Kirk Eppler's Mission Table

Careful finishing makes it look authentic.

SHOP OWNER: Kirk Eppler
LOCATION: Half Moon Bay, CA

    I had wanted to build a mission-style coffee table to go with an existing chair but I didn't know how to match the finish, so I decided to make this end table for practice. I got the plans from the Rockler catalog; and, yes, there is the requisite error in them.
    The table is made of white oak and quartersawn white oak. I hand-planed all the pieces to thickness. Only the top got a final sanding due to tearout in the weird grain.
    All told, this project took about four months to complete. Progress would have been quicker, but having to relocate everything at the end of each step slowed me down a bit. I also learned a lot along the way, like how to use my tablesaw and router. I also got a lot of help on the Internet, some of it from the group of experts here. Many of my questions were answered on the messageboard and in the chat room before I even had a chance to ask them--just lots of luck that someone else beat me to it.
    The key to this project was the finish. I used a mission finish proposed by Jeff Jewitt, who helped with the color-matching via the Internet. The finishing components I used were:

  • TransTint dyes, dissolved in water, (50/50 mix of Honey Amber and Golden Brown)
  • Boiled linseed oil
  • Homestead Dewaxed Pale Shellac
  • Fruitwood glazing stain
  • Behlen's Master Gel High Luster Poly
  • BriWax Dark Brown Wax
  •     The finish, though it seemed complicated, was really just a bunch of about seven simple steps. All the components were wiped on, except the glazing stain. For that, I cut off a cheap brush to make a stiff brush. I made a few errors along the way that I could have avoided by reading the directions (OOOhhhhh, dark wax, huh?), but which were fixable.
        While the finish doesn't match the chair perfectly, I'm pretty happy with it and so's my wife. I'll be starting on the accompanying coffee table soon, this time using all quartersawn lumber.

    . . . Kirk Eppler




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