the fact that staining and varnishing all those shelves took a very, very long time to complete. We're talking a month to six weeks. The problem comes back to weather--often it was too humid or too cold to apply the various stains and polyurethanes, particularly at night, when I was most likely to have time to work on them. On the staining, I didn't cut corners and go with only one coat of Minwax's "Special Walnut," although I was sorely tempted to on occasion. No, I stained everything, let dry for a day then flipped the shelves over and stained the underside. Once that was dry, I broke out the "Dark Walnut" and repeated the process. In case you're wondering, "Dark Walnut" still is akin to painting with molasses. It's just so thick and gummy in comparison to other stains. Ugh. It slowed the process down a lot. Once the staining was done, then came the polyurethane. Here's I cheated. The cheap radiata pine plywood I'm using is only sanded smooth on one side, with the other being fairly rough. The smooth side will be the top of the shelf, and the rough side the bottom. For the bottom, I'm only applying one coat of polyurethane, and not sanding. I feel a little guilty about this, because it's not completely professional, but I don't know of anyone who is going to feel the undersides of my shelves and criticize me for it. It may be more prone to dust collecting, but that's something I'll have to live with. As for the top sides, I applied two coats of polyurethane, sanding in between. In an ideal world, I'd have applied a third coat, since polyurethane doesn't build up as thickly or smoothly as sanding sealer, but I'd like to finish this before I retire, so two coats it is. One final note--because the plywood was inexpensive, it did not come without blemishes. The thin surface veneer on the smooth side was cracked and warping in a handful of places. This resulted in 4-5 shelves (including one of the diamond-shaped corner pieces) with notable surface defects. They're not smooth. Flipping the board upside down was out of the question unless I wanted to spend hours sanding down that rough surface and re-varnishing (which I didn't), so I made an executive decision to use the ugly boards for the top shelves, which are about 8 feet up and unlikely to suffer close examination. So, yeah, I'm hiding my mistakes.
Chicken Ranch Central