How to Control Blotching

Discovering ugly blotching after applying stain is one of the worst finishing problems a woodworker can encounter—especially because the unsightly patches of dark, deeply absorbed color seem to [...]

Wiping Varnish

In the November 2011 issue, Bob Flexner submitted this excerpt from his book "Wood Finishing 101," along with the article on wiping varnish. It is a useful document that you can post in your [...]

Finishing For Beginners

Years ago I remember teaching a class about finishing that included one student who said he had never used a stain or finish, and to make matters worse, he had never even painted anything. This [...]

Finish Care

My grama always used lemon oil to clean and polish her wood furniture. Either she just enjoyed having everything clean and dust free or she believed everything she read on the label. Many [...]

Butcher Block Finishes

The modern term “butcher block” probably originated from the large, heavy chopping blocks found in old-fashioned butcher shops, which consisted of thick square boards (such as [...]

Arts & Crafts Oak Finish

When a customer asked me to replicate the finish on her antique Stickley sideboard for the pieces she had commissioned, I grabbed my yellow dye and a few gel stains, because I knew that a layered [...]

Finishing Red Alder

“What kind of wood is this?” In my work as a furniture restorer and conservator, I often hear this question. Red alder is especially hard to identify because it can be finished to closely [...]

Blotching in Cherry: How To Avoid It

Cherry is a beautiful and easy-to-work wood. But it is a problematic wood to finish because it has a tendency to blotch, even with just a finish applied – no stain. Everyone working with cherry [...]

The Times, They are a-Changin’

One of my favorite songs back in the 1960s was Bob Dylan’s, The Times, They are A-Changin’. This theme applies today to what’s happening in wood finishing. It’s natural for us to believe that the [...]

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