Filling Pores for an Elegant Look


Two methods to create a mirror-flat surface.
By Bob Flexner
Page: 54

From the August 2010 issue #184
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Very few woodworkers or refinishers fill the pores of wood anymore. The process is not well understood and it’s perceived to be difficult. So if the wood has large open pores, the pitting is usually allowed to show.

This open pored, “natural wood” look has even become quite popular and is often promoted in the woodworking literature.

But for some, the natural-wood look creates a less-than-elegant appearance. This is surely the view of companies that mass-produce high-end furniture and most people who buy this furniture. For at least 150 years, in fact, most better-quality, factory-produced furniture has had its pores filled to create a “mirror-flat” appearance.

Better-quality furniture in the past was made largely from mahogany, walnut or quarter- or rift-sawn oak. It’s these and other woods with similar pore structures that look better with their pores filled (in contrast to plain-sawn oak, for example, which is difficult to get flat because of the wide segments of deep grain.)

If you use these woods to make furniture or you restore old furniture and you want the wood to look its most elegant, you need to know how to fill pores.

Articles: Visit the ‘Flexner on Finishing” archive.
In our store: Publisher Steve Shanesy’s new DVD, “The Ten Commandments of Finishing,” is now available.
To buy: Bob’s first book, “Understanding Wood Finishing, ” is available through Amazon.com.
In our store: Bob’s new book, “Flexner on Finishing,” will be available in mid-August –pre-order now!


From the August 2010 issue #184
Buy this issue now