Smaug in Claudifloria

The wife’s old car needed to get tested by the Cal-State Regulatory Bozos of the DMV and I had an issue with the truck, so in the cold morning mist we drove over to Ponderosa Auto Express. Surprise, the Bay Area coastal fog had made an unwelcome and damp intrusion up into our latitude, drawn by the cold storm in the mountains high above, and our house was surrounded by a cloud of the cold crud.
The old BMW barely passed the State Politburo’s Number-Nazis, so she’ll be looking for a more reasonable vehicle – like the Toyota Tacoma she’s always wanted.
Raison d’être for the truck’s visit was that we both noticed (hard to ignore) it had made a repetitive squeeky-graunchy sound yesterday as we drove up and out of a steep and windy driveway in Pollock to escape some ravenous mosquitoes and an insipid bit of property. The noise had a repetitive rotational aspect that sounded serious – and it reminded me of a couple other times such a mystery sound had occurred – like at home. My initial thoughts had to do with squatting and suspension, but this has only happened when hot or on hot days, so it wasn’t a cold-start issue. The rotational aspect was bothersome. Needless to say it did not repeat in this cold morning, so that helped to throw-out the suspension notion and the clever mechanic suggested on such a truck with rear disc-brakes it could be a dragging brake-shoe that activated (or failed-to release completely) when hot. Not a Highway Threat so we’ll continue to monitor it.
Meanwhile the application of rosewood stain to the speaker-boxes and repeatedly wiping-off is becoming a bit tedious. It’s hard to penetrate the oak grain, there’s no time-based instructions to follow, and seems to wipe-off too easily. Mainly I am impatient and not very good at it – or too perfection-minded and keep fussing. Anyhow “it” has begun and holes are drilled for the feet. Once the bottom is done the sides can begin, but damn these are big heavy bastards.
I would quickly move to a place with less onerous and dumbass restrictions and a higher IQ, but our generous healthcare benefits are localized and not portable.

About NotClauswitz

The semi-sprawling adventures of a culturally hegemonic former flat-lander and anti-idiotarian individualist, fleeing the toxic cultural smug emitted by self-satisfied lotus-eating low-land Tesla-driving floppy-hat wearing lizadroid-Leftbat Califorganic eco-tofuistas ~

14 thoughts on “Smaug in Claudifloria

  1. Do it differently. Get some 400 grit black garnet, and wet sand the stain into the wood.

    It’s what I did with the teak oil belowdecks on the late, beloved New Dawn. Left a satin sheen like a varnish, but without the re-varnishing problems. Think of working up an oiled gunstock, and follow that route. In fact, once you’ve got the stain fairly close, I’d suggest you oil finish the veneer just like you would a gunstock, anyway.

    And like Zendo Deb tellsya. Test on scrap, first.

    Sunk New Dawn
    Galveston, TX

    • Interesting!! Sounds like it would make a more even finish, but I wonder if the veneer can handle the wet? I notice that the whole box is veneer’d?

    • Find some scrap veneer, and test away. I had some large veneer surface areas on New Dawn, one was about 5′ high by 4′ wide, the forward bulkhead of the boat’s aft cabin. Never compromised the veneer in the wet sanding process.

      You don’t have to soak the veneer to wet sand it. Pour a half-dollar sized bit on the panel, and the sanding should make that about a 1′ wide by 18 inch long area. Work fast and overlap those areas, and you’ll get it done. And you won’t have soaked the veneer in the process.

      Let it dry 72 hours before starting the wet-oil sanding though. And remember, you’re *starting* with 400 grit, working to 800 and then 0000 steel wool for the oil finish. Bet you’ll like the results.

      But remember, find you some test veneer, and perfect your steps there, first!

      Sunk New Dawn
      Galveston, TX

    • Hi Jim! Thank-you for that how-to – I know sailors like you and ZDeb know what’s up with finishes and finishing brightwork! I need to make some more space in the garage to handle these bad-boys, they’re big and heavy and the bench is too tall.

    • My experience is get an OEM cat if you ever need one. The CA certified type sold here is junk, and seems to be consistently 70-75% of original size in flow area of the matrix. This lowers fuel mileage, and also kills power at high throttle.
      Make sure the dealer isn’t trying to palm off an aftermarket converter in place of the factory type, if you do this. They may have made the factory equipment one, but what is sold in parts stores is NOT even close. HAS to have the original factory markings to be real, and for smog check.

    • We had new cats put in, maybe the the Dinan torque-chip makes the DMV crazy. She wants a Tacoma extra-cab anyhow, 4x with big wheels. We don’t go to “The Dealer” for anything ever – besides the fact there is no BMW dealer here anyhow, just a race-expert…

  2. try a gel stain. Less dependent on absorption. You should be able to find one at Woodcraft, or maybe at Rockler.

    The other choice is a dye. But I haven’t had a lot of luck with dies.

    The one caveat is that gels tend to obliterate the grain. Of everything. Though they work good on stuff like pine that tends to go all blotchy. As always – try on a piece of scrap

    • Thanks Deb!! I have some other-color gel-stain elsewhere. The oak veneer is tough and non-absorbant and the wide sweeping grain is obvious, but mainly I’m mostly-probably getting in my own way. I need to put away the magnifier and lighten-up the pressure on my wiping.

    • You might need to break the surface of whatever finish may still be on it, assuming you haven’t yet tried that.

      Block it out with some 180 or 220 and then go to 320 before the stain.

      I’ve used aniline stain before, with good results, but it’s a water/alcohol base, usually, and you might get some delamination of your veneer with it.

      I think I’m going to try a veneer job on my hot rod speakers and do them up in black too. Probably build some small stands out of some bent 1/4″ rod, similar to your pic.

      Good luck.

    • The random orbital sander has a 220 grit pad on it and I’ve been hitting the surfaces till the shine is all gone – I think oak is just a screw-you kinda wood with its big loopy grain and pores.

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