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Blog entry by RobH posted 07-20-2007 04:36 AM 787 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Did I mention that I hate finishing. My dad wonders why I hate finishing since it is the finishing process that actually brings out the beauty of the wood. Well, I can hate it because it is tedious, it’s messy, and it’s not building. But it does mean that I am getting closer to the end of a project that I really want to get done.

So I guess you can tell by now. The bookshelf commission is in the first finishing phase. This phase involves the sides, fixed shelves, and backs. The second phase will not be nearly as bad. It will only be the adjustable shelves, and the face frames. I might shift the backs from the first to the second phase just so I can get on with things for now. But, at least it is coming together. The stain isn’t looking bad either. So far I only have one shelf that looks a little out of place. But hey, there are going to be books on it right? I do not think it will ever really be noticed.

Well enough for this blog tonight. I have to start my blog on the bunk bed project. Man I cannot wait to get started on that one.

-- -- Rob Hix, King George, VA

6 comments so far

View WayneC's profile


13754 posts in 4122 days

#1 posted 07-20-2007 04:52 AM

Sounds like you should invest in some tools that speed up the finishing process. Anyone have any good suggestions for Rob?

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1809 posts in 4111 days

#2 posted 07-20-2007 05:45 AM

I hate it too. I like putting on that 1st coat but after that….blah.

-- Bob

View RobH's profile


465 posts in 4074 days

#3 posted 07-20-2007 02:26 PM

I could get a decent sprayer, but I do not have the room to spray. Neighbors are too close and garage is too small. Maybe in the future when I have my 10+ acres.

Oh yeah, I should mention that this finish job is the kind I hate the most – oak – you put on the stain and let it sit and then you have to wipe it down every hour for the next three days while it bleeds out. I hate staining oak.

-- -- Rob Hix, King George, VA

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4185 days

#4 posted 07-20-2007 02:51 PM

poor Rob :(

you sound like me when it comes to housework. I hate housework.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Ethan Sincox's profile

Ethan Sincox

767 posts in 4198 days

#5 posted 07-20-2007 03:40 PM

If you really hate it that much, then you have quite a few options open to you.

The key is to figure out specifically what it is you don’t like about finishing, and then figure out a solution to THAT problem.
- Are you afraid of ruining the project? Switch to a finish that is foolproof or easily fixed, like shellac.
- Is it the smell? Put more ventilation in your shop. Or finish outside.
- Is it the mess? Always wear latex gloves and buy one of those big rolls of brown butcher paper to lay out on top of your bench when you’re applying finish.
- You don’t like having to wipe the weeps from oak? Switch to a different wood. Or switch to a non-oil finish that doesn’t weep.
- Is it the weakest woodworking skill in your toolbox? Sign up for some finishing classes at the nearest woodworking school or store.
- You just don’t like applying finish? Then only make outdoor furniture with cypress or white oak or teak and don’t apply a finish to it. Or only make toy kits to donate to the local children’s hospital. All you have to do then is cut out the parts and sand them smooth – the kids assemble and decorate. Or maybe you can become good friends with someone who hates building and only likes finishing.

Something Frank Klausz mentioned in a seminar I attended is that he can build a table in a matter of a few hours (glue time aside), but he’ll spend 10 or 12 hours total on the finish. It is the one major aspect of woodworking that most non-professional woodworkers spend the least amount of time on, and it should be just the opposite. For most woodworking projects, it is a necessary and integral part of the entire process.

Just my two cents.

-- Ethan,

View RobH's profile


465 posts in 4074 days

#6 posted 07-21-2007 04:32 PM


I am aware of the time it takes, and I think that is really what I do not like. I just got in from the garage wiping on the first coat of polyurethane. It went well, but it looks like it has lots of dust in it. Granted it could be air bubbles at this point. Only a few hours will tell.

My problem here is that I usually do not have projects with a deadline. I usually do not take projects with a deadline because I do not like being bound by a deadline. However, this time the money was going to come in handy for building the bunk beds we need to build when this is done, so I took the job. Now, I have a deadline and I am afraid that the finish will end up being the downfall of the project. I am trying to keep it as simple as possible. At least that should help a little bit.

Well, anyway, the first coat of satin poly is on, and all except the dust/air bubbles, everything is looking good. With the low humidity and nice weather today, maybe I can get the second coat on tonight after dinner. Maybe at least get the first coat sanded (out of the garage, of course).

Thanks for the input.

-- -- Rob Hix, King George, VA

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