The Real Deal; this time...
O.k. so the phony headline on the last post was a little mis-leading. You thought you were going to find out some top-secret finishing techniques I have locked away in some old turn of the century wood working encyclopedias, but no, you only got a mellow-dramatic tale of one small Block Planes journey through wood life in my shop.
I felt pretty bad after hearing from the countless readers who wanted the 'Real Truth' behind my wood finishing procedures. What follows is my advice to you; my secret finishing techniques revealed, with a detailed diagram for a unique and truly state-of-the-art Sanding Aid. I urge you to try this technique on some scrap wood first and then let yourself become comfortable with this method. I don't expect anything in return for this information but please, work safely at a pace that is comfortable for you.
Proper Wood Finishing
The first step in fine wood finishing is to go out and buy yourself the nicest Smoothing Plane you can possibly afford. Sharpen it like there's no tomorrow and take a light pass over all show surfaces of the piece in question. Make sure to overlap each pass slightly. Once this step is complete follow with a cabinet scraper, taking care to watch for tiny tear-out in the wood fibres from the last step. When you feel the heat building up in the card scraper, stop. Put it aside because I'd really hate to hear that you burnt the tips of your fingers. Now the secret weapon; the Sanding Aid that will change the way you think and work with wood. I'll include specific dimensions at the end of this post. The Sanding Block. An approximately two and a half inch squared piece of hardwood, ( I used Oak for mine ) take this small off cut and reach down onto the floor of your shop. Scoop up a handful of shavings left over from the Smoothing plane earlier. Place the pile of shavings on the work piece and compress it down with the block of hardwood. Rub vigorously around for as long as you can stand it and step back. Look at the gleam rising out of the wood grain! Incredible isn't it. I usually follow this step with an oil and varnish hand rubbed finish. Amazing eh?
So the specs...about 2 1/2" squared.