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

Never Too Citified for a 'Deliverance' Moment

Adam Cherubini, who writes the Arts & Mysteries column for Popular Woodworking, ends up making a lot of his own tools to satisfy his 18th-century urges. The handsaws you see in the photos of his work? Those aren’t Kenyon-style saws from Wenzloff & Sons. Those are saws that Adam made himself. Same with his...

Like Making Sausage

Someone once told me that woodworkers cannot talk to other woodworkers without using their hands to explain things. And that’s true. But I’d like to amend that aphorism to say that woodworkers also like to talk with their pencils. I’ve even taken to carrying around a notebook with me in my back pocket (as...

Spraying Finishing and Bad Habits

It’s lunchtime, but as I gaze into the fridge the only thing that looks good to me is a beer. I reach for the yogurt, but I almost change direction and grab the bottle of Fat Tire on the shelf above my milky bacterial fermentation. Now before you start to worry that I’m in...

3 Ways to The "Authentic" Arts & Crafts Finish

I get a lot of questions about Arts Crafts style finishes. Gustav Stickley’s original work was made of quartersawn white oak and fumed with ammonia. This was then topcoated with shellac, followed by dark paste wax. Gus himself gave us a good description of the process in his magazine, The Craftsman. This description is...

Spray Finishing: Siphon Feed or Gravity Feed?

What kind of sprayer do you recommend for applying a lacquer finish: gravity or siphon feed? Could you use the same sprayer for applying a stain? Thanks for your time and keep up the outstanding work on the Woodworking Magazine and blog. - Andrew Craig, Portland, Oregon I use a siphon-feed cup-gun sprayer, which...

Creole Table: Now the Real Work Begins

It’s curious that many of the people I know who are professional finishers and refinishers are also connoisseurs of drink. Whenever I spray finish , particularly lacquer , I always get an unusual craving for a beer. Perhaps it’s simply the act of replacing one toxin for another. Or perhaps it is the drink...

Tanning Beds: The Final Frontier for Finishing Cherry?

There’s an adage that cherry is the wood that comes with a built-in stain. All you have to do is apply a clear topcoat and watch its rich color develop during the following years. Of course, that’s not what most people do. Cherry, which is currently the most popular wood for commercial cabinets, is...

Paper Bag Miracle

When it comes to finishing, I’m first to admit I can be a bit chicken. I do work hard at finishing, but I generally stick with what I know. And I avoid wetsanding the finish at all costs. I tried several times to get wetsanding right, but I always had problems getting a consistent...