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Questions tagged [finishing]

Finishing a woodworking project refers to the final steps to beautify and protect it.

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39 votes
4 answers
52k views

What's the purpose of raising the grain before finishing a furniture piece?

I'm currently working on a entry bench in black walnut. I'm wondering if I should raise the grain before finishing my bench or not. In the past, I haven't done so. I've heard that it's better to ...
Maxime Morin's user avatar
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30 votes
6 answers
146k views

How do I achieve a "piano black" high gloss finish on wood?

I'm building some speaker cabinets for my living room out of MDF. I'm wondering how to achieve that "high gloss" / "piano black" look, like on B&W speakers or, well, black pianos... Any ideas? I'...
nippoo's user avatar
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26 votes
6 answers
83k views

How long does it take tung oil to cure?

Depending on what you're reading, tung oil cures in a day I use Minwax tung oil on all my turningings. Two Coats ussually. After the second coat, I buff with the Beall Buffing system, Ussually ...
drs's user avatar
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20 votes
7 answers
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What are some safe finishes for indoor projects likely to be chewed on by a young child or infant?

I'm going to be putting together a crib for over the next few months for our first child. I found a blog that mentions shellac. Only, it doesn't exactly say that shellac is safe, only that it is ...
fordareh's user avatar
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20 votes
4 answers
16k views

What are the differences between sanding and scraping?

How do both techniques compare? In terms of result, cost, applicability to different kinds of wood, different shapes of work pieces and cleanliness of process. I always used sandpaper to get a smooth ...
null's user avatar
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19 votes
8 answers
24k views

What is the difference between "curing" and "drying"?

When learning about different finishes, some resources talk about the finish's drying time, such as this Zinsser Shellac. The shellac dries to the touch in 15 minutes and can be re-coated in 45 ...
drs's user avatar
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19 votes
4 answers
14k views

What types of food-safe finishes work best for protecting wood that will be outdoors?

I am building some garden boxes out of Cedar. I'd like to protect them so that the wood lasts longer, but I am concerned about certain finishes that might leach contaminants into the soil. Is there ...
Peter Grace's user avatar
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19 votes
4 answers
22k views

At what stage of basic furniture making should I "finish" the wood?

I have purchased wood in order to make some basic furniture: One of these will be placed outside (simple table), One inside the bathroom, (basic chest of drawers) And another in the hall way (shoe ...
Phil's user avatar
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18 votes
14 answers
138k views

How can I achieve a raw, unfinished look to my project while protecting it from water and physical abuse?

I am creating an oak table top that will undoubtedly be exposed to a certain level of physical abuse (e.g., plates sliding across the surface) and water (e.g., glasses placed without a coaster, spills)...
drs's user avatar
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18 votes
2 answers
215k views

Can I apply water-based polyurethane over an oil based stain?

I recently finished a dresser top in a very light gray oil based stain. Afterwards I applied a water based matte poly, because I didn't want any yellow tint to show on the light gray color (see this ...
Doresoom's user avatar
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17 votes
7 answers
48k views

Making wood filler from sawdust

The piece I am currently working on does not need to be perfect in any way, I am actually going for a slightly rough look (due to many mistakes along the way) but I would like to hide some of the ...
Gareth Shepherd's user avatar
17 votes
3 answers
13k views

Is there any such thing as sanding something *too* fine for finishing?

I know you can get sandpaper in super-high grits, like 2000 grit and higher. I guess there's a point of diminishing returns for sanding wood projects, but is it possible to use too high a grit prior ...
rob's user avatar
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16 votes
6 answers
138k views

Should I use sandpaper or Steel Wool between coats of polyurethane?

Polyurethane is typically my go-to finish, but I'd always just kind of done it how dad showed me rather than reading the instructions, sanding with fine grain between coats, or not at all if it's ...
Daniel B.'s user avatar
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16 votes
3 answers
5k views

What can I coat a wooden drawer slide with to reduce drag?

I have an old wooden desk with a middle draw that has a center support that the drawer slides back and forth on. The friction creates drag that prevents the opening and closing action from seeming ...
fordareh's user avatar
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15 votes
4 answers
63k views

Finishing a desk or tabletop?

I am wanting to make my own computer desk and I am not sure in the steps I need to take to finish it in regards to oiling and applying something like polyurethane which seems to be used in all the ...
Liam Owens's user avatar
15 votes
2 answers
43k views

Finishing schedule for live edge walnut slab

I'm working on a live edge walnut slab coffee table. This is a photo of the bottom side of the table before any finish is applied sanded to 220 (for reference the holes are for threaded inserts that ...
Doov's user avatar
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14 votes
2 answers
24k views

How can I properly dispose of rags used with Boiled Linseed Oil

I have read several times now that, if not disposed of in a proper manner, rags covered in Boiled Linseed Oil (BLO) can combust. In that regard I have some related questions: Under what condition, ...
Matt's user avatar
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14 votes
5 answers
25k views

In what situations would I use a belt sander versus a random orbit sander?

I own both a belt sander and random orbit sander. I've found that as I've worked on improving my finishing technique, I will oftentimes go for the random orbit sander over any other sanding ...
Peter Grace's user avatar
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13 votes
2 answers
50k views

Why does my workpiece become rough again after applying polyurethane varnish when it wasn't before?

I am in the process of applying polyurethane varnish to a finished workpiece and have been sanding between coats as advised by the manufacturer instructions. I initially wondered why this was ...
user avatar
13 votes
2 answers
29k views

Should I finish before, during, or after assembly? [duplicate]

I'm building some pretty basic bookshelves. I intend to assemble them with glue. I also intend to sand them, apply stain, shellac, and polyurethane. Should I: Dry fit, glue, sand, finish? Or dry fit, ...
Jason C's user avatar
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13 votes
1 answer
3k views

Leveling a finish/finishing the finish

I'm using Emmet's Good Stuff (poly gel varnish that you wipe on) as a finish on a walnut slab. I've read a lot about finishing online, but am a little confused about "leveling the finish." As I ...
Doov's user avatar
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12 votes
6 answers
122k views

Can I speed up stain drying with a hair dryer?

Can I speed up stain drying with a hair dryer or a heat gun? Is there any reason not to? If it matters: In my case Minwax Wood Finish or Varathane brand, oil based, not gel, referring to all coats ...
Jason C's user avatar
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12 votes
2 answers
61k views

Can I apply polyurethane over oil before oil cures?

Specifically I am wondering about polyurethane (Rustoleum Ultimate) over boiled linseed oil, but in general polyurethane or other top coats with similar chemistry over any drying oil. Question is: ...
Jason C's user avatar
  • 5,603
12 votes
5 answers
4k views

Is it possible to distress lumber to look "reclaimed?"

My cousin's fiancee is interested in making a bench similar to this picture: This appears to be reclaimed lumber with years of weathering, but it's very smooth, which seems like it would be hard to ...
Daniel B.'s user avatar
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12 votes
2 answers
685 views

Choosing wood and finish for outdoor furniture

What qualities should I look for in woods to be used in outdoor furniture and what are some examples of woods which have those qualities? What finishing options do I have for weatherproofing wooden ...
user632's user avatar
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12 votes
2 answers
1k views

Evening reflectivity of a finish after "finishing the finish"

I recently installed butcher block countertops in my kitchen. Several weeks ago, I put four coats of varnish on them, but (as always) they ended up with dust nibs. So yesterday, I wet sanded with 400 ...
dfife's user avatar
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11 votes
3 answers
62k views

How do I de-nib polyurethane after it dries but still maintain its finish?

Sometimes when I apply polyurethane, for whatever reason, it's not completely smooth. Maybe a brush mark here and there, or a couple little nibs, etc. The advice I see often is to sand the area ...
Jason C's user avatar
  • 5,603
11 votes
4 answers
179 views

Are there advantages to using packaged wood finishing cloths instead of old towels and shirts?

Some manufacturers offer packaged "wood finishing cloths". I've always used old towels, old shirts, or paper towels both for applying certain finishes as well as when wiping off excess. Do "wood ...
drs's user avatar
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11 votes
4 answers
2k views

Cut, then Sand? Or Vice-versa

I have a rough-sanded red oak panel (120 grit). I need to make a small circular cut with a jigsaw for a grommet. I plan on sanding the panel with 150, then 180 grit, in preparation for either staining ...
Jason Cavanaugh's user avatar
11 votes
4 answers
3k views

Unobtrusive ways to protect plywood corners?

I'm building a bunch of cabinets out of 3/4" plywood. The corners are beveled so there's no ugly plywood "end grain" showing in the joints. While the joint looks fantastic, I'm concerned that the ...
rinogo's user avatar
  • 535
11 votes
3 answers
30k views

How do I treat MDF?

I recently bought a workbench with a 900x1500x12mm MDF top and it doesn't appear to be sealed. What should I apply to seal the edges from leaking and seal the top from absorbing? Indoor use, subject ...
Mercer's user avatar
  • 233
11 votes
2 answers
322 views

Making fake/pseudo plugs or caps

Gifted amateur working with variety of different woods like pine,oak and something from Indonesia that I haven't typed yet. If one needs to use caps or plugs for recessed screw/nails you would just go ...
Matt's user avatar
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10 votes
3 answers
59k views

how to fix very light scratches in polyurethane finish?

I just got a nice new wooden table, and, being completely clueless about wood, scrubbed it with the rougher side of a dish sponge because it had some weird rough spots on the surface. Now it's ...
weronika's user avatar
  • 201
10 votes
5 answers
27k views

Is it a good idea to apply lacquer over shellac?

I have an antique coffee table that I am planning to restore. It is elaborately carved, and appears to be made out of solid mahogany. The existing finish is in pretty good shape, except for the top of ...
Jason Hutchinson's user avatar
10 votes
3 answers
27k views

How can I protect a desk top made from softer wood?

A follow up to this question, which established that the hardness of the wood is less important than how you protect the surface. Suppose I use a very easily dented wood, let's say Chestnut(Hardness ...
Daniel B.'s user avatar
  • 5,414
10 votes
4 answers
13k views

Applying shellac smoothly without a sprayer

How can I apply a smooth coat of dewaxed shellac without a sprayer? Whether I use a brush, sponge, or rag, I always end up with tiny raised beads of shellac at the borders of my previous brush stroke....
Jason C's user avatar
  • 5,603
10 votes
2 answers
2k views

Finish raised the "grain"?

I recently put together a stationary combination work bench and cabinets out of 5/8 particle board and 9/8 "benchtop" (which appears to just be thick particle board). I previously made a work table ...
Michael Urman's user avatar
10 votes
4 answers
4k views

What is a good finish for shot glasses?

I recently got a lathe and playing around with it I've made some cups roughly the size of a shot glass. My cousin immediately wanted to buy them off me. I haven't found any information that seems ...
Mike's user avatar
  • 201
10 votes
4 answers
15k views

Why shouldn't I shake my can of polyurethane?

I was going to ask this question after getting some misleading information from my can of poly, other questions and answers here and from my own experience. What I never understood was why should I ...
Matt's user avatar
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10 votes
1 answer
6k views

Applying shellac in high humidity

I applied a coat of dewaxed shellac (Bulls Eye) as a first coat on some poplar. I then noticed that the can said do not apply if humidity exceeds 85%. I live in a generally humid area. Today is a ...
Jason C's user avatar
  • 5,603
10 votes
1 answer
2k views

How can I keep a cedar tree round from checking?

I want to turn a large western cedar tree round into a low table for a covered outdoor area. My tree round is from a 100-ish year old western cedar tree that a neighbor recently cut down. It's big,...
DavidC's user avatar
  • 553
10 votes
3 answers
12k views

Recommended technique for applying oils

I'm not sure if different oils have wide varying techniques as far as application goes. Yes some might take longer to cure/dry but I figure in general the approaches are the same. If I am wrong then ...
Matt's user avatar
  • 20.2k
9 votes
5 answers
16k views

How to finish a branch to keep the bark (partially) on?

My son found a nice thick branch that I want to turn into a walking stick for him. Unfortunately, I can't tell what kind of wood it is exactly. The bark is still partially on and doesn't seem loose. ...
SQB's user avatar
  • 349
9 votes
3 answers
7k views

Is all fine grit count sandpaper called wet/dry?

I need to start getting into sharpening and honing so naturally one of the ways I could go would be to get some sandpaper in the 500 + grit count range. (That decision is based off a great video I saw ...
Matt's user avatar
  • 20.2k
9 votes
5 answers
16k views

Finish that will come in contact with alcohol

I am just starting to get into finishing. I have a pallet wine rack that will be holding wine bottles (obviously). On top of this I have several other wine related wood projects I am making. I have ...
Matt's user avatar
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9 votes
3 answers
2k views

cutting board turned green!

I decided to make my own cutting board out of a nice piece of black walnut I came across. It looked great before I added oil, but after I added hemp oil to one side, the whole board turned greenish. ...
user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
5k views

Best method to stain the "side" of a project

I wasn't sure how to stain the 1" side of my desktop (an 80x30x1" red oak panel), so I thought painter's tape would be a good idea to only stain half at a time. (Half while doing the "bottom" of the ...
Jason Cavanaugh's user avatar

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