In Pursuit Of Imperfection 7 : A Walnut table to be polished

Polishing a Walnut Dining table

I have this table with me in the studio. Its taking an age to polish. I wanted a stronger surface that Danish oil gives as this was a table for general use and abuse. Daniela is a psychologist who taught me years ago about how the perfect surfaces of industry are inhuman and ultimately depressing and inhibiting. I tried then and now to give a surface for her table that was built with care and skill but in the end not quite perfect . A bit like me, and you. I thought I would share this with you


Hi Daniela

Your table is with me every day. We have become good friends and i will now miss her when she has gone. I have been building the polish on the two separate leaves. One is near perfect, I hope. The other which has had to be stored in an area of the studio with less good light is now centre stage and building nicely. The process is a slow and careful one. I have fed the grain so it is now saturated with  polish that has hardened and dried.  Some areas took lots of polish day after day others less. Now i have  bulilt a smooth even shine over both leaves. This is applied with a small lint free cloth a film of polish each morning. The polish is thin so it goes on evenly but it needs a warm dust free room to dry in . That is why my studio is the best place. When i have a model in for life drawing i can push the table aside and we have just enough room to work. But no dusty work can be done so i have pieces of work that are waiting for the table to be finished. Soon.
When the polish is built too high or there are defects in my polishing I rub back with very fine abrasive to flatten the surface and the build again to the shine.
You taught me ages ago about perfection and how slight imperfection is more human less oppressive. My hope is that I am seeking the perfect but knowing that it will be imperfect and forgiving myself. And asking your forgiveness.  I hope to have given you such a surface. Its an old process not often used now a rubbing varnish finish. We use a high strength marine varnish with oil and genuine turpentine . The spirit flashes off  the oil will remain in the timber drying out slowly to leave the varnish over the coming months as the tough surface shine. I know you are “not a shiney girl” so I hope to have given you a shine that lets you see the wood and is not full gloss.
This one is done…. i think. The other is coming up nicely.
see you soon


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