I see articles and videos galore about choosing finishes and techniques for applying finish, but very little about the finishing process in general. I knocked out a quick little project in a few hours, and decided to try a wiping varnish finish on it, and I’m struggling to figure out how this is going to work with larger projects.
- “They” say to apply the finish and leave the room so you don’t stir up dust. For 6-10 hours. Maybe longer (I’m down by the gulf coast—humidity central). For 4 coats. Oh, and I want both sides finished. So the workshop is out of commission for 4 days to finish a 4 hour project?
- “They” say to use pieces of an old t-shirt to apply finish, then lay it flat to dry. Again, 4 coats, both sides. Oh, and use 2-3 pieces to make a thick pad so your fingers don’t leave streaks. How many t-shirts do these people wear? Do I really need to buy a bag of rags and a box of gloves for every other project?
- For my last finish project, I assembled it before finishing. This left me with pooled finish in the inside corners. This time, I masked off the joints and started finishing first. This left me with finish built up at the edges of the tape, and dry spots where the tape wasn’t cut perfectly to the edge. Which approach should I be defaulting to?
- How do I “flood the finish on” without getting runs to the underside? It’s not like I’m pouring a ton of finish all over the place, I’m just being generous with the rag—I know the red oak I’m using is going to soak up a bit. This doesn’t seem to change whether I’m doing my usual “finish the top and lay it on cardboard” or finding something to use as makeshift painter’s pyramids.
This is a skill I want to learn, so I’m making myself finish things even when I don’t think it’s necessary, but if anyone has some suggestions, I’d appreciate it.