Midnight Woodworking


The papal chair project – day 2/3

The panel has dried, so I pulled the clamps and sharpened up my smoothing plane blade.

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I worked with both my smoothing plane and my orbital sander to get the panel joints smoothed out. A good smoothing plane does not really need to be followed up with a sander, but I do not have a good smoothing plane so mine did…

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After an hour or so of labor, I had the front of the panel looking really good.

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Since there is a chance that the back of the panel may be visible, I flipped the board over and rested the face on some carpet padding. Then I spent another hour smoothing out the back side.

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The panel is now completely smooth and sanded, but I had misjudged one of the passes with my hand plane and tore a couple of chunks out of the ribbon on the seal.

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This is very disappointing! I attempted to sand a bit of shape back into it, but it just didn’t look right. This was where I gave up for the day.

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After thinking about the problem all day yesterday, I decided to try carving another ribbon tail and attempt to replace it.

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I created another program with several pieces at varying depths and rotations. My goal was to make one that matched as close as possible. The final carved piece would be about 3/32″ thick, with the thinnest part only 1/32″ thick. I reused a piece of veneer, from my attempt to re-saw the excess material from the panel, to create a 1/8″ thick strip. The double-sided carpet tape I use is way to strong for thin material, so I put painter’s tape on the back of the veneer and attached the carpet tape to that. Next, I attached the veneer to a piece of 3/4″ plywood and set up the carver.

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After about a half an hour, I had several pieces to test.

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Using an exacto-knife, I gently peeled the new pieces off the tape. I sanded and adjusted the new pieces to match the shape of the existing ribbon. My new ones were slightly larger than the original so I destroyed several, but managed to create one good one, in the end.

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I carefully sliced away the grain where the damaged section met the ribbon, then sliced the damaged section off with a sharp chisel.

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I sanded the area smooth and cleaned all the dust away.

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I applied CA glue to the back, then pressed it in place. While the glue was still tacky on the edges, I sanded around the whole piece. This created fine dust that stuck in the glue. It took away the shiny edges and should allow the stain to match.

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The grain is a little off, but it went better than I had expected.

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I bought some different detail sanding sticks and made an effort to sand around the emblem. the carver leaves behind faint ridges that don’t take much to remove, but with this much detail, I had to be very careful.

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I wiped down the whole thing with Naphtha to clean up the fine dust.

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The whole thing turned out pretty good. I should be able to turn the panel over to my buddy Dave next week, for installation into the Papal chair. I will try to get some pictures of the furniture under construction.

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