Proper technique is invaluable when you only what the best looking piece. Finish can that an average looking piece and make it an eye catching masterpiece. But it can also give your masterpiece an amateurish look if done poorly.
The beauty of a woodworking project depends on three things: good design, good craftsmanship, and a good finish. In the long run, the finish is the most important. A good finish will preserve a well-conceived, well-constructed project for generations. Like all woodworking arts, to properly finish a project, you must have the right tools and a working knowledge of the available materials. But the most essential prerequisite is something you can't buy or read - patience. Putting a fine finish on a project may take as long or longer than building it. But if you take the time, the results will be well worth your efforts.
These 3 basic finish steps apply to all finishes from the most basic wax or oil finish to high-tech coatings and even painting the exterior of a house or a room wall. You can think of a paint, lacquer, varnish, oil, or even a wax finish on wood in the terms of a building. The Base sealer or primer coat, provides the foundation of the finish. The Build coats provide the structure or framework of the finish itself, much as the framing of a house. The Top coat gives the finish its final character and look whether it be high gloss or the subtle richness of a matte sheen.
The easiest of all finishes to apply on your project is one you wipe on and wipe off the wood. All finishes can be wiped on wood, of course, but finishes that dry and harden rapidly are difficult to control because they don’t allow the time necessary to get the excess wiped off evenly.
Most coatings are formulated to work best with a particular type of applicator, but some work nicely with more than one. Knowing which coatings favor which application techniques can help you get better results. To that end, here's a rundown of the various common finishes and some of the best application strategies for each.
Wood finishing is fun and easy. We'll take you through the wood finishing process including preparing the wood, choosing the proper applicator, and applying traditional and one-step finishes. Whether you're planning to build or refinish furniture or bookshelves for your room, make gift items for your family, friends or a local charity, or take up woodworking as a profession, you'll find woodworking to be a rewarding experience. It's a practical skill that you'll take with you throughout life.
One of the most difficult woodworking tasks for beginners is finishing. There is a bewildering array of finishing products available to woodworkers today but comparative product information is hard to come by. All finishes have certain strengths and weakness when compared to each other.
How to Varnish Furniture
Varnish, one of the toughest of the finishes, is superior to the other traditional finishes. It enhances and gives warmth to the grain of the wood and is resistant to impact, heat, abrasion, water, and alcohol. It can be used as a topcoat over worn finishes. Varnish provides a clear finish, but it darkens the wood slightly. It is available in high-gloss, semigloss or satin, and matte or flat surface finishes. There are many types to choose from, but it's important to decide on one that will work well with your furniture wood.
How to Shellac Furniture
Shellac is the easiest of the classic finishes to apply. It produces a very fine, mellow finish, and it accentuates the natural grain of the wood. It is especially attractive on walnut, mahogany, and fine veneer woods. It polishes well and is the basis for the traditional French polish finish on very fine furniture. Shellac is applied in several thin coats. It dries fast and can be re-coated after four hours. Application mistakes can occur since many coats are required, but they are easy to fix.
How to Lacquer Furniture
Lacquer is the fastest-drying of the finishes for wooden furniture. It is more durable than shellac -- although it is very thin -- and must be applied in many thin coats. It is available in high-gloss, satin, and matte finishes, in clear form and in several clear stain colors. For small jobs, lacquer can be applied with aerosol spray cans. This is expensive, but it works well. It's important to know what type of lacquer to use for the job.
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