Well, after my last post I decided to back up a step. I sanded down a bit with 360 grit, and then without thinking I wiped the whole thing down with mineral spirits to make sure the sawdust was all gone. About halfway through doing that, I realized that I was also stripping off whatever finish I had already had on the box (or at least much of it)! Hah. Oh well, could be worse, right?

So I went with Marc’s recommendation to use a straight wiping varnish with a 50/50 mixture of varnish (I bought a new can that seals properly) and mineral spirits. I applied it nicely, I thought, and let it dry. And I have to say, so far I really like it! It’s only one coat, but still – when the light hits the wood in certain ways, the grain looks really something.

But there’s one thing that’s bugging me. On just a couple spots, the wood is slightly lighter in color. I suppose this is from uneven sanding or uneven stripping of the finish? I’m not sure. I’d probably not worry too much about it except the problem areas are right in the front. Here’s a pic – look along the bottom of the box lid and along the bottom of the box:

varnish/spirits coat 1

What do you think? Do I need to strip the whole thing again, or is this something that will even out over time? To be honest, I don’t mind if that’s what I have to do. I’m kind of having fun with this whole thing and I’m not in a huge rush. I just want to understand what I’m doing and how what I’m doing affects the end product.