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

You want to raise the grain before using water-based finishes, as those will also raise the grain, but you won't be able to adequately scrape/sand off the raised fibers. I'd recommend using distilled ...
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22 votes
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Which solvents can be stored in which plastics? -- is there an organic chemist in the house?

A quick google search found me this website, which has a nifty compatibility chart that I've attached below. Cole-Parmer has a very comprehensive compatibility chart for many solvents (organic or ...
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18 votes

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

I think the link in LeeG's reply covers all the necessary steps but just to have it spelled out here. Good surface prep is very important, imperfections 'telegraph' through paint very easily so the ...
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15 votes

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

Water swells the wood fibers and they will plastically (permanently) deform. This leaves a rougher surface than what was prepared by sanding or scraping. Sanding after staining typically causes the ...
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13 votes
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How do I achieve a "piano black" high gloss finish on wood?

I have used this guy's technique before and it works great. Basically, you apply very thin coats, then sand to about 400 grit, and after that, do wet sanding to about 2000 grit, and then switch to ...
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13 votes
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Leveling a finish/finishing the finish

As I understand it poly varnish requires some minor abrasion between coats for good adhesion. Nope. You'll read this online a lot (and in some books, and what's worse even in the instructions for ...
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12 votes

Finishing a desk or tabletop?

oiling and applying something like polyeurethane which seems to be used in all the youtube tutorials OK need to run though a number of basics first. Firstly a general caution, lots of people who ...
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12 votes

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

Good answers, but nobody seems to have mentioned yet that some timber types are very prone to grain raising, and some really are not. I have never "raised the grain" by dampening as a ...
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  • 3,809
12 votes

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

Raising the grain not only helps to bring out fibers that might swell when applying the actual finish, but saturating the grain beforehand with a wood conditioner will help to make the grain "pop out" ...
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  • 3,995
9 votes

What's the best way to remove varnish from recycled wood flooring?

You can either mechanically remove the varnish or chemically strip it. Examples of mechanical methods: planer jointer table saw belt sander (or other aggressive sander) hand plane? If I was using ...
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9 votes
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Evening reflectivity of a finish after "finishing the finish"

Finishing should probably get its own SE site. :) I only partially jest. In this case you will be up against several limitations to getting the finish that I think you are looking for, none of which ...
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9 votes

How do I properly care for my paintbrushes?

Cleaning starts before you use them. Get the brush fully wet with whatever solvent your finish requires (water, mineral spirits, etc). This will help prevent finish from drawing up into the tang of ...
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7 votes
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What is the difference between wiping polyurethane and wiping varnish?

What is the difference between wiping polyurethane and wiping varnish? There can be no difference, they could be the same thing. Although note that sometimes "wiping polyurethane" refers to the ...
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7 votes
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How do I properly care for my paintbrushes?

TL;DR warning. Rinsing is, usually, only the first step in brush cleaning. Many paints and varnishes will state on the label that brushes should be washed after use and if this advice is followed ...
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6 votes
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What should I use to apply a water-based varnish?

Generally, besides foam there are synthetic bristle brushes and natural bristle brushes (as well as sprayers, air-brushes and rollers, which I'm not going to discuss). There is great debate over which ...
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  • 2,216
5 votes

What's the best way to remove varnish from recycled wood flooring?

In smaller batches I recommend hand scraping for finish removal on large, flat expanses as you're faced with here. It's not as onerous as it sounds because of how efficient card scrapers are, and at ...
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  • 59.2k
5 votes

Finishing a desk or tabletop?

I am bit of a Danish oil bigot. It's been so good to me that I have trouble saying anything bad about it. Realize that you will get a matte surface. About forty years ago, I made a table, which ...
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  • 3,668
5 votes
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Finishing schedule for live edge walnut slab

Very thorough question, kudos. Side point: finishing the undersides of tabletops doesn't appear to be as advantageous as most of us have assumed. Bob Flexner on the subject, Finish Both Sides? Not ...
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  • 59.2k
5 votes

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

It seems nobody bothered to mention French Polish. Sigh. That is the standard piano finish for quality pianos, period. French polish is a series of steps that fills and smooths surfaces using ...
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5 votes

What should I use to apply a water-based varnish?

I'd recommend spraying water-based varnishes. They dry out really fast and, unless you're working in a very small area, it's easy to get brush strokes showing in the finish.
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  • 4,156
5 votes

How long does it take for the odor to go away after applying varnish?

It depends. The first thing is the type of product used. As the Comments have asked about the types of product used are a big factor — oil-based and spirit-soluble stuff smells much more strongly (...
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  • 59.2k
5 votes

Why applying a high gloss Acrylic Clear Coat on our oil-based wood stain has created an inconsistent topcoat

There are multiple reasons this sort of thing can happen, one of the major ones being some inconsistency in the spraying (e.g. changes in angle or distance) or spraying from slightly too far away (...
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4 votes

What should I use to apply a water-based varnish?

Synthetic brushes were originally specifically intended for application of water-borne finishes. Compared to natural hair brushes synthetics are better in one key respect: they don't soften in water. ...
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4 votes
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Can I spray "brushing lacquer"?

Yes, you can spray "brushing lacquer"--although depending on your gun, you will most likely want to thin it first with lacquer thinner. Keep in mind that spraying is not necessarily faster than ...
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4 votes
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Should I seal my bed slats, and if yes, with what?

He thinks that the bed slats might warp if I don't use a sealer. A 'sealer' won't make much or any difference to this once the slats are fixed in place and in use. I use quotes above because the ...
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3 votes
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Protecting wooden plant pot from water damage

Would a high-duty varnish (e.g., spar varnish) be a good choice? In theory yes. In a thick enough coating (numerous full-strength coats) with no voids or pinholes, a varnish like this is essentially ...
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3 votes
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Easy but tough shelving finish

But as I'm getting nearer that step, I'm dreading the extended painting effort.... I'll end up going through more than 20 clean-up cycles with my brushes. Two big tips can help here: don't clean your ...
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  • 59.2k
3 votes

Should I apply my stain/varnish before or after drilling hundreds of tightly packed little holes

I have a small project during which I drill hundreds of little holes Sounds like a cribbage board, but you don't say for sure. In any case, you do mention that having finish inside the holes isn't ...
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  • 12.1k
3 votes
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Getting pine to look like this

As I say in my Comment above I suspect this is a multi-step finish and as such it is impossible to give more that guesses as to how it might have been done. Some experimentation will be required I'm ...
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  • 59.2k
3 votes
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New varnish beading/crawling on refinished furniture [poss. silicone contamination]

This appears to be classic "fisheye", a defect caused by contamination of the surface by silicone oil. In a furniture context the chief source of this is modern furniture polishes, although ...
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