Finishing question?

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Forum topic by Joe posted 03-23-2009 04:05 PM 1174 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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185 posts in 3419 days

03-23-2009 04:05 PM

Fellow Jocks,
I have almost completed the second bed side table. I now have to decide what finish to use. I don’t have a spray gun, I do have a compressor. I thought about buying a decent gun and an oil/water filter. Even if I don’t spray these tables I would use the spry gun later. Should I wipe or spray..hmm. This is the first large project I have done and I am a little nervous about the finishing process. Thinking of a satin look to match the bed. If you look on my projects you can see the table I am speaking of. Thanks for all the help you all have given me throughout this project.

-- Senior Chief

7 replies so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3848 days

#1 posted 03-23-2009 04:37 PM

Joe, I have a Earlex 5000 unit that I rarely use. I find that wipe-on finishes are easy to apply and go on almost as quickly. Spraying is a technique that, at least for me, does not work well right out of the box. It has a learning curve and I just am more comfortable with wiping on a poly or shellac topcoat. One advantage I have seen with spraying is applying stains. But, for me at least, I have better control of the finish with a wipe-on product.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View marcb's profile


768 posts in 3699 days

#2 posted 03-23-2009 04:55 PM

For a top coat I’m very partial to brushing lacquer on furniture.

It gives good protection, isn’t that hard to apply and since lacquer dissolves lacquer its easy to repair any problems and easy to polish smooth without ghosting issues. I did 3 coats on the dresser I refinished and it looks great.

View Francisco Luna's profile

Francisco Luna

943 posts in 3419 days

#3 posted 03-23-2009 05:38 PM

Traditional finishes have a uniqe look that no other modern finish match. For a beautiful table like this, I would consider a French Polish or and oil + wax (linseed or Tung). These finishes are easy to apply and involves much less mess/supplies. An excellent book regarding this, is Classic Wood Finishing By Gerge Frank. The table is an outstanding piece.

-- Nature is my manifestation of God. I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day's work. I follow in building the principles which nature has used in its domain" Frank Lloyd Wright

View Jason Brewer's profile

Jason Brewer

23 posts in 3646 days

#4 posted 03-23-2009 06:13 PM

Chief, I started spraying all my projects with a water based coating from fuhr industrial ( and it is amazing, lays out perfectly. I used to spray lacquer and even a poly coat from general finishes but they take so long to dry people who do not use a paint booth get “dust” in their top coat. I use fuhr #355 for almost everything. I know there are many ways to do it, but spraying waterbase is the way to go for me. plus super easy clean up. I recommend getting a $100-150 HVLP gravity fed gun. good luck.

-- "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." - Romans 5:8

View Joe's profile


185 posts in 3419 days

#5 posted 03-23-2009 06:56 PM

Thanks for all the advice. I called General finishes and told them what I was doing. They recommended a gel stain satin(pre-treat) first, and then go with a gel golden pine for matching the bed. Finish it off with Arm-R-Seal Oil & Urethane Topcoat.

-- Senior Chief

View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4244 days

#6 posted 03-23-2009 06:57 PM

Joe, spraying is the most professional way to go, but only if you’re willing to invest the money for equipment, and the practice time to learn the techniques involved.

I would recommend you go with a wipe-on finish for now. They give excellent results, and are pretty hard to screw up.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View jerry mayfield's profile

jerry mayfield

36 posts in 4111 days

#7 posted 03-23-2009 07:06 PM

The General “seal a cell is a linseed oil polyurethane varnish not a tung oil/pol blend as viewers of Woodworks have been led to believe. A bed side table won’t get a lot of wear so almost any finish would work. I would probably use shellac,but I am a fan of shellac.


-- jerry,mlchigan

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