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

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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The Way Wood Works: Birch

The Way Wood Works: Birch This affordable wood is great for both high-end and utilitarian cabinetry. By Tim Johnson Birch is a hot item at the lumberyard these days, and birch veneer is the all-time most popular hardwood plywood.This isn’t a fad.Despite changes in taste and fashion, birch has been in demand for furniture...

Stickley 74 Book Rack reproduction by Robert Lang

Authentic Stickley Finish With Modern Materials

For the August 2012 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine, I built a reproduction of a Gustav Stickley No. 74 Book Rack. It’s a great piece in a couple of ways: It is useful and nice looking, and it is also a great introduction to making through-tenon keyed joints, one of the hallmarks of Arts...

Chemical Ebonizing

Chemical Ebonizing ?A sure-fire recipe for turning any wood deep black. By Richard Tendick Remember the old slogan, “better living through chemistry”? When it comes to turning wood black—a process called ebonizing—I prefer the chemical approach, which uses solutions made from vinegar, steel wool and tannic acid. Watching them transform an ordinary wood, such...

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20 Finishing Tips

20 Finishing Tips Purchase the complete version of this woodworking technique story from AWBookstore.com. Make dewaxed shellac Take the wax out of shellac and you have a great sealer that’s compatible with most other finishes. It’s best to get this “dewaxed” shellac as dry flakes that you mix with denatured alcohol. Usually you have...

Basic HVLP Spray Techniques

Basic HVLP Spray Techniques How to succeed at spraying a waterborne finish Purchase the complete version of this woodworking technique story from AWBookstore.com. When it comes to finishing, we’re all looking for easy answers that give professional results. Shooting waterborne finishes with a high volume, low pressure (HVLP) turbine sprayer is quick and safe...

Aged Cherry Finish

Aged Cherry Finish Wipe on years of age in a few easy steps. By Tim Johnson Purchase the complete version of this woodworking technique story from AWBookstore.com. If you want to make a woodworker gnash his teeth, ask him to make new cherry look like cherry that has aged naturally to a rich, brownish...

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Not-So-French Polishing

Not-So-French Polishing A new twist on an old method of applying shellac. By Richard Tendick Purchase the complete version of this woodworking technique story from AWBookstore.com. You’ve spent weeks, or months producing that perfect table from a very special wood, and now it’s time to apply the finish. What do you reach for? If...

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Doesn’t that Interfere With Finishing?

The answer is “no.” What’s the question? “Doesn’t (oil, tallow, paraffin, beeswax, snake squeezins, earwax, monkey fat) interfere with finishing?” Still, the answer is “no” – unless you are using some wacky exotic ingredient, or you are rubbing it on like butter. I know that it’s almost impossible to prove a negative, so permit...