Wood Finish Furniture
|Plyedge Pressure Sensitive Edgemate . Real birch and oak edging gives panels the look of solid wood ready for a finish. Just peel and stick.|
Clear FinishThe clear finish is the final step in your do it yourself furniture refinishing venture. The final appearance will depend on how well you've done each of the steps leading up to it, clean, strip, if you're refinishing, surface repair, sand (only if necessary), stain, sanding sealer, sand the sanding sealer, clean with a traditional sticky tack cloth or a microfiber reuseable dry tack cloth and final finish. See our Barebones Basic Information for quick information.
Sanding SealerBe sure to use sanding sealer after you've stained your wood project. The sanding sealer will seal the stain so that there's not much possibility of stain bleeding through your clear finish.
Sanding sealer can be sanded very smooth with 400 grit sandpaper to make your final finish very smooth
Different FinishesYou have gone through the difficult part, stripping and preparing your project,now it's time for the final step, applying a finish.
There are many products available for finishes, some very hard and some quite soft. Some will give more protection than others, but some pieces of furniture don't get very hard use, so will do fine with a less protective finish.
Staining wood furniture is generally a necessity after you strip and prepare it. If you don't stain the piece it will quite often look uneven in color or kind of blotchy. An exception to this is a clear finish over light color wood that you want to have a natural appearance. Nitrile gloves are always a good idea when you work with stain or paint. They're inexpensive and save your skin by getting the stain and final finish on the wood rather than on you.
Watco Danish Oil is an easy to use stain and wood finish all in one. Like tung oil, danish oil isn't as hard as some finishes, but is easily repaired.
Polyurethane is a plastic coating that is very hard, but is far less flexible than the wood it's finishing. Polyurethane has a tendency to pull away from the surface over time and in some situations.
See some more about finishes below.
Your furniture does a boogey woogey all day long. The only thing is that it's drummer is very slow moving so you can't see it happening. As temperatures change, the whole piece expands and contracts depending on the amount of heat.
PolyurethaneIf you have read anywhere else on this site, you probably have figured out that polyurethane is not one of my favorite finishes to use on furniture. Although there have been improvements in polyurethane, it still is a hard plastic coating that doesn't have much give. If you're working on an antique and you use sandpaper and polyurethane, you no longer have a proveable antique and the antique value will drop through the floor.
There are many different kinds of oil finishes, some are easy to use and someare very time consuming.
Linseed Oil, BoiledLinseed Oil was the choice of the old timers.
I put the boiled after the linseed oil to draw attention to it rather than to indicate that there will be other types covered. The other type is raw linseed oil, it will never dry, but will become gummy and sticky, so be sure to get BOILED linseeed oil if you decide on that kind of finish.
Linseed oil gives a fantastic finish, but you need a year to apply it. The general rule of thumb for a linseed oil finish is once an hour for a day, once a day for a week, once a week for a month and once a month for a year. The finish was usually french polished once a year after that. That's a lot of work.
The other oils are much easier to use. Danish Oil and Tung Oil are two popular oil finishes. They are very easy to use and come in clear and in pigmented colors. Just follow the directions on the container, but double the number or coats they recommend. They aren't as durable as some other finishes, but are very easy to repair. If you get a light scratch in the finish, just grab a cloth and apply another coat of the finish and generally it's all taken care of.
Shellac is a good durable finish, except that it is very susceptible to water and alcohol. Alcohol dissolves shellac.
Last, but not least, is my favorite, lacquer. Lacquer is a very durable finish, is flexible and is very easy to keep up.
Our dining room set is from around the turn of the last century (sounds strange having to define which century, but then it's going to be a real headshaker in a short time when I have to say , "yep, I came along about a third of the way through the last century". I guess a century isn't such a long time after all.) We restored the finish on our set about 25 years ago with a lacquer finish. We have never used waxes or polish of any kind, just clean with a dampcloth and wipe dry with a soft cloth and it has a beautiful sheen. It looks better than it did when we first did it and should last for another 50 years at least.
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