I mount the hardware before final sanding of the piece because it allows me to fix things that might go wrong in the drilling and pounding process.
Next is sanding, sanding and sanding. I am using a 5 inch orbital sander from years ago. Works for me. I had sanded to 120 before I put things together, now 150 and 180 grit. Sander works well for large flat areas. But I have to hand sand all of the curved parts.
No machines here, I have to hand sand all of the little detail in the pediment and cartouche. Very tedious process.
Now I have to make two mortises for locks. The original chest only had 2 locks installed, so that is what I am doing. I purchased the locks from Horton Brasses. I made a template and marked it out on the inside of the drawer. Then I used my hand router to cut out the mortise and recess for the lock.
Here is where I spent most of my time for the last 2 weeks. Finding the color that I wanted to put on the chest. I must have tried a dozen different formulas until I settled on a non-grain raising dye from Behlen mixed with a similar dye from Lockwood. Finally, got what I wanted and I am going to spray the alcohol base dye.
Using an Earlex HVLP gun to apply the dye stain, trying to get an even color on everything. It dries almost immediately. You would not want to wipe on stain or dye on cherry. It can be done but you would have to put a blocker or pre-coat on first.
After it dried, I rubbed it out with white scotch pads to get the surface smooth, even though it is non-grain raising it still needs to be rubbed out.
After I rubbed it out, I was ready to spray shellac. Usually, I finish with Waterlox but with winter my furnace is blowing hot air and dust around all the time which would be terrible with the slow drying Waterlox. So I decided to spray blonde shellac, it dries almost immediately.
I still needed to sand off the dust numbs, overspray and orange peel. I should spray more often, then I would improve my skills.
Here I am using 400 grit sand paper to scuff sand the shellac before the next coat.
I sprayed four coats of a 2lb cut of blonde shellac. I let it dry for a couple of days before final rub out.
I rubbed out the chest with a gray scotch bright pad and dark wax. I used dark wax because I did not want little white specks to show up. Plain paste wax will leave white specks in cracks when it dries on a dark finish.
Here is the completed chest. It was a bit of work but I learned a lot and stretched my ability.