A Stained Glass Project

I love looking for small, inexpensive stained glass windows that I can hang in my office or our house. I found this little one in the back of an architectural salvage shop. It was very dirty so I used an old toothbrush and a glass cleaner to work the grime out of the corners of the zinc leading, then used a soft rag to clean the glass.

With the addition of a narrow oak frame, stained with Minwax® Wood Finish™ in “Special Walnut”, and two brass hooks, my once-neglected stained glass window now hangs proudly in one of the windows in my office. (PS – If you don’t have room for one, these make great unique gifts!)

Until next time,

“The only people who don’t find anything are the ones who quit looking.”



Backstage at “Creative Living”

One of the things I enjoy doing the most for Minwax is appearing on television shows, such as “Creative Living,” and passing along some of the wood finishing tips I have learned along the way. Before the cameras start rolling, however, a lot happens backstage, beginning with the arrival of several boxes of props from my workshop.

Since we were scheduled to film four segments in one morning, I arrived the previous afternoon and began unpacking my boxes and arranging my props. As you can see, it first looked like chaos.

The crew provided me with a long table to set up each of my segments, including this one on ways to prepare and protect your home and your furniture before guests arrive.

The set we were filming on was designed to look like a combination kitchen and dining room, where I would stage my props before we began taping each segment.

Cheryl Borden, the host of “Creative Living,” is always a delight to work with, and makes sure that we have fun as we demonstrate different wood staining and finishing techniques.

And then it ends just as it began:  with several boxes to be re-packed and shipped back to my workshop!

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!



A Barn Rescue

Nearly 20 years ago, I filmed several woodworking shows for HGTV, including one on how to make this mahogany Federal-style table. One of the two versions I made ended up stored in my barn, where I came across it last week and decided it deserved a better fate — provided I could find the drawers, too!

The safest, most effective way to remove 20 years of grime was with a spray bottle of Minwax® Wood Cabinet Cleaner, which quickly released the beauty of the mahogany from layers of dirt.

After the Wood Cabinet Cleaner had dried, I could see that the mahogany had lost some of its natural color, which I replaced with a coat of Minwax® Wood Finish Stain (“Gunstock”). After letting it soak in for five minutes, I then wiped off any stain the wood did not absorb.

This style of furniture would have originally had a glossy protective coating, which I could easily duplicate with Minwax® Clear Aerosol Lacquer. Here you can see the first of three coats I applied.

Fortunately for my nephew and niece, Leigh Ann and I don’t have a place for this table (which explains why it was in the barn!), so its going to be a surprise addition to their new home, all of which goes to prove that hidden under layers of dirt and grime, beautiful wood is waiting to be released, restored, and re-used!

Until next time,

Find your next hidden treasure!



Organize and Unclutter with a Simple Media Organizer

Beneath our wall-mounted television set, we have had a jumble of receivers and players stacked atop one another next to our fireplace. I knew I had to make something to hold them, so when I saw in one of our local home improvement stores these non-plywood, pre-glued panels (on right), I knew it would be easy to cut, assemble, and lightly sand this simple media stand.

The wood was knotty pine, and while the label claimed it was “stain grade,” trust me:  knotty pine does not always accept a stain very evenly. To make it less susceptible to blotchiness, I first gave it a liberal coat of Minwax® Water-Based Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner.

Since the sides of my stand were vertical, I elected to use Minwax® Gel Stain “Cherrywood” to compliment the other woodwork in the room. Gel Stain is thicker than conventional stains, so it clings better to vertical surfaces — and does not run down the sides before you have a chance to work it into the pores. After applying the Gel Stain to each panel, I wiped off the excess stain going in the direction of the grain of the wood.

After the Gel Stain had dried, I protected it with two coats of Minwax® Fast-Drying Polyurethane. The next day I moved my stand into our family room and organized all the equipment and cords, which made the whole room look much better.

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!