Some time ago I purchased three African Azobe Sleepers from you to form part of a feature fireplace.
At long last the project is completed - no problems with the Azobe wood, it was great to work - and thought you might like to see some photos of the completed fireplace.
The treatments I gave the Azobe wood were as follows. Allow plenty of drying / hardening time between processes;
1. Pressure wash;
2. Cut to size rounding edges and corners with a plane or spokeshave. Plane any flat surfaces you consider may be too rough but avoid removing too much material as this would spoil the natural / used / distressed markings which are so beautiful;
3. Make plugs from off-cuts to fill any coach screw holes. Glue with PVA wood glue and hammer into place. Trim using plane or chisel when glue has set;
4. Apply two coats of PVA diluted one part PVA to five parts of water. This helps to seal any loose fibres and potential splinters;
5. Sand thoroughly using coarse grade abrasive paper;
6. Apply two coats of Colron Wood Dye (Indian Rosedwood);
7. Apply at least three coats of Ronseal Ultra Tough Mattcoat Polyurethane Varnish (indoor). This again binds any loose fibres and seals minor cracks and crevices.
8. Sand very lightly using fine grade abrasive paper;
9. Apply a final coat of the Ronseal varnish. Although called Mattcoat it gives a lovely lustrous finish. High gloss would not be appropriate.
The above processes may be time consuming but give the sort of finish and appearance you can’t avoid feeling and stroking. Even using a yellow duster does not leave any fibres.
Incidentally, the TV is a 42” Panasonic. The Brazilian slate tiles and the Bramhope quarry stone hearth were obtained from Mone Brothers Bramhope quarry site. DVD’s giving the log fire effect are available from several sources on the internet.
I hope the above is helpful. We are delighted with the overall effect. I would consider it a compliment if you were to use the pictures on your website.
Thanks for advice and assistance with loading the trailer.
Thank you so much for your meticulous step by step description of your amazing fire surround, that will be invaluable for anyone wanting to follow in your footsteps. The quality and texture you have brought out in the railway sleepers is superb. Some might prefer you to have a real fire, but on the other hand, you have all the visual advantages, without the dust and ash to clear away!
RAILWAY SLEEPERS USED
Used Azobe railway sleepers
2.6m x 240mm x 140mm approx