Funniest Thing I Did in December

I haven’t done much in the shop because a carpenter was rebuilding my powder room in the basement. A first priority was to refinish an antique mirror frame to hang in the powder room. I sanded it and found that it was a cherry or maple stained to look like cherry. The faces were still dark, but the edges and corners had rubbed off. No point in trying to remove all the stain – better to go for the intended look. I used my father’s started can of cherry stain. Dad was unintentionally testing the shelf-stability Minwax, and I’d say that 30 years is about the limit; the solids had fallen out of suspension and formed mud and clumps. I thought I’d strain it through a cloth. What was that, on my workbench? A sock!

I pulled it over the mouth of the can, and strained the liquid into a meat tray. Then I looked for another rag to apply the stain… Did that make sense? No. There I was, holding a sock full of stain crud. I rubbed the sock all over the frame. It was an ideal stain dispenser. (I poured the clean liquid into an empty pill bottle, and used it the next day on an old drawer.) Now I think I’ll add some rub-on poly, and the frame will be ready for a mirror.

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