Wood Finishing 101 Class?

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Forum topic by Jason Watts posted 03-29-2012 06:01 PM 2285 views 1 time favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Jason Watts

34 posts in 2494 days

03-29-2012 06:01 PM

Topic tags/keywords: finishing spray gun sander tip trick question resource

Does anyone know where I can get good info (either book, magazine or video) on the different wood finishing techniques? There are so many chemicals out there and procedures, and I am brand new at this, so it is a little overwhelming. I’d hate to apply the wrong finish on a project. For example, I plan on making a cradle soon for our next little person. What finish would I use on something like this that isn’t harmful for the baby, but the end result is excellent?

Thanks in advance,


-- - In Christ

11 replies so far

View Durnik150's profile


647 posts in 3562 days

#1 posted 03-29-2012 06:14 PM

A couple of thoughts. First, there is a book that many folks consider the bible of wood finishing. It is called “Understanding Wood Finishing” by Bob Flexner. It’s quite a tome but it covers almost all of the questions I have ever had on finishing. He also has a book called “Flexner on Finishing” but that one is a collection of articles and isn’t as thorough as the first one.

There are several brands of salad bowl finish that are completely safe once cured. I recommend the one put out by General Finishes, primarily because that is the one I have used.

One thing to consider; almost all finishes are inert when completely cured (meaning all of the driers and carriers in the liquid have had time to evaporate). Since lead is no longer on the market there is very little out there that will harm your child as long as it has had time to fully cure.

I don’t have a lot of experience with oils so I’ll let someone else address those if they are better informed. But those may be an option as well. Again, just make sure that any carriers that are there to pull the oil further into the wood have the chance to evaporate or cure.

-- Behind the Bark is a lot of Heartwood----Charles, Centennial, CO

View a1Jim's profile (online now)


117418 posts in 3817 days

#2 posted 03-29-2012 06:18 PM

I would suggest get Charles Neil’s “Finishing a-z beyond the books “Video

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View NiteWalker's profile


2738 posts in 2817 days

#3 posted 03-30-2012 01:07 AM

Just my humble opinion, but finishing need not be complicated. For most of my projects I use zinsser sealcoat followed by crystalac super premium. I’m not an artist, so I don’t try to be one with finishing. I don’t really bother with oil finishes because I prefer the ease of application and cleanup of waterbornes.

I have the understanding wood finishing book, and while it’s very informative, some of the info is outdated and for a beginner it can confuse you even further. It does a great job of explaining which finish does what though. Worth a read.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10374 posts in 4293 days

#4 posted 03-30-2012 01:14 AM

Your stuff is always the same color?
What is so good about Crystalac?

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View Trapshter's profile


64 posts in 2634 days

#5 posted 04-01-2012 02:54 AM

I Agree with Jim . By far the best finishing DVD out there is Fininshing A to Z by Charles Neil. Just watch it with a note pad. Lots of info

-- Smile and wave boys just smile and wave

View Woodknack's profile


12469 posts in 2620 days

#6 posted 04-01-2012 08:42 AM

“Understanding Wood Finishing” by Bob Flexner
This is all you need.

Some child safe finishes: lacquer & varnish when fully cured. Shellac is non-toxic. Mineral oil is non-toxic. Babies/toddlers are likely to chew on the crib so I would want a durable finish to protect the wood.

I am not sure about other oils and wiping varnishes (Danish Oil) that contain oils.

-- Rick M,

View Fuzzy's profile


298 posts in 4229 days

#7 posted 04-02-2012 04:17 AM

You have been given the best possible advice (Flexner & Charles Neil) ... take it without hesitation.

-- - dabbling in sarcasm is foolish … if you’re not proficient at it, you end up looking stupid … ... ...

View slimpickens's profile


10 posts in 2192 days

#8 posted 07-08-2013 06:13 AM

So after all is said and done, how do you eliminate or hide the continue strokes on a full size table top.

-- Slimpickens, Be true to yourself and helpful to others

View Earlextech's profile


1162 posts in 2931 days

#9 posted 07-08-2013 12:46 PM

Flexner and Neil are two of the best – and NiteWalker has it right – don’t over complicate finishing. Keep it to one or two brands, find a finish salesman to communicate with. Don’t be afraid of it, if you screw up it will all sand off.

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "Finished"!

View lazyoakfarm's profile


144 posts in 3038 days

#10 posted 07-08-2013 01:05 PM

Spray finishing made simple by Jeff Jewitt. Makes it look simple.
I read the book and watched the DVD. Very good.

+1 Finishing A to Z by Charles Neil
This is s 2 DVD set, it goes over some of the same things multiple times which is very helpful. I have watched it once and will need to watch it again. Gives great ideas for setting up your spray area, thinking ahead so when its time to spray your can get to all the sides of your work. Hint… Dont throw away any old office chairs, take the back off then and they become a rolling lazy susan.

These are very good for technique, but after watching both of these, I still don’t know is what products to use in what order.

I just used my FUJI Super 4 HVLP for the very first time over the weekend spraying BIN primer and Coronado Rust Scat semi gloss paint with wonderful results. I will rag on some black glaze and spray a top coat of General Finishes High Performance.

View NiteWalker's profile


2738 posts in 2817 days

#11 posted 07-08-2013 05:36 PM

+1 on spray finishing made simple; that book and dvd are great fro teaching the basics of spray finishing.

And Joe, sorry I didn’t see your response until now:
Your stuff is always the same color?
What is so good about Crystalac?”
Not always the same color; sometimes I’ll darken maple with transtint dark vintage maple in sealcoat. Or sometimes I’ll need to dye tiger maple a bright color (red or purple), so I’ll use transfast water dyes, then crystalac. Rarely though, do I feel the need for excessive types/techniques for finishing. The simpler the better.

What’s so great about it is that it’s durable, easy to spray and cleans up easily. I haven’t found the need to try anything else since it works so well for me.

My whole thing is that I’d rather spend more time on the project than finishing.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

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