finishing

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Make Yourself a Nice Polissoir

Reader Greg Merritt of Parkersburg, W. Va., drew up plans for making a nice-looking polissoir using broom corn and tarred nylon. The polissoir features two knots – a constrictor knot and a decorative Turk’s head knot, which are both easy to make. Merritt drew up complete instructions for making the polissoir and provided a...

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Polissoirs: New Models & a Long-term Test

Last weekend during the Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event in Charleston, S.C., I completed three try squares and even applied the finish right at the bench using a polissoir (French for “polisher”). For the attendees who had never seen a polissoir or the surface it leaves behind, it was an eye-opener. Photographs don’t do the...

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2013 Popular Woodworking Magazine Favs – Part 2

In a continuation of selecting my favorite articles from the issues of 2013 (read part 1 here), below covers the August (issue #205) through December (issue #208) for the year. My hands-down winner from the August 2014 issue is the article written by Mario Rodriguez, “Take a U-turn to Scoop a Chair Seat.” Jigs...

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Keep Inlay Color-free

I get a fair amount of finishing questions. Recently, most questions that come my way ask how to finish a project that has inlay without heavily affecting the contrast between the project wood and the inlay. And readers want to know how to do that while achieving a nice-looking finish on the project. To...

Mixing finishes. Almost any finishing product can be applied over any other as long as the “other” is dry and the product you’re brushing doesn’t dissolve and smear the existing. I applied a water-soluble dye to this mahogany. Then I applied a thin shellac “washcoat” as a barrier so the water-based paste wood filler I used wouldn’t dissolve and smear the dye. After the filler dried, I brushed polyurethane. I alternated water-based, alcohol-based and mineral-spirits-based without any problems because each previous product was dry.

Five Furniture Finishing Tips

  Wood finishing doesn’t have to be complicated or mysterious. That’s not to say that even experienced finishers don’t run into problems from time to time; everybody does. But there are ways to make the outcome a lot more predictable and therefore less frustrating. Here are five ways to get good finishing results with...

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Greene & Greene Finish

I received an e-mail from a reader the other day, asking about finishes for Greene & Greene furniture. It’s one of those areas where we have some good clues about what was used, but we can’t be certain. There were some variations in color from house to house, as well as variations in wood....

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Flexner on Finishing: Finishes: They are A-changin’

Reformulations may compel you to adjust your finishing process. By Bob Flexner Pages 64-66 Many years ago a friend explained to me the difference between woodworking tools and finishes. Woodworking tools, he said, are physics. You can see them. You can see that a band saw isn’t a table saw even though it has a table. But finishes...

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Shellac Tiger Flakes from Tools for Working Wood

For me, shellac is a lot like grits. When prepared correctly from quality materials, the results are stunning. But if you buy your grits or shellac already made up, or they are old, or they aren’t top quality, you are going to wonder why people rave about the stuff. I’ve never had satisfactory results...