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

pumkin pine

Carving Out a Pumpkin Pine Finish

We experimented to find the perfect recipe for this most-requested finish for pine – and it’s as easy as pie. by Glen D. Huey from the Autumn 2007 issue of Woodworking Magazine Pumpkin pine is a developed patina that glows a warm orangy color similar to – you guessed it –...

Blackened Wood: Designing with Fire

Black and grays are the stars of today’s architecture and furniture design. Most of the black in today’s wood furniture and cabinetry is painted or produced by means of stains and dyes, but another way to turn a piece black is by charring. Charring involves no solvents and requires no drying...

Soap: Making a Clean Finish

This traditional finish from Denmark is simple, safe and tactile. by Christopher Schwarz from the October 2016 PWM 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...

Crackle Lacquer

A friend called me the other day with a question. He was matching a crackle-lacquer finish from the 1980s and wanted to know how this finish is made and how to apply it. Crackle lacquer is lacquer with so much solid material, usually silica, added that there isn’t enough binder (lacquer)...

Spray Booth for a Small Shop

In the December, 2001 issue of Popular Woodworking (issue # 125) I wrote about how to construct a simple but safe home spray booth. This article was reproduced in my book, “Flexner on Finishing.” But what if you have more space, do a lot of finishing and would like to have...

How to Avoid Runs & Sags

One of the biggest problems woodworkers have is runs and sags drying in their finishes, especially with slower drying finishes such as varnish (including polyurethane and wiping varnish) and water-based finish. They can also happen in shellac, though it dries faster. The remedy is simple. You should never have runs or...

Cutting Boards: The Best Finish

A seemingly never-ending question concerns how to finish cutting boards. You don’t need any finish on a cutting board. Water won’t hurt it and no finish will keep water out anyway, after a few knife cuts. Nor will the finish continue to look nice after numerous knife cuts. If the cutting...

Rejuvenating Old Finishes

Editors note: Bob Flexner’s blog will move to the Flexner on Finishing Blog at the end of April. You can find it here. Just because a finish is old and deteriorated, you don’t necessarily have to strip it and apply a new finish. You may be able to rejuvenate the finish...

Lacquer for Antiques & Reproductions

It’s widely believed and promoted that the proper finish for 18th and 19th-century antique furniture and reproductions is shellac. The reason is that shellac was the finish that was most likely used in that time period. I have no problem with this, but I want to make the case that nitrocellulose lacquer...