finishing

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The Fear-Love Spectrum of Finishing

Every time I purchase lacquer at a professional paint store, I have the following conversation. Me: “Could you put that gallon in the paint-mixing machine for a couple minutes? That will save me some time.” Employee: “I’ll do it, but you won’t like it. You’ll create bubbles in the finish.” Me: “I’ll risk it.”...

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Q & A: Why Does My Wood Have Stripes?

Why Does My Wood Have Stripes?   Q: I put a clear finish on a beautiful ash table I made and found faint stripes an inch or two wide going across each board. Any ideas on what caused them and how to get rid of them? A: Those stripes probably won’t come out with...

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Q & A: Is Polyurethane Food-Safe?

Is Polyurethane Food-Safe?   Q: I’m planning on finishing a set of wooden plates with polyurethane. Is this finish safe for food? A: According to finishing expert Bob Flexner, all finishes are food-safe once they have cured. Polyurethane varnish does not present any known hazard.However, no finish is food safe until it has fully...

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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...

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AW Extra 8/15/13 – Easy Rub-Out

Easy Rub-Out Three quick steps to a silky-smooth finish. By Kevin Southwick Brushed-on finishes such as varnish provide superior protection, but they dry so slowly, airborne dust and renegade hairs are almost sure to settle on the damp surface. Fortunately, the process I use to remove these minor imperfections is both fast and simple—the...

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AW Extra 8/8/13 – Foam Finishing Stand-Offs

Foam Finishing Stand-Offs To make a quick and easy drying rack, or to raise a project off your bench while applying a finish, use blocks of rigid foam insulation and drywall screws. For stability, the screws should be no more than 1/2" longer than the foam’s thickness. If you simply push the screws through,...

AW Extra 7/11/13 – Brush-On Finish the Easy Way

Brush-On Finish the Easy Way Thinning the poly is the secret. By S. Lloyd Natof Finishing is a challenge—right? It’s one thing to get a nice finish on a small, flat sample board, but good luck with those inside corners, vertical surfaces, curved areas, thin edges, and framed panels. I don’t care for spraying,...

Q & A: Final Rubout

Q & A: Final Rubout   Q: I always have problems getting a smooth finish. I sand the wood with 220 paper,wipe it with a tack cloth, apply three coats of high-quality varnish, and still get a rough surface! What can I do to get that “professional” look?   A: You’ve got dust problems,...