Preparation Is 99-Percent


I’m the world’s 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 it’s time to apply a finish. It’s 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 contractor’s paper. It’s what I’ve 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 – it’s 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 I’m done. I’ve also found that finishes don’t tend to stick to it too easily.

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

The table I’m working on is 4’x4′ – I can easily walk around it and access the project I’m staining. Another point – 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 can’t 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 you’ll 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 you’ll have a much more pleasant experience. 

Published in: on May 15, 2010 at 10:41 am  Comments (2)  
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