With the drawer guides installed the toughest part of making the bench was done. It was time to start working on edge treatments of the legs and the drawer unit's exterior parts.
I've got a Lie Nielsen beading tool so I considered using it on the legs - roundover the edges and do a pair of beads on each face of the legs. Looked nice.
BUT - there's always a "but ..." - there are though tenons which are not centered on the legs. That decision was made early on in order to maximize the length of the drawers and thus the amount of enclosed storage space under the bench top. It was only a couple of inches per drawer but there are eight drawers, each a little over 11 inches wide so that comes to 176 square inches or a little over another square foot of precious storage space.
I had this wild hair idea to carve the ends of the feet. Maybe a scroll. Did a quick and dirty and decided I didn't have the carving tool chisels I needed - to say nothing about my lack of skills with them.
K.I.S.S.- Keep It Simple Stupid
It's so easy to get distracted
Some bandsawing, some oscillating spindle sanding, some use of a roundover bit on the router table and a lot of hand sanding and the grain starts to become clearer. Unlike most people, I actually enjoy hand sanding. I like the feel of the wood.
Sanded the end grain of the base and top parts of the leg units down to 400 grit to minimize their darkening when a finish is applied. Went with a 50-50 mix of Tung oil and paint thinner for the legs. Easy to apply - wipe it on, let it sit, wipe off the excess. Repeat twice a day for a few days and you've got an easily repaired finish that brings out the grain but isn't poly shiny.
Did the top stretchers with rubbed on blonde dewaxed shellac, sanding with 400 grit between coats. Will probably put on 10 or 12 coats - they go pretty quick because shellac in thin coats dries very quickly. It's amazing how a flat piece of wood can look anything but flat. Here's a detail of one of the spalted maple stretchers with 8-10 coats of shellac. Looks like part of a chased and repoised (sp?) gold piece of metal rather than wood.
Here's what I've got at this point.
So far so good.