By Dick Boak

Because of prominent medullary ray*, quartersawn lacewood ran display extraordinary, almost flamed, figuring that is similar to quartered white oak, lienee it* nickname, silky oak.

surround the medullar)' rays arc prone to chip-out and must be given some special attention during cutting and routing. Bccause of the wood structure's varying density, hand-applied stains may appear splotchy when applied. Alcohol-based spray stains work better.

toxicity_

There is no evidence that most species of Lacewood are toxic. However, the Grevillea robusta species is known to cause poison ivy-like allergic reactions.

applications_

Bccausc of its unusual figuring, lacewood is considered a popular exotic among makers of jewelry boxes, small treen ware, marquetry, paneling, and furniture trim. Some craftsmen also use it in decorative arcliitecture.

As the eut approaehes rift (45°), the medullary rays emerge as distinet ovals in neat, ordered patterns. Klatsawn hoards display considerably less figuring than those that are quartersawn or rift eut.

sizes_

Typical boards run 3 in. to 9 in. in width. Rough lumber of 4/4 size is generally available, while 8/4 and other odd sizes arc fairlv rare.

m availability_

Ironically. Australian lacewood. the variety that popularized laccwood's use, is no longer available because Australia has banned exportation. Brazilian laccwood, sometimes referred to as leopard wood, is the primary species now marketed in the U.S. and it is not considered endangered.

cost_

Wholesale costs (1(H) board feet or more) range from $2.50 to $5 per board foot, while the wood retails from $6 to $10 per board foot. Highly figured boards often sell for liigher prices.

/Itf

Begin touch-up hy filling the defect nitli wood putty and sanding it level with the surrounding wood. Paint in grain line«* Kith pigments mixed in padding lacquer or shellac. A red-sable brush work» l>est. If necetwnry, adjust the tone with a dilute mixture of pigment and finish, then seal with a coat of clear finish.

Begin touch-up hy filling the defect nitli wood putty and sanding it level with the surrounding wood. Paint in grain line«* Kith pigments mixed in padding lacquer or shellac. A red-sable brush work» l>est. If necetwnry, adjust the tone with a dilute mixture of pigment and finish, then seal with a coat of clear finish.

Touch-up

A Little Putty, Little Paint—Make the Job Hat It Am't

by michael dresdner

A wise old finisher once told me the secret to a perfect finish is adroit touch-up work, and I've since learned how right he was. While it is almost impossible to finish a piece of woodwork flawlessly, the good news is diat hiding die defects is fairly easy, whether they are spots of putty on new wood or the chips and dents that accumulate with time and use.

In simple terms, touch-up involves filling a spot where wood or finish is missing with a tiny painting that matches the surrounding grain pattern. Despite how difficult this may sound, you need only some technique. not great artistic talent, to hide defects convincingly. (I can vouch for this. I have refined touch-up skills, but I'm no artist. When I recently drew a kangaroo for my daughter, my loving family identified it as "some sort of duck or something. ")

Filling the Defect

Begin the touch-up process by reconstructing the surface. If the defect is a chip or a dent, fill it with wood putty, drops of finish, or burn-in stick. Burn-in sticks are made of hot-melt resins (available in different colors or clear) that you melt into a void or dent with a heated knife. Whatever you use. once the defect is filled, sand it level with the surrounding surface, keeping the sanded area as small as possible.

It is best if the fill is a shade lighter than the wood's lightest background color since it is easy to darken a spot but almost impossible to lighten it.

The size of the repair is also an issue. You can effectively touch up

small spots, but large ones are bound to show. If the area is larger than a half dollar, consider splicing in a matching piece of wood rather than using filler.

Touching Up

Once you've filled the defect, you're ready to begin touch-up. Everything you'll need is listed on the opposite page. On your palette, mix a color that matches the large grain lines of the wood, and paint the grain in first. (See photos.) Connect your lines to the grain on either side of the patch. Try to match the pattern of the surrounding wood as closely as possible. Short, delicate strokes from a fine-point brush best imitate wood grain. Mix concentrated. intense colors that can be applied in thin layers. 1'hat way, you won't end up with a raised lump of extra finish in the area of the patch.

When you've finished painting the grain, the patch will be darker than before, but it still might be lighter than the surrounding wood or the wrong tone. To blend it perfectly, you'll need to apply a thin, nearly transparent overlay of color that will act like a filter of colored cellophane on a camera lens, tinting but not obscuring the view. To prepare the overlay, first find the hue you want by experimenting with combinations of pigments, mixing them in a few drops of your shellac or laquer with a brush, then diluting the mix with more vehicle to make it nearlv

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