A Strategy for Woodworking #7: Finishing Makes the Difference

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Blog entry by Gary Rogowski posted 07-10-2014 05:49 PM 1236 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 6: Design Opportunities Part 7 of A Strategy for Woodworking series Part 8: Cobblers »

How do people engage with your furniture? They look at the form first of course. If they like the shape of
a piece, then they approach it. They eye it to see the wood and the sheen of it. Always, without fail, the very next thing they do is touch the piece. Everyone loves to put their hands on wood because it’s warm, it’s inviting. And if there’s a finish on the wood, then what folks will be touching is that finish. You have to pay attention first to how that finish looks and next how it feels in order to win over a client, a buyer, or an admirer.

The problem is that finishing is part chemistry and part alchemy. It is neither simple nor intuitive. Most
furniture makers, when they finally complete their piece that was supposed to take a weekend but instead
took three months, all they want to do is put a finish on it and walk away from it. But what they usually do
is put on the wrong finish or a bad stain in the wrong way and then they don’t like how it looks or feels. So what they do next, instead of backing up, instead of admitting they goofed, they press on! Brave stalwarts, they put something else over the first bad stain or topcoat and now they have a bastard child by two discordant parents/

Do they admit defeat now? Start over? Never. I’m a furniture maker! Onward.

They continue the charge and apply another finish or two or three over the first two until such time as they finally say, Enough. It is enough and the finish sucks so I’m done with the thing.

Another triumph.

My approach is simple, hand applied, and almost fool proof. Join us at the Studio July 24-26th for a class on finishing: 3 Days/ 3 Simple Finishes. It’s a revelation what simple finishes can do.

The Northwest Woodworking Studio

-- Gary Rogowski...follow my wit and wisdom on twitter @garyrogowski

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