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Nick's Homebrew Bar and Entertainment Area - Page 32

post #931 of 1235
Thread Starter 

Thanks Tim.  If I can get the poly to spray anywhere near as nicely as the stain, I will be very happy.  I got the gun dialed in exactly where I wanted it on the stain and it was great to work with.


I agree that the crosslinker isn't really needed.  In theory, the trim and soffits shouldn't every get touched.  Except for the occasional popcorn fight, I don't see things getting too out of control in the theater smile.gif.

post #932 of 1235
Thread Starter 

Don't tell GetGray that I said this, but I think I AM jinxed.  My plan was to leave work early on Friday, have an early dinner since everyone else had plans, and then spend the entire evening finishing the prep for stain.  This included cleaning, some touch ups on the veneer and a few other miscellaneous items.  I figured I had about 4 hours of work to do before I began staining.


Since things always seem to go wrong for me when it comes to the theater, why should this weekend be any different.  Fifteen minutes after I finished eating dinner, the power went out.  I don't live in a major metropolitan area, so the power goes out frequently and often is out for more than a day.  I do own a generator, but just my luck once again, the carb seemed to be clogged and I couldn't get it to run properly.  I had no parts and it was getting dark, so I knew that there was no chance of getting anything done in the theater that night.  This pretty much killed my plan to bust through the staining this weekend.


With a little bit of luck, the power did come back on early Saturday, so I began the cleanup that I planned for the night before.  I put several hours in this weekend and made some good progress.


Here is a photo of the drywall I did on the closet last weekend.  Originally I had planned to make some shelving there, but I think I am going to put the cold air return across the top at the front and put a door below it.  That will give me a small closet to store a vacuum, the rails to slide my rack out and the masking panels for my screen.



With several hours of touch up and cleanup out of the way, I finally was ready to start staining.  Step one was to apply the mahogany grain filler.  I thought I didn't like sanding overhead with a power sander.  Rubbing in this grain filler and then wiping it off with steel wool was about the same amount of fun.  It was a fair amount of work to hand rub all of the veneer - the columns, soffits and trim.


Everything came out great. I got it all done.  The only thing that came up was a slight variation in some of the veneer caused the pieces to be darker than the samples I did.  I should have thought about this, but all of the samples were cut from the same piece of veneer.  I don't think it will be a huge issue.  Hopefully the stain doesn't end up too dark.


This is only the grain filler - no stain yet.  The color varies more in these pictures than it really does, but you can get an idea of what it looks like.








One of the columns:



Some of the trim:




Luckily, most of the remaining steps allow me to spray the stain and poly.  Shouldn't be as labor intensive to finish the remaining steps.  A couple of notes - The grain filler goes a long way.  You can mix it with turpentine and it will go on a lot easier and last longer.  It is not water based like the other products I am using, so it does smell.  I wore a respirator the entire time I was in the theater and plugged the cold air return to prevent it from stinking up the entire house.  There is a slight smell in the rest of the house.  My wife noticed it.  A friend of mine recommended burning a candle in the middle of the room to help burn off some of the gases/fumes.  Keep in mind that this stuff is flammable and you shouldn't have a candle burning when spraying flammable items.  I only lit it after I was done and cleaned up at the end of the day.  I don't know if it will help, but I found a few people on the internet who claimed it works.


The room also seems darker now.  Slowly, but surely it is starting to feel like a theater.


One other note, my GOM fabric came in Friday (Thanks Scott!!).  Can't wait to start making my wall treatments.


I was originally hoping to put in more time this weekend and have the staining done.  Maybe even have the clear on.  That obviously didn't happen with the power outage.  I may be able to spray some stain this week.  Then I need to find a day to hang the trim.  I was hoping to take a day off of work to get it done, but with work being so busy, that isn't likely in the next week.

post #933 of 1235
Giovas. Bad Juju. LOL

That oak veneer corner looks sweet.
post #934 of 1235
That's looking really nice, Nick. Where did you source your fabric from? I will probably order mine this week.

post #935 of 1235
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Mr.Tim View Post

That's looking really nice, Nick. Where did you source your fabric from? I will probably order mine this week.



Thanks Tim.  I am really happy with the results so far.


Contact GetGray (Scott Horton) in the post above mine.  I bought it through him.  Best price I could find (plus great service).

post #936 of 1235
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by GetGray View Post

Giovas. Bad Juju. LOL

That oak veneer corner looks sweet.



I may need to wave a dead chicken in the theater before I watch my first movie eek.gif.

post #937 of 1235
*pin drop*
post #938 of 1235
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Mr.Tim View Post

*pin drop*


You can hear it because of my awesome soundproofing!! biggrin.gif


Update coming shortly.  Waiting for the pictures to be developed rolleyes.gif

post #939 of 1235
I actually remember a time when this would have been a good excuse not to have pictures ready! How times have changed!

Looking forward to seeing some progress.


post #940 of 1235
Thread Starter 

OK, it's been a long day, but I got a lot accomplished.  main story - the staining is complete!  I have stained all soffits, columns and trim.  It was a lot of work, but I am glad I stuck with it.  The room looks completely different with the red wood against the black ceiling and the black light trim in place.  I am really happy.


I was really nervous.  When I first started staining, things weren't really looking like I wanted them to. The color seemed too dark and not as red as I wanted.  In the end, once the clear was applied, the color looked much better.  It definitely has the color I was looking for.  There were a few minor issues, but overall I am really happy.


  • There are some slight variations in the stain in a few spots. A couple of spots are a bit lighter - almost like the wood didn't take the color as well.  In a few spots it is actually darker, but I think this is just because of the difference in the grain on those pieces.  With the work lights on, it is noticeable in some spots, but with just the theater lighting on, it looks fine.
  • I wasn't sure what to do with the front edge on the soffit.  I decide to see how it would take stain.  I tried to very the color a bit by using the grain filler to give it some darker spots.  I'm not sold on it.  It looks unfinished to me.  I am going to leave it for now, but I may go back and paint it black.


A few other notes about staining:


  • It has been said many times, but is worth repeating - wear a respirator!!  They aren't that expensive and well worth it.  Even with the water based dyes it is really needed.  At one point I decided to run into the room while taking a break.  I didn't put my respirator back on.  I was only in there long enough to grab something and I could barely stand the smell created by the cloud of dust created while spraying.  Didn't try that again.
  • I completely scrubbed down the room before staining.  I vacuumed the ceiling, walls and floor.  I didn't want any dust to get into the finish.  The staining process created a tremendous amount of dust!!  It was just lingering in the air due to me blocking all air ducts so the smell wouldn't spread to the rest of the house.  I ended up running down to home Depot and grabbing a 3 pack of 20"x20" furnace filters for $7.  I taped them to the back of a box fan and left it running in the room.  It made a HUGE difference.  I was shocked by how much red dust it picked up.  I ended up vacuuming the entire room again when I was done.  I didn't want to track that stuff everywhere.
  • Wear old clothes!!  Even though I didn't spill any stain on me, the dust was on all of my clothes (I mean ALL of my clothes).  My wife couldn't figure out how some clothing turned reddish pink (I will let you figure it out).  I have no clue, but it even my socks were pink.  The dust must be very fine and work its way through other fabrics.
  • I sprayed my columns on the edge of the riser.  Now there is red stain on the wood.  I may seal it with Kilz to ensure it doesn't work its way up through the carpet if it ever gets wet (spilled drink, etc.).


Enough gabbing.  Here are a few pictures:


















Sorry for the poor quality of the pictures.  I might borrow my son's DSLR to get some better pictures at some point.


Next step is to install the trim on Tuesday.  

post #941 of 1235
Really nice work, Nick! You've really come a long way. I can't wait to see the trim installed.
post #942 of 1235
Wow, Nick! The staining looks awesome. How was the sprayer with the stain? Tricky or was is relatively easy with the 1.0 needle?

The red looks fantastic. Could you give us a quick breakdown on the process? Grain sealer, how many coats of stain, sanding between etc?? Did you tint the poly? Did you use HP poly?

post #943 of 1235
Thread Starter 

Thanks TMcG and Tim.  The stain has really transformed the room.  The oak looked good before, but now it really pops.


Tim, the sprayer was fantastic.  It took a little practice, but it did a great job.  My biggest issue was getting too close to the wood in a couple of spots and spraying the stain a little too heavy.  It worked best spraying a lighter coat and going back over it.  I ended up using denatured alcohol to dilute the dye, so it dried very fast (completely dry in around a minute), so I was able to re-coat quickly.  I did all of the columns and soffits first - taking a break and cleaning up the gun between each color.  I waited a couple of hours before spraying the clear.  The clear does take longer to dry (about an hour).  I repeated the process the next day for all of the trim.


Staining process:


NOTE:  I'm not going to go through the veneering process.  It should be the exact same steps for solid oak.  I used white oak for all wood in the theater.


  1. Sanding - I used a palm sander for sanding all flat surfaces.  I used sponge sanding blocks for all corners/edges.  I prefer Mirka Gold sandpaper.  Seems to do a really good job and lasts a long time.  I sanded everything 3 times.  Once each using 180 grit, 220 grit and finishing with 320 grit.  The surface was extremely smooth and had a nice sheen to it when done.  It had a glass like feel.  In my experience, sanding is critical to getting the best possible finish.  I chose to use alcohol to dilute the dye.  When testing with water, it seemed to raise the grain too much for my liking.  I tried pre-raising the grain with water and then re-sanding, but it still wasn't quite as smooth after the first coat of dye was applied.  When using alcohol, the wood remained extremely smooth between coats.
  2. Grain Filler - I purchased a red mahogany grain filler from Constantine's in Florida.  It gave the the oak a slightly darker tone, but not much.  The grain becomes a very dark brown, almost black color.  I put a small amount of the paste in a plastic container and diluted it with mineral spirits.  I preferred it to be about the consistency of thick pancake batter.  If it was much thicker it was much harder to apply.  If it was too thin, it color the grain, but didn't really fill it much.  I applied it using small pieces of burlap.  I applied it by rubbing across the grain and then finishing with a circular motion to ensure it filled all of the grain.  There is a dark brown haze on all of the wood after doing this.  I let it dry for about 30 minutes and then rubbed off the excess using 0000 steel wool.  I rubbed the steel wool across the grain, not with.  This left the filler in the grain, but removed it from the rest of the wood.  The wood was still extremely smooth after this step.  I tested sanding it lightly, but it seemed to remove too much color.  I chose to only use the steel wool.  I recommend waiting at least 48 hours before applying a water based stain.  I ended up waiting a week.  As previously mentioned, this process has an extremely strong odor.  It is critical to wear a respirator and to make sure the vents are blocked to prevent the smell from penetrating to the rest of the house.  Even with the room closed off, we could still smell it slightly in the rest of the house for almost a full day.
  3. Staining - I applied two different colors of stain.  The first color was Transtint Dye number 6007 Cordovan.  When Sandman did his staining, he did the cordovan first and then applied the grain filler.  I tried this, but the grain filler completely removed the cordovan stain, so I just flipped the two steps.  When the cordovan was mixed per the instructions, it was too dark.  The end result was a darker reddish brown than I wanted.  Initially I resolved this by spraying the cordovan and then hand rubbing the first coat of red which removed some of the cordovan.  This worked well, but it was labor intensive and it was difficult to control how much stain you were removing.  I ended up experimenting with different mixtures and found that if I cut the amount of dye in half, the color was perfect and I could spray all coats with no hand applying.  I ended up mixing 2 oz of Transtint dye in 1 gallon of alcohol instead of the recommended 1/2 gallon.  The next step was to apply Transtint Dye number 6021 Bright Red.  This was mixed per the instructions - 2 oz per 1/2 gallon.  I did one section of the soffit at a time.  I sprayed 4 coats of red, waiting at least one minute between coats.  After the third coat, the stain looked like what I wanted when wet, but would dry to more of a brown color.  This is normal and it will have the brighter color when the clear is applied.  I applied one more coat and let it completely dry (4 coats total).  Note that I did not sand between coats.  The coats were extremely smooth and the wood still felt like glass when dry.  The key is to apply very thin coats.  Don't try to get all of the color in a single coat.  The color will build up and remain smooth if done in several coats.
  4. Top Coat - I ended up using the General Finishes High Performance Poly in a satin finish.  I am extremely happy with how easy it was to work with.  No need to dilute.  You can add a tint/dye to it, but I left it as is.  It is a white milky color in the can, but it dries crystal clear.  I waited a couple of hours to ensure the stain was dry (Transtint says you can apply the top coat almost immediately, but I chose to wait).  You have to wait at least 48 hours to apply the clear if you use an oil based stain/dye.  It had been a week since I used the grain filler, so I wasn't worried.  General Finishes recommends spraying 3 coats.  I sprayed a total of 4 coats.  I sprayed the first coat, waited about 1 minute (I could see the first coat starting to dry) and then immediately applied a second coat.  I waited about 10 minutes and then applied another two coats - waiting about 1 minute between coats.  When done, the finish has a much deeper grain and color.  The satin finish doesn't really have much shine, but looks better than a flat finish.  I haven't tested the finish yet to ensure it is protecting the die.  While I was spraying the first coat, I had one instance where a drop of clear that was on the bottom of the sprayer cup hit a piece of trim.  I made the mistake of trying to wipe it off with my finger (wearing a glove).  It removed a bit of red in that spot.  Once dry, that shouldn't happen.  Also note - if stopping between coats, make sure you wipe off the tip of the sprayer with a clean wet rag.  I took a quick break at one point and the tip became clogged.  It washed off quickly with some warm water.


One note - spraying any finish creates a light coating of dust on everything in the room.  It was important to wipe everything down with a tack cloth before spraying.  This was especially important for the trim that was laying on the floor between colors/finishes.  As previously mentioned, I had some variation in color - more than likely due to my spraying technique.

post #944 of 1235
Thanks for writing that up. The detail is very instructive.
post #945 of 1235
Thread Starter 

By the way - if anyone is curious, of all of the pictures, the one of the column is probably the closest to the real color.  

post #946 of 1235
Thread Starter 

Thanks Fred.  Hopefully someone will be able to put this info to good use.  I know that I pulled many of my ideas from other people's threads.  Hopefully I can return the favor.

post #947 of 1235
Thread Starter 

Made a lot of progress today.  We put in about 7 hours on the trim.  Cutting and attaching all of the small pieces on the columns took most of the time.  I am also going to have 3 levels of trim (base, chair rail and upper trim) that need to align perfectly as you go around the room.  It took a little bit of time making sure all of the columns were at the same level as the others.


We finished trimming out the columns and installing them (both upper and lower).  We got most of the chair moldings in on the side walls, but still have a couple of pieces to cut for the door and in front of the door.  We still need to do the base moldings and the upper moldings.  That will have to wait until my friend and I both have some time off again.


Now I need to work on getting the ceiling painted, making the speaker grills for the columns and finishing up the front of the rack closet with drywall and trim.


Here are a few pictures:







post #948 of 1235
Nice job Nick and thanks for the detailed write-up on your finishing techniques from the other day. I've bookmarked the post for future reference.
post #949 of 1235
Originally Posted by TMcG View Post

Nice job Nick and thanks for the detailed write-up on your finishing techniques from the other day. I've bookmarked the post for future reference.

+1, Nick. Having this preserved for posterity will be a great asset. I think you're the first to get into such great detail with water-based products... and I think there will be a time very soon when that's all people will be using.

post #950 of 1235
Thread Starter 

Thanks guys.  Hopefully someone can find the info useful.  I know that's how I did a lot of things in my theater - by reading through other threads looking for tops and ideas.

post #951 of 1235
Thread Starter 

After my last post about the trim - time seemed to slip by with no progress.  I had a stomach flu that following weekend and was really busy the next week.  I decided to finally kick things into gear again and make some progress.  Fortunately, I got several things done.  things are finally coming together.


I finally wired the outlets on the back of my columns.  It makes it much easier to be able to plug things in inside the room rather than having extension cords running under the door.  I debated how high to make the outlets, but decided to make them a bit higher since they are hidden on the back side of the columns.




Before working on the trim any further, I decided to finish painting the ceiling so that I wouldn't have to worry about over spray.  The first step was finally installing my diffusers on the air inlets.  I finished caulking the small gap between the top of the drywall and the HVAC boot.  I then fabricated some small sheet metal lips for the register brackets to hook onto.  Once the registers  were installed, I finally was able to finish painting the ceiling.  All I can say is - the light levels plummeted with the flat black ceiling.  I'm actually worried that I may need to find some brighter bulbs.






After painting the ceiling, I cut all of the OC 703 for my corner base traps.  I still need to build some sort of frame so I can wrap in in fabric.


Next, I cut all of the wooden plates for my column speaker grills.  I am using a design similar to what BIG used on the Bacon Race build.  I am cutting black pipe for the corner supports and will use wooden supports in the rear of the grill.  The first one was a bit tight and will need to be adjusted so that it can easily slide in and out with the fabric attached.




To finish up the weekend, my son and I hung more of the trim.  I still have some work to do around the stairs and on the door.  I also haven't done the rear wall yet since it will need to be built out to accommodate 4" of OC 703.










I received my wide throw hinges Friday.  They came with a powder coat primer.  I hope to get them painted this week.  I still need to figure out what I am going to do for a door knob.  Between finishing up the grills and working on the bass traps, I have plenty to keep me busy.

post #952 of 1235
Everything is turning out exceptionally well, Nick. I missed the column build on Bacon Race. I will have to head over there and see what the technique is. Black steel pipe?

post #953 of 1235
Really starting to come together, keep up the work.
post #954 of 1235
Thread Starter 

Thanks Tim.  I will try to get some detailed build pics of the columns as I start to assemble them.  Yes, it is 1/2" black pipe on the corners of the grills so that they are round.  I have two layers of wood at the base and top.  I drilled out the corners of the inner layer so the pipe would sit in the hole.  I will epoxy them in so them don't move.


Here is a picture from the Bacon Race thread showing what they did:


post #955 of 1235
Nice work Nick. No danger of being Loganed, that's for sure!
post #956 of 1235
Nick on your corner bass traps you putting a reflective cover on the face before the fabric or just fabric?

Possible uncovered may contribute to over dampen room.

Measurement time.

Nice progress, keep at it.

Sent from my 32GB iPhone4 using Tapatalk
post #957 of 1235
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the compliments.  It's nice to be making some progress.




My acoustic plan didn't specify facing it, but now you have me wondering.  Your timing couldn't be better though - I just came up from the basement where I was building frames to put the OC 703 in so I could have something to staple the fabric to.  I think I may just build the frames and stack the fiberglass in them until I take some measurements.  I can always wrap them later.

post #958 of 1235
Everything looking super neat!! are you going to stain the door also?
post #959 of 1235
kraft paper or 6mil plastic works fine to reflect mid/hi freq, I can't imagine why your acoustics plan would even consider absorbing them in the corners.....
just cut, spray adhesive on, and cover with fabric.

post #960 of 1235
Just to be contrary - is there no concern over the "ambient" sound cues in the surround channels being scrambled by their reflection from the front? (That's not a good way to express the idea, I know) I just feel like I've read from pros (Dennis) that there is a goal of keeping that "ambiance" in the rear of the room (and I don't mean a LEDE design or anything so purely principled).

I've tried to search for the quotes I'm remembering and can't find them.
Edited by HopefulFred - 5/13/13 at 7:01pm
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