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 In Finishing

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This traditional finish from Denmark is simple, safe and tactile.

When I tell fellow woodworkers and customers that I use soap as a finish on some of my tables and chairs, they think I’m joking. Then, when I pull out a Mason jar filled with soap finish to show them how it works, they laugh because it looks a lot like, well, snot.

After seeing the results on finished pieces, however, they know it’s no joke.

Using soap as a finish on furniture and floors is common in Denmark and other northern European countries. It produces a low-sheen finish that is remarkably soft to the touch. It looks best on light-colored woods – from white maple to woods about as dark as white oak.

And, as you can imagine, it is a safe finish. It might be the only finish where your hands and clothes are cleaner after using it. It is best used on bare wood or wood that has a soap finish on it already.


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