Author Topic: Building a bonsai display stand - first attempt  (Read 28355 times)

MatsuBonsai

  • John Callaway
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Building a bonsai display stand - first attempt
« on: May 11, 2011, 08:42 PM »
Well, I decided I needed a big bonsai display stand for the upcoming Bonsai in the Bluegrass and figured I might try to build it myself. 

I meant to take it slow and ask questions along the way, but started over the weekend and just rushed through it.  I'm sure I could have done better, had tighter joints, etc., had I not worked so quickly, but as a first experience it was quite fun and I learned a lot already.

Thoughts?  Suggestions?
 

MatsuBonsai

  • John Callaway
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Re: Building a bonsai display stand - first attempt
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2011, 08:45 PM »
One huge mistake I made was in deciding to begin staining on our first 90° day.  :)

I'm thinking 1 more coat of stain to make it a bit darker, then onto a top coat (or 2, or 3) of urethane.
 

nathanbs

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Re: Building a bonsai display stand - first attempt
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2011, 03:12 PM »
pretty awesome! At the end of the day how much time and money has been spent?
 

garywood

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Re: Building a bonsai display stand - first attempt
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2011, 03:58 PM »
John, Great job, especially for the first! Did you have a reason for the width of the top frame?
Wood
 

bwaynef

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Re: Building a bonsai display stand - first attempt
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2011, 08:43 AM »
One huge mistake I made was in deciding to begin staining on our first 90° day.  :)

I'm thinking 1 more coat of stain to make it a bit darker, then onto a top coat (or 2, or 3) of urethane.

I can't wait to see it finished.

Sorry for what you make out to be an obvious question (at least by the way I'm reading it) but why wouldn't you want to stain on a hot day?
 

MatsuBonsai

  • John Callaway
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Re: Building a bonsai display stand - first attempt
« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2011, 08:52 AM »
Nathan, not sure on the cost.  I had the "frame" boards already and the center piece is oak ply.  As for time, I spent a few hours cutting and assembling, and a few hours staining, so far.

Gary, big tree?  I had the "frame" boards already and was thinking of trying something different originally than what I ended up doing.  I was originally going to rout out a ledge for the center to rest on, effectively cutting the visible frame in half of what it ended up being.  This is/was a first try, so I may try again, as I'm assuming, like you, I think it may be too large/wide.

Wayne, because it was hot.  I was soaked in sweat by the time I was done staining.  I'm sure there are other reasons/factors with heat/humidity while staining, but my comfort was my main concern.  ;)
 

mcpesq817

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Re: Building a bonsai display stand - first attempt
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2011, 10:12 AM »
That's really nice work, especially for a first time project.  Very impressive :D
 

garywood

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Re: Building a bonsai display stand - first attempt
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2011, 11:09 AM »
Hi John, not necessarily too wide, depends on the tree. With the pot inside the frame, a large silhouette tree would fit nicely. I was just curious about the thought process.
Wood
 

jferrier

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Re: Building a bonsai display stand - first attempt
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2011, 03:52 PM »
Nice work. I'd have liked to see a little bit of an overhang on the top and maybe a thicker top as well. Nice detail with the mitered frame on top. I'd also go with at least 2 if not 3 coats of poly. Make sure to sand between coats with some 220 grit.
 

MatsuBonsai

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Re: Building a bonsai display stand - first attempt
« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2011, 04:24 PM »
I think you're 100% right on the thickness of the top.  Well, thickness of the frame, in 2d anyway.  It's less noticeable in person, and I'm hoping even less once it's finished with a tree sitting on top.  I think if the legs were less thick the proportions would be closer and more in balance.

Double checked the size yesterday with the planned tree.  It all seemed to be in line and looked pretty good, the wife and I thought.  It was, however, a little tall.  So, I took off an 1 1/2" from the legs.  The whole thing is just over 11" tall now.

Another coat of stain and the first coat of urethane has been applied.
 

Larry Gockley

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Re: Building a bonsai display stand - first attempt
« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2011, 02:23 PM »
Hi John. Looks darn good for a first attempt. Are there certain "rules " that apply to a stand, as in height to length ratio, etc? Next time, if there is a next time, you might want to apply sanding sealer after the stain and before the urethane. Two or three coats with application of progressively finer sandpaper between coats would do wonders, especially on an open grain wood like oak. 100 grit paper, ending up with 200 grit would be good. Sanding sealer might be hard to find. Try ACE hardware. Years ago I use to wood carve fish with Spanish cedar, and the sanding sealer worked great. Larry
 

MatsuBonsai

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Re: Building a bonsai display stand - first attempt
« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2011, 06:09 PM »
Now you tell me!  :)

I've seen some sanding sealer in Woodcraft and keep meaning to pick some up.  It's pretty smooth from previous sanding, but I bet would be even better had I done, you know, more/better preparation, etc.

I'm not sure if there are written rules or what they may be, other than what looks good.  There's always feminine/masculine, formal/informal, rustic/refined, etc., to consider.  I spent some time flipping through a few different Kokufu books to come up with what I thought might look good, weighing what would be a relatively easy first build. 

I'm taking a stand building workshop with Rob Kempinski at BITBG, so hope to learn some more tips and tricks.  I'll probably try another small stand before then.  I'll be sure to document the process here.
 

jferrier

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Re: Building a bonsai display stand - first attempt
« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2011, 02:59 PM »
I think you did the right thing by lowering it. Also, not sure how well the joints turned out, but next time if they don't look as nice as you'd like and you don't want to rebuild , you can try mixing your fine sawdust with some wood glue and filling the joints with that and sanding smooth. We used to do this in architecture school with the basswood models we would build to hide the joints.  Also, just got through refinishing our hard wood floors myself. Huge difference between that 2nd and 3rd coat of poly, so I'd again recommend 3.
 

MatsuBonsai

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Re: Building a bonsai display stand - first attempt
« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2011, 03:54 PM »
I tried that trick in a few spots.  I also experimented with a little yellow tube of stainable filler stuff.  Both seemed to work well, but I think slowing down and doing better work would yield better results.  :)

Quite a fun little learning project.
 

MatsuBonsai

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Re: Building a bonsai display stand - first attempt
« Reply #14 on: July 28, 2011, 08:59 AM »
Here's the finished stand being used at "Bonsai in the Bluegrass".

Thoughts?