Finishing Wisdom #2: Long awaited update

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Blog entry by USCJeff posted 10-15-2007 07:02 AM 1244 reads 2 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Acetone Part 2 of Finishing Wisdom series Part 3: Finishing Wisdom #3 - Trial and Error »

It’s been a while since I’ve put some things I’ve learned in writing. I like the idea of blogs as a type of woodworking journal. It seems I see a lot of cool tricks and tips in articles and forget them pretty quickly. I just got to the point in my woodworking self-education that I now understand that finishing is really what makes the difference b/w good projects and great projects. I’ve done a ton of experimenting over the last few weeks and had a wide range of results. Here are a few of my conlusions:

Working with Open Pored Wood (namely Walnut):

• There is no need to use grain filler when using a stain that absorbs into the wood. Rather than using the grain filler, I can flood the board with the stain and use wet/dry sandpaper to make a saw dust / stain mixture. Let this soak in and wipe off excess. Grain is filled.

Other things:

• Wax offers next to no protection compared to Poly. Waxing also requires re-waxing faster than other top coats.
• When use wax, less is best. A cheesecloth “pouch” with a dab of wax distributes it pretty evenly.
• Minwax Polyshades works on top of old stains when refinishing. Takes a coat or two more, but anything to avoid sanding is great in my book.
• Supplies every shop should have on hand: Mineral Spirits, Thinners (laquer, paint, etc. .), B.L.O., Naptha, Turpentine, Tung Oil, and Wood Conditioner to name a few.
• Rubbing finishes almost always provides better results faster vs. brushing.

-- Jeff, South Carolina

3 comments so far

View WayneC's profile


13754 posts in 4126 days

#1 posted 10-15-2007 07:09 AM

Good info. Thanks for putting together.

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

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 3991 days

#2 posted 10-15-2007 03:04 PM

Great info, Jeff. You missed two things I never have very far away when it’s time to finish; Bob Flexner’s book and Jeff Jewit’s book. Those two are my sources on finishes. I would add one product to your never be with our list and that is shellac. Product of a thosand uses. Thanks for the blog.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View USCJeff's profile


1063 posts in 4096 days

#3 posted 10-15-2007 04:06 PM

Yes Thos., Shellac is very handy. I’ve yet to really use it on a project that meant anything. I’ve used the shellac that is packaged in a spray can on a shop project and wasn’t thrilled. I think I’ve been saving the shellac expirimentation until I get a spray system. I hear that spraying shellac is the way to go. Thanks for mentioning the books. I was about to make a post requesting good finishing resources. I’ve read some excerpt’s by Flexner, but not his book. I think I have a finishing pamphlet by him. I’m unfamiliar with Jewit, but will look into it.

-- Jeff, South Carolina

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