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 In Finishing

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Bleeding. The shiny spots on this oak panel show where an oil/varnish blend has oozed out of the pores and dried on the surface. To keep this from happening, check your project every half hour or so after you apply the finish and wipe off any bleeding before it dries.

Bleeding, blushing, blotching, orange peel and fish eye.

The basics of wood finishing are really quite simple: You use one of three tools – a rag, brush or spray gun – to transfer a liquid stain or finish from a can to the wood. Finishing becomes more complex when problems occur.

Here are five common problems, together with how to avoid them – and  how to deal with them when they happen.


Bleeding refers to an oil finish oozing out of pores after being applied and wiped off. It is more likely to occur on large-pored woods such as oak or mahogany than on tight-grained woods. And it is more common with thinned commercial blends of oil and varnish (Watco Danish Oil, for example) than with pure oils such as boiled linseed oil or tung oil.

Bleeding is also more likely on hot days, especially if you move the wood into warmer temperatures or sunlight before the finish has totally cured.


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