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  • TIPS

    Preparation is 99 Percent of the Job

    Iím the worldís worst at jumping into a project, and then realizing I need a dozen other things right at hand.

    This gets to be the most sticky when itís time to apply a finish. Itís the part of a project I like the least anyway, so I find it difficult to be motivated and remember all the necessary little steps.

    I recommend purchasing a roll of contractorís paper. Itís what Iíve taped down to the work table in this photo.

    You can use a drop cloth or an old bed sheet, or even old newspaper, but I like this paper Ė itís relatively cheap, thick (which is good in case you spill), and comes in the convenient roll. I simply tape it down, then toss it when Iím done. Iíve also found that finishes donít tend to stick to it too easily.

    Youíll also notice in the photo that I have several other items at hand Ė stain of course, and opener for the can, a couple of rags (wipe on, wipe off), a mallet (thatís one I made from scrap materials), rubber gloves, tape and scissors (for the paper), and a mask.

    The table Iím working on is 4′'x4′' Ė I can easily walk around it and access the project Iím staining. Another point Ė make sure you have enough area in which to work that also has a clear path around it. And, be sure to have plenty of ventilation. You canít see it in the photo, but to the left is an open window. I also have a floor fan that is blowing toward the window to help draw out fumes.

    All this prep takes a little bit of extra time, but youíll save that time by not having to run around your shop or garage grabbing things as you need them. Make yourself a checklist before you start, and youíll have a much more pleasant experience.

    (C) Chris Hill/Chiefís Shop 2009-2014
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