Thursday, December 1, 2011

Sculpted Mahogany Vanity - Wet Sanding and Installation!

Just when you thought I forgot about it, I finished and installed the vanity :)

When I left off on the last episode, it was time for finishing.  I've always called it "middle-ing" because in the scheme of things, you're at about the midway point on a project when you start the finish so it takes time.  Lots of boring time :)

This episode is much longer than the normal episodes since it didn't seem like the 'phases' of the episode merited being on their own.  That said, make a bucket of popcorn!  I'd actually like to know your opinions on longer episodes.  I'd previously try to keep a podcast on a single step of the process (dimensioning, drawer runners, shaping, etc.) which made them nice digestible 15-minute episodes.  Are 30-minute episodes something that works for you or do you fall asleep and do a face-plant on the keyboard?

Anyway, back to the episode... in this episode, I start with wet sanding the surfaces.  If you haven't tried wet sanding a solvent-based finish like Seal-A-Cell, you're missing out especially on medium grain woods. You'll still have that "close to the wood" look, but the feel is glass smooth.  I wanted the sculpting and smoothness to invite people to feel the surfaces and so far, it has worked very very well.

Next is a bit of work on the top segment hopefully giving you ideas on how to cut out a drawer front from a piece in-situ.  With the sculpting, I didn't have the option of ripping a narrow slice off the top and gluing it back in order to cross-cut out the drawer front.  Nor did I really have that option before sculpting.

Lastly, the install.  You never realize how small your bathroom is until you have a tripod in there :)  I go over how the panels are attached and how the whole thing is attached to the wall.  The colors don't come through well at all on the video for lack of decent lighting so my apologies.  The granite looks fantastic on the top; it was a real slice from Hungary instead of the manufactured stuff that seems so common these days.

By now the popcorn is ready... cue it up!  And thanks for the patience getting through all these episodes!

To my email subscribers: surprisingly enough, Blogger's subscriber emails don't include the embedded video for you.  I say it is surprising since Google owns both Blogger and YouTube :)  That said, you don't see anything above this paragraph and need to visit my blog for the video link.  I think I have a solution for this problem and will try it out over the next couple videos.  Sorry 'bout that.

And it's done! wahoo! Banners fly; people cheer.  :)


  • Brian said...

    and there was much rejoicing. YAY! Congrats, it looks great.

  • Jeff said...

    I have been following along. Very creative, beautiful color and finish. Well done.

  • Anonymous said...

    Really nice completion, Paul. Love the color and final finish. I'd be interested in final shots once you get the backsplash in place in a more natural light - even as a photo or two to see how the final lighting and finish play.


  • rmac said...

    Hey, what a saga, and what a super end result! You're going to have to charge admission to your bathroom.

    Since you asked, I'm in the camp that generally prefers shorter videos. That said, I watched this one in one session without getting too fidgety.

    A couple o' questions:

    - Without going back to the previous videos, you sort of lost me with the rambling that starts at 33:00. Can you post a still shot or something that shows the problem that you're talking about there?

    - Is this vanity taller than the one it replaces? I'm asking because that outlet looks really close to the top surface.

    - Are you planning to take this thing with you when you move someday? It would be a real shame to leave it behind.

    -- Russ

  • Tim Raleigh said...

    Congratulations on completing this project.
    I have to confess I fast forwared to the "money shot" the installed Vanity, cause I really wanted to see what it looked like together and in place.
    I am sure I will go back and spend some more time with all the video's.
    Thanks for making them.

  • Mike C. said...

    I think it turned out great. It was interesting meeting you at WIA and i enjoy you work.

  • HalfInchShy said...

    Thanks for all the nice compliments! I've been away hanging out with Chris Wong of FlairWoodworks and taking a great class with Garrett Hack :)

    I definitely plan on taking better photos... I knew the video wouldn't show the best colors, but holy cow... it was horrible. It actually has a pretty rich look. I have a big mirror I took out and thought to put it back in at a 45ยบ so I can take the picture from outside the bathroom (hiding the mirror... just need distance!) I'll see where I get with it.

    I'll post a photo recap when the backsplash and mirror are back up (tiles in, too, next time I visit Marco).

    Glad the longer video didn't send you to la-la land, Russ. As it's late (even for me), I'll take photos of the problem tomorrow and post back... didn't want nice comments going unacknowledged too long.

    Yes, the vanity is taller than the previous one. I believe it is 3 or 4 inches taller. That was deliberate and discussed a bit in episode 7. I have a taller vanity in the master bathroom that I like so I used that height. I know this one is less kid friendly being taller, but when my last girlfriend lived here, her tallish 10 year olds still found the previous vanity awkwardly tall so the solution would be to put a step stool. The plug outlet cover will be at the level of the vanity top and will be cut into the backsplash.

    I dunno if I'll take it out. I could certainly make a melamine box like was there before with some stock drawers and stock faux marble top like was there before and take this one out, but I have no plans on moving so if I get 8 years out of it, I'd be okay leaving it behind and making a new one :) Unless the new owners mention tearing it out in which case I'd take it.

    Again, thanks for the compliments.

  • Tony said...

    Bet you're glad that's finally finished :) been a very interesting read/view.

    I like the final video of the series being longer, but had to watch in 2 sessions die to time constraints

  • Jim A said...

    Great series, Paul. You have great vision. I wasn't too sure about the coral thing until it was done. Now I'm a believer. Sort or long is fine with me. Just keep 'em coming, please.

  • Carl O. said...

    This is really beautiful. It came out very well. I would have been tempted to make it free standing so I could take it with me if I moved to a different house. Thank you for sharing.

  • HalfInchShy said...

    Thanks, guys... I wanted it mounted to the wall so it would be suspended. Maybe deep down inside I don't want to make legs. A built-in dresser in my master closet is also wall-mounted to keep the floor clear. This vanity would be easy to remove; less than an hour to dismantle for transport. Should I ever move, I may bring it along (if a bathroom at the destination fits its shape) and install a big-box vanity in its place. It would be funny to shop for a new house and tell the realtor that it needs a bathroom with a 4' vanity that abuts the wall on the left side...

  • Johnbro said...

    Hi PM,

    Thanks for the video--what an amazing project!

    I have a question I hope you will answer, as I'm in the middle of my own project and am a bit confused.

    I thought I'd try your seal-a-cell/arm-r-seal combo with wet sanding on some Christmas gifts (boxes) I'm building. I wet sanded sealacell with 220, then 2nd coat was wet sanded with 320, then first coat of armaseal was dry standed (knocked down) with 320, 2nd coat was knocked down with 400, now the 3rd coat is dry and it's not particularly smooth. I will probably knock this one down with 800 dry (I'll use my ETS 150 on slow speed, very light pass until hand smooth). ANyway, what was your exact finish protocol that gave you such a good hand to the piece?

  • HalfInchShy said...

    Hi, my finish schedule for the project was outlined in the video, but more detailed steps would be:

    1) sand the project to P320 or P400

    2) apply Seal-A-Cell first coat while wet-sanding by hand with wet/dry 600 grit paper; sand with the grain, wipe off the excess across the grain

    3) repeat Seal-A-Cell coats sanding with wet/dry 600 until you have it glass smooth

    4) repeat Seal-A-Cell coats without sanding until the finish looks consistent everywhere

    5) start doing Arm-R-Seal coats with the sheen you want (satin, matte, etc) De-nib the coats with white ScotchBrite pads; if it is really bad, use a P320 sponge pad by hand very lightly.

    Right now it sounds like your project is sealed with multiple coats of Seal-A-Cell. You likely can get it smooth, but it will take more work. You might have to tinker with it a bit. Good luck! It's worth the work though I'm doing an experiment to see if it can be accomplished with a whole lot less work. More later on the blog.

  • Vic Hubbard said...

    Paul-Marcel rocks another project!!!

    In answer to the video length question. It's video! I can stop it at any point and return, which I did. I watched approximately half last night (Christmas Eve) and the rest this morning. Merry Christmas, btw!!

    As you know, I believe your podcast is one of the best woodworking podcasts on the web. The amount of detail and the fact you go outside of the traditional designs make it all the more interesting to me. The fact you have Ben Strano writing music for you, pumps up the cool factor by ten, at least!!!

    This series is excellent start to middling!! (Finishing, for those that haven't been paying attention.)

    Thanks for starting off my day in the shop on a big Woohoo note!!!

  • HalfInchShy said...

    Wow, thanks, Vic! Your comment was a great way to start off Christmas!