Tips for a Novice

  • Advertise with us

« back to Finishing forum

Forum topic by James posted 07-24-2013 02:37 PM 784 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View James's profile


102 posts in 1204 days

07-24-2013 02:37 PM

Talking to a buddy yesterday, made me realize how much I don’t know about finishing. What are some good resources with all the pros/cons on different finishing options along with some tutorials?

-- James - Semper Fi

11 replies so far

View RussellAP's profile


3059 posts in 1703 days

#1 posted 07-24-2013 02:45 PM

Google Charles Neil.
That is clearly all that needs to be said.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View nailbanger2's profile


1041 posts in 2560 days

#2 posted 07-24-2013 02:55 PM

^ +1

-- Wish I were Norm's Nephew

View James's profile


102 posts in 1204 days

#3 posted 07-24-2013 03:00 PM

You had me at ”^+1”

-- James - Semper Fi

View Finisherman's profile


227 posts in 1266 days

#4 posted 07-24-2013 03:20 PM

Charles Neil provides excellent finishing advice. Also, you might look for a book entitled Understanding Wood Finishing by Bob Flexner.

View James's profile


102 posts in 1204 days

#5 posted 07-24-2013 03:22 PM

Someone need to make a flow chart that will take wood type, desired finish and experience level and give you a proper route to take.

-- James - Semper Fi

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2267 days

#6 posted 07-24-2013 03:43 PM

Pick a finish and go with it. Use it, have some fails, have some triumphs, find out how it behaves with different woods.

Just doing a sample board isn’t enough. There has to be some skin in the game for the learning to take place.

Lots of folks start with a simple oil/varnish mix, say Watco/solvent poly, 1 – 1. Or just buy Minwax wipe on. Try the different sheens, too.

Once you get a few decals on your helmet you’ll approach all your woodworking with more confidence.



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 2575 days

#7 posted 07-24-2013 04:15 PM

Good point about skin, Lee. I will often re-sand a project and refinish just to experiment. You have to have that mentality if you hope to learn.

The Flexner book mentioned above is the Bible for finishing. It truly teaches you how to fish, where most other resources are geared more toward giving you a fish.

-- jay,

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 2575 days

#8 posted 07-24-2013 04:21 PM

James: Okay you are hired. :)

Seriously, finishing is a highly personal, individual thing. Give me some oak and my methods will vary quite differently from yours. And my method might change from piece to piece. Some of our decisions are driven by cost. Some by ease of use. Some by experimenting with new techniques.

Some like shellac…some like color delivery in a dye-tinted finish as opposed to a stain…and some just spray everything with waterborne poly or lacquer.

Some fill pores. Some like the rough texture…and some like the feel of wax when everything is finished.

-- jay,

View James's profile


102 posts in 1204 days

#9 posted 07-24-2013 06:00 PM

Well, I like oil finish. I like fancy joinery and I’d like the craftsmanship of the piece to equal the finish. I really like gloss, satin is a distant second. I think it’s my history working with cars and paint. There’s nothing like a perfectly wet-sanded paint job.
I want a finish so shiny and smooth, it has to be dusted three times a day.

-- James - Semper Fi

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 1778 days

#10 posted 07-25-2013 02:45 PM

Read my blog.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View NiteWalker's profile


2735 posts in 1994 days

#11 posted 07-25-2013 04:22 PM

I like waterbornes for most projects. Low VOC, dries very fast plenty durable.

Zinsser sealcoat as my sealer, and tinted with transtint for toning and shading.

General finishes arm-r-seal as my wipe on poly for when I don’t feel like breaking out the sprayer.

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

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics