Wood Finishing

No woodworking project is finished until it is, well, finished. There are many wood finishing techniques in the world, each one with different functional and aesthetic characteristics. The final finish can turn a project into a masterpiece, or ruin hundreds of hours of hard work. Find out here how to finish wood the right way, every time, no matter what woodworking project you’re completing. Whether you’re finishing up an elegant, delicate jewelry box, or an outdoor chair meant to face the elements, you’ll find the right wood finishing technique here.


Free Wood Finishing Guides

What is shellac?

What is Shellac?

This 11-minute video excerpt, featuring the one and only Don Williams, is a fairly complete answer to a common question – what is shellac? I say “fairly complete” because the video generated a couple follow-up questions in my mind. Fortunately, there’s WIA – our annual woodworking conference. Don spoke for 4 hours at the...

One method of removing white water marks (rings) is to wipe over with a lightly alcohol-dampened cloth. You’ll have more control if you fold the cloth into a pad, like a French-polish pad. Use only enough alcohol so you leave an evaporating trail resembling a comets tail as you wipe.

How to Remove Watermarks

A wet drinking glass can make an ugly white  or dark ring on your furniture. Here’s how to fix the damage. by Bob Flexner Watermarks occur on furniture with finishes that have aged. These marks, also called water rings when they’re round in shape, rarely occur in newly applied film-building finishes, even those such...


The Redneck Polissoir

Whenever I teach a class that involves turning, I like to show them how well the French “polissoir” can finish off your work on the lathe. A polissoir (say it poly-swaar) is a bundle of broom corn that is used to burnish a wooden surface to produce a tactile, low-lustre finish. While the polissoir...

AW Extra 3/20/14 – Wipe-On/Rub-Off Finishing

Wipe-On/Rub-Off Finishing This two-step process guarantees flawless results. By Kevin Southwick No brush marks, drips, runs, bubbles, hairs, dust or orange peel— and beautiful results every time. For most furniture projects, it doesn’t get easier than using a wipe-on/ rub-off finishing process. This two step method eliminates all the usual problems because rubbing off...


Outdoor Finishes

Outdoor Finishes Simple to Super Durable by Brad Holden Outdoor finishes have one thing in common; they all require maintenance. Of course, paint is unequaled at protecting the wood from its two biggest enemies: moisture and ultraviolet (UV) light. Moisture causes the wood to rot, and sunlight bleaches out its natural color. Still, who...


30 Finishing Supplies

30 Finishing Supplies 30 must-have tools for finishing all types of woodworking projects. By Kevin Southwick   Collecting woodworking tools is undeniably fun. As a professional finisher, I meet lots of woodworkers, on the job and in the classes that I teach. So I know that spending hundreds of dollars on a new router...


AW Extra 2/6/14 – Touch up: Repairing a Damaged Finish

Touch up: Repairing a Damaged Finish Hide blemishes without refinishing. Touch up refers to techniques used to repair and disguise damage on already finished wood—without refinishing. Whether you’ve rubbed through a finish, discovered glue spots or putty patches that stick out, or been faced with damage to the wood itself, knowing how to touch...


Q & A: Spray-On Crackle Finish

Spray-On Crackle Finish   Q: Is it possible to get a crackle finish in a pigmented, water-based lacquer that is applied with an HVLP spray gun? If so, please tell me how. A: Yes, it can be done. Put down a base color first (the color that will show through the cracks of the...