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


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...


Dyed by My Own Hand

When I finish my pieces, I use restraint when adding stains or dyes. Most woods look best (to my eye) with some shellac, lacquer and maybe a little colored wax in the pores. But when I do color wood, I’m a fan of the W.D. Lockwood dyes, which are usually found packaged as J.E....


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.”...


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...


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...


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...