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Expert's Corner

TIP: Two coats, minimum
It almost always takes at least two coats of any finish to develop the sheen a finish is designed to produce: gloss, satin, flat, or whatever. The first coat seals the wood. The second coat develops the sheen. The exception to the two-coat rule would be if you apply the first coat really thick. This [...]

TIP: Stripping Veneer
Stripping veneer is no different than stripping solid wood, with a few exceptions. First, avoid using lye or a stripper that contains water. Because of the thinness of the veneer, these might work through and loosen the glue bond. Solvent-based strippers shouldn’t cause any problem that didn’t already exist. Second, if you sand after stripping, [...]

TIP: Glaze for decorating grain
Glaze is very effective for decorating or highlighting grain, especially in large-pored woods such as oak, ash and elm (as shown in the two accompanying pictures). The term “glaze” refers to a specific product, which is essentially a thickened stain. In addition to a pigment colorant glaze contains a binder (oil, varnish or water-based finish) [...]

TIP: Finishing over waxed wood
It’s not all that common, but sometimes you come across furniture, cabinets or woodwork that has a wax finish, and nothing else. There may be cases where you want to coat over with a more water- and scratch-resistant finish. How do you do this without having to go to the trouble of stripping the surface? [...]

TIP: Avoiding glue squeeze-out in joints
The obvious cause of glue squeeze-out in joints is that too much glue has been applied. So the obvious way to avoid the squeeze-out and resulting splotching under a stain or finish is to apply less glue. But you don’t want to apply too little glue either or you won’t get a good bond. So [...]

Step Up to Spray Finishing
The vast majority of hobbyist woodworkers, and quite a few professional woodworkers – who might only complete a project or two a month – do their finishing with brush or rag. However, as you begin to undertake more projects, or you move to larger carcass work, it’s natural to start thinking about spray finishing. There [...]

Select The Right Brush and Use the Right Technique To Get The Best Possible Finish
There are two critical elements that make for a great finish – selecting the right brush, and using the right technique. Practice counts as well. You don’t expect to cut perfect dovetails the first time round, nor should you expect to achieve a perfect finish without practicing your finishing technique. I frequently choose brushing because [...]

The Twist of Variables
Regardless of whether you are a serious professional finisher or a home woodshop nut, if finishing is part of your program, you have a lot going on in your craft. There is a lot to finishing. We all try to keep it simple, but that is a trick that we have to pull on ourselves. [...]

TIP: Staining Sapwood with Dye
The easiest way to stain lighter-colored sapwood so it blends with the heartwood is to stain all the wood with a dye stain, as is shown on the right side of the accompanying picture of walnut. Dye is much more effective than pigment, or any commercial stain that contains a binder. You can apply the [...]

TIP: Rubbing Lubricant Comparison
Many different lubricants are recommended for rubbing out finishes with an abrasive. Here’s how they differ. The more waxy or oily the lubricant the better it reduces scratching and sandpaper clogging but the slower it cuts. The more watery the lubricant the more aggressive the cutting but the more pronounced the scratches. So wax is [...]

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