The first ground coat did not dry properly, and I blame the honey in the ground mixture. Should have re-read the “directions” all the way through and I would have re-discovered that the sugars used must be hard at room temperature – liquid honey will never dry. Live and learn. A gentle rub with a damp, lint-free towel removed the sticky and we were good to go.

A new batch of sugar seal was mixed up and brought to a rolling boil – 1/2 cup tap water, 1/3 cup brown sugar, two tea bags and a tsp of powdered red tea, just to see what would happen. The mixture was strained through a cloth and applied (after a cooling period) with a foam brush.

The results? Pretty good, IMHO –

The second ground coat dried very fast, within half an hour or so, much as I remembered the Six Foot Fiddle ground coats.

Both of the photos above are a bit darker than Real Life, but the shade is pretty close. Here’s a close-up of the ribs that is much closer to reality –

My camera doesn’t quite capture the shine and contrast of the grain. Overall I am very happy with the finish so far. On to the shellac!