Monthly Archives: April 2014

SNAP! Was a Success !

We headed off to Salt Lake City last week for the SNAP! do-it-yourself bloggers three-day conference, where Minwax® was a sponsor and we had a booth in the show. We were demonstrating some of our products at the booth and finishing the chest in the background which we gave away on the final day’s drawing.

But the hit of the conference were the new Wood Finishing Cloths — water-based stain and finish on eight cloths in a convenient resealable package. Everyone had a chance to put on the gloves and give them a try.

Read More >

Getting Ready for SNAP!


I’ve been in my workshop most of this week, getting materials ready for our booth and staining classes at the SNAP! Conference coming up in Salt Lake City on April 24-26. I always keep my camera nearby and snapped a few photos to go along with some staining and finishing tips that occurred to me. If you’re interested, just take a look here.

Years ago I salvaged these old kitchen cabinets for my workshop and they are great! I added a wood top and turned it into my “laboratory” for my staining and finishing experiments. Quick Tip: architectural salvage shops are perfect places to look for an inexpensive set.

A pegboard is a good way to keep your brushes organized. And save those cardboard sleeves, as they keep the bristles in shape after you clean and hang them to dry.

And speaking of brushes, I always use bristle brushes for laying down a smooth coat of clear finish, but must confess I sometimes reach for a foam brush for staining, especially small projects. However . . . .

This is what the inside of my trash can looks like afterwards. And I’m feeling guilty about sending all those foam brushes to the landfill, so I have made a resolution to use more bristle brushes, then clean and re-use them. (And, yes, I put the trash can outside for the night — and poured water over those rags!)

I also recycle my scrap wood trim as stirring sticks, and keep them in this old cracker tin on my workbench.

Along with a bowl of protective gloves! And Leigh Ann appreciates the fact that my hands don’t look like one of my staining projects.

One more quick tip:  when tapping a lid back onto the can, cover it with a cloth to catch the splatters. I ruined the fronts of about six shirts before I finally figured this one out!

So, what was I making for SNAP? One set of boards I will be bringing shows what a difference Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner (applied to the right hand side) makes in reducing unevenness (none applied to the left side) when staining. If you’d like to see how to use Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner, take a look at this earlier post.

Until next time,

It’s a SNAP!



Our Kitchen Makeover: Part 2

When we left off last week, our kitchen was just barely functional while we awaited the arrival of our granite counter-tops. I could survive a long time without a dishwasher, but not a sink! Take a look below to see how our makeover turned out.

If you have never shopped for granite counter-tops, brace yourself:  the selection can be overwhelming. It took us three trips back to the “yard” to finally make a decision.

While Leigh Ann picked out the style of sink she wanted, I wandered into the shop where the craftsmen shape the edges and cut out the openings for the sink and faucet. Every precision cut is carefully planned, and the blades are cooled by a steady stream of water to prevent overheating.

When our granite countertops were ready, we again cleaned out the kitchen and stepped back so the crew could complete their installation.

Next came the new stainless steel appliances, and the room was starting to feel like a real kitchen again.

An easy way for us to save on labor costs was for Leigh Ann and I to tackle the unfinished pine framework for the new windows and door ourselves. We applied Minwax® Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner first to reduce blotching, then used Minwax® Wood Finish™ “Cherry” to match the existing cherry cabinets, finishing it off with two coats of Minwax® Fast-Drying Polyurethane. (Quick Tip: the blue painter’s tape will keep the stain and finish from adhering to the glass.)

Choosing a tile back-splash proved as challenging as picking out our granite countertops, but we elected to go with a light blue subway tile to compliment the reddish cherry cabinets, and to blend with the existing blue ceramic floor.

Leigh Ann had been saving this pair of loon tiles for the back-splash above the stove, knowing the blue around the loons would match the subway tiles and the green lily pads would add a dash of fresh color.

Finally, the last of the workers left and the kitchen was complete!

And in the end we got what we needed and wanted: more storage space and more counter-tops, plus a new door and window looking out onto our back yard. And by being willing to save the existing cherry cabinets and ceramic tile floor, we also saved ourselves several thousand dollars.

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!