Surface Preparation and Staining - DVD
Private Woodworking Instruction in a Box
with Hendrik Varju

Produced by Passion for Wood, Ontario, Canada

R.R.P.$120.00

ISBN 978-0-9781432-5-1

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As reviewed in The Australian Woodworker Issue 159

Few things let down a good project more than poor or insufficient surface preparation, yet there isn't a lot of information available about the topic. Generally speaking, it seems to be regarded as a boring subject and most authors are happy to pass over it quickly.

Inevitably, Hendrik Varju was going to have a crack at it. As a professional woodworker he knows the importance of surface preparation and as viewers of his other videos will know, he always explores his topics thoroughly and keeps the footage entertaining.

Surface Preparation and Staining runs for 9 hours and covers five DVDs.

The first two chapters cover Hand and Machine Sanding while Card Scrapers and Scraping Planes appear later on DVD 5. A section on Tuning Scrapers is included in DVD 4.

In Hand Sanding, he discusses some of the different abrasive materials available, the amount of sanding required for each grit size and sanding techniques to minimise uneven removal of material.

Running a small cabinetmaker's shop, Hendrik prefers the versatility of portable sanders. Larger stationary machines are not included in the DVD.

While typically he works a glued-up panel with a handplane, he acknowledges that a belt sander is an option. For those not proficient in the operation of this tool, he recommends the use of a sander frame, available as an accessory for some models.

He moves on to orbital sanders and random orbital sanders, and the differences between the two including sanding technique. With the random orbital sander he discusses the amount of sanding required before changing grits.

The best way to avoid problems with glue squeeze-out is to refine the gluing procedure. In Glue Squeeze-Out he provides tips on keeping the glue within the lines of the joint. However, glue squeeze-outs do occur, even in professional shops. Further tips enable you to identify squeeze-out before you stain and methods of removing the excess glue.

While tear-outs have to be planed or sanded out, in Steaming Out Dents and Pre-raising the Grain, he shows how to remove indentations formed by compression of the wood. This has to be done prior to sanding, in case the wood decompresses later and ruins the surface finish.

DVDs 2, 3 and much of 4 are devoted to staining. Hendrik begins with Bleaching and separate chapters on Staining End Grain and Plywood.

Bleaching is used as a colouring process in its own right and for this he works with a two part wood bleach. However, he mentions that a different product, chlorine bleach, can be used to reverse dye colouring and some blemishes.

The darkening of end grain when staining is a common problem. Hendrik discusses the options and then demonstrates his preferred methods.

Plywood presents its own challenges. Alternate surface veneers can absorb stain at different rates and in low grade sheets the glue can penetrate through the thin surface veneer to create 'glue patches' where the stain won't take. Again, he discusses the causes of the problems and how to deal with them.

In Blotching he extends the use of his techniques to cover difficult species which are prone to blotching when stained.

On the third DVD the various types of stains and dyes are discussed. The information provided is generic, so it is relatively simple to purchase a suitable Australian-manufactured alternative.

However, the timber species used are North American so it will be necessary to carry out your own experimentation with local species to determine the end results.

The final staining chapters cover application techniques and preferred stains for specific timbers. As he points out, the best stain for one timber may not suit another.

As with all Passion for Wood videos, the production is first class. Hendrik's style is clear, friendly, informative and instructive. Ideal for schools and Clubs, the video also deserves a place in the library of any hobbyists who take their cabinetmaking seriously.

Duration: 9hrs, 5 discs

DVD - English - NTSC