In Shop Blog, Woodworking Blogs

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After more than 15 years with Popular Woodworking Magazine, first as editor then as publisher, I’ve had the chance to talk with thousands of our readers. And there has been one recurring theme: the frustrations (and sometimes fear) woodworkers have as they approach the final stages of their projects and the time to start the finishing process begins.

It’s understandable in many respects. Both time and money have been invested in making the project and the last thing standing between joy and heartbreak is a quart can or two of finishing material.

I think many woodworkers, especially newer ones, do a lot better with project building than finishing because they were attracted to the “manual arts” of woodworking and later realized they also had to learn the “art” of wood finishing. To the uninformed, it seems a classic right brain, left brain conflict. But it need not be the case.

I can still remember my days as a novice woodworker some 30 years ago suffering the same anxieties as many do today. But along my career path I had the great good fortune to spend five years in one of the top commercial woodworking shops in the country. There I learned both process and materials of finishing.

The good news is that becoming competent with wood finishing can be learned , and it’s a whole lot easier than learning woodworking. And the learning process can be greatly simplified by breaking it down into easy, repeatable steps that lead to predictable results.

I’ve put together a new, 90-minute video so I can share what I was lucky to learn at the knee of a master finisher. And no, I’m not going to presume you have a commercial shop setup so don’t worry about that. I will tell you how to get great results right in your basement or garage. I’ll help you understand how to choose different kinds of finishes to apply, depending on your shop setup, the kinds of projects you build and the results you want to achieve.

In my new video, “The 10 Commandments of Finishing,” I’ll help you set up an easy system to make your finishing chores an ally , not an enemy , in your shop. I cover everything from choosing the right wood so you can avoid blotching right through to sanding your finishes and the final rub-out to achieve a silky smooth finish.

And for a limited time, the DVD version of “The 10 Commandments of Finishing” (suitable for television viewing) is available at a savings of more than $3 off the retail price , just $21.97. The Digital Download version (suitable for computer viewing) is just $19.99.

– Steve Shanesy

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  • Neil

    Steve- on your table saw rehab, when you went to automotive paint because of color selection – that was a dead knowledge give away for me.

    Just ordered thanks!!!!

    PS: everybody thinks you have to go back to 100 years to find a lost art…wonder today who knows how to work magic with lacquer. JEEZ…this recession has put a big hit on the skill level of the shop floor.


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