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 In Finishing

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To determine the relative scratch resistance of a finish, push the sharp edge of the cylindrical lead in various “B” and “H” architect’s pencils forward on a finish. There’s no need to use pressure. The next-to-hardest pencil that doesn’t scratch the finish is the rating for that finish.

A few sample boards can save you from future finishing headaches.

Finish manufacturers targeting the furniture industry and large professional finish shops provide a lot of information about their products. Unfortunately, the manufacturers who target amateur woodworkers and small shop professionals aren’t as helpful.

In the end, we are often left to our own devices to figure out the characteristics of the finishes we are buying.

Here are some easy tests you can perform in your shop to determine the qualities of the finishes you’re using. In most cases you’ll want to do the tests on scrap wood. For the most accurate results, let the finish cure at least a couple weeks in a warm room before performing the tests.

Scratch Resistance

The ability of a finish to resist damage from coarse or sharp objects is likely one of the most important qualities about which you’re concerned.


 

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