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.

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Free Wood Finishing Guides

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The Simple ‘Dirty Mahogany’ Finish

Here is one of my favorite finishes for any wood that is ring-porous or diffuse-porous. I call it “dirty mahogany” or “creepy janitor.” First a warning: I think this finish looks like crap on woods that have a closed pore structure, such as maple or cherry, and on softwoods. It looks great on anything...

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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,...

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Milk Paint Primer – No Cause for Panic

TNN Imagine, if you will, spending somewhere in the neighborhood of 45-50 hours working on a project that not only looks halfway decent, but is destined (or at least intended) to transform your messy and cluttered existence into a neatly organized and tidy way of shop life (see above*). Then, imagine wetting your brush...

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Q & A: Matching Old Stains

Q & A: Matching Old Stains Q: I have to match an old stain. I’ve come pretty close with a new stain I bought at the hardware store, but it’s not good enough. Is there a way I can tint the stain? A: There are several fairly simple ways to alter the color of...