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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've assembled a shelf that I plan to mount on the wall under my flat screen.

Basically, the board(s) (i've fastened several together) that attach to the wall are unfinished maple. I've attached a couple 'slices' off of a curly maple turning blank for the shelves.

Can someone suggest a technique to finish the edges of the maple board, to give it a more finished look? Right now, they're just square. I was thinking of widdling away at them with a knife, but I don't want to ruin the whole project if it doesn't look right.

Also, this is really basic, but I don't know what type of stain I should use on unfinished maple. Should I apply several light coats with a brush, or one heavy coat?

thanks for any advice.
 

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I've assembled a shelf that I plan to mount on the wall under my flat screen.

Basically, the board(s) (i've fastened several together) that attach to the wall are unfinished maple. I've attached a couple 'slices' off of a curly maple turning blank for the shelves.

Can someone suggest a technique to finish the edges of the maple board, to give it a more finished look? Right now, they're just square. I was thinking of widdling away at them with a knife, but I don't want to ruin the whole project if it doesn't look right.

Also, this is really basic, but I don't know what type of stain I should use on unfinished maple. Should I apply several light coats with a brush, or one heavy coat?

thanks for any advice.
Finishing is pretty basic but you need to makes samples on scrap wood before you put anything on the shelf. First be sure the wood is thoroughly sanded through at least 180 grit sandpaper. Then maple is bad to go blotchy when you stain it because the softer parts of the wood absorb more of the stain. In order to make the color stain more uniform coat the wood with a wood conditioner and follow the directions on the can to be sure you stain within the timeframe they recommend. When you stain, use an oil stain and you can apply it with a brush or wipe in on with a rag and let set a few minutes and wipe the excess off with a clean dry cloth. You only apply the stain only once. Then after drying overnight you will need to apply a protective coating. If you use a polyurethane I would recommend putting a coat of zinsser sealcoat on first as a sealer. When dry very lightly sand it with 220 grit paper and start applying the polyurethane. Keep applying the poly sanding it between coats until you get the desired appearance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
thanks much, I planned on sanding but I had no idea what type of sand paper to use. I also hadn't considered a pre conditioner OR a polyurethane.

Any ideas on giving the maple board a more unique look? Even a rustic, worn look would be fine.
 

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You could do a lot of different things to make it look old and rustic. I sometimes take my orbital sander and make wear marks along the edges. I also have a chain with a handle which I have screws and bolts attached to it I distress the wood with. Normally old and rustic is medium to dark color stain though.

The edges of the shelves I would thoroughly sand them getting the saw marks off. You want it to look old, not incomplete. When sanding round shelves like that I normally start with a belt sander laying the sander on it's side. A person could do better with a disc sander but I just recently got one and don't have the paper for it yet. After you get the saw marks off and get it to the correct shape I would dress the edges with an orbital sander starting with 80x paper, then 120x, then 180x or finer.
 
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