The way to select The Right Finish For Furnishings


This is the Holy Grail for many woodworkers. Or at least you’d think thus by how tight-lipped woodworkers can be about their concluding techniques. “What finish performed you use? “. For some woodworkers, you may as well have named their Mothers ugly from the look you may receive.

Concluding wood is an art in itself. With that being said though, is actually still not as complicated as some would have you believe. Most of the confusion comes from the producers themselves, mostly in the form of how they label products.

Why achieve this task many woodworkers simply chuck their hands up in mid-air and just use one form of finish for all their projects. Mainly because they’re afraid of striving for something NEW!

Well, as with most points that seem complicated, if you take you a chance to break the process down into small pieces, it becomes much easier to recognize. With this understanding, the decision production process becomes much easier.

When choosing a stop there are six major traits to consider:

1) Appearance

2) Ease of Application

3) Safeguard

4) Durability

5) Health problems14907

6) Ease of Repairing

If deciding on a finish for they have appeared there are three essential questions to ask yourself:

1) Will probably this finish build-up for the piece?

2) How See-through do I need the finish to be?

3) Will the finish add almost any color to the wood?

Conclude build-up:

If you want a finish in order to develop on the wood you must you a film finish. For our talk here, we’ll only be checking out finish that can be applied personally (not sprayed on). Having said that our choices would include things like Shellac, brush on enamel, varnish, and water basic. Oils don’t cure tricky so they have to be applied with very thin coats (with the excess wiped away) which will doesn’t allow them to build up on a surface.


This is probably most essential when you’re dealing with a light-tinted wood such as maple. De-waxed shellac, lacquer, and alkyd varnish (if they may easily say “Varnish”, it’s likely made up of alkyd resins), are classified as the most transparent finishes. Healthy shellac, oil-based polyurethane in addition to water base are the lowest transparent finishes.


If done that contains oil (including the varnish) and will be yellow as grow older. This can be desirable in dark woods adding “warmth” to the look of the wood. Nevertheless, on light-colored woodlands, it may be undesirable. Wax in addition to water base finishes brings very little “warmth” to real wood. Lacquer and clear/blond shellac add a small amount of yellowing and not to the degree of oil base are done. Garnett and button shellac (or lac) colors are placed in a deep orange/brown color this
is nice on dark woods and can give a traditional appearance. Orange shellac hues the wood purple. Just simply kidding. The orange color of orange shellac adds a great deal of “warmth” to wood, specially kiln-dried walnut.

At this point let’s look at the protection and sturdiness of finishes.


Almost all the wood looks nice absolutely unfinished. So why do we possibly bother to go through all the measures necessary to finish a piece of household furniture? Two reasons are: To shield the wood and add for you to its durability.

The best explanation to protect wood is to slow up the water transfer between the solid wood and its environment. Wood activity is caused by moisture sent. When wood has an excessive moisture content it increases, mostly across the grain. The other is true when the wood will lose moisture. This movement could play havoc on glue articulations.

For a finish to be resistant to water and water vapor a finish must be fairly solid. The best finishes to use just for this are varnishes and drinking water-based (there are other people but they must be sprayed on). Shellac does a good job towards water vapor but an unhealthy job against direct drinking water contact. Wax and essential oil finishes do the poorest work against water and drinking water vapor mostly due to their slim coats.

No finish will certainly completely stop the movement of moisture between wood and its environment, some simply do a better job of slowing this down.


The reliability of a finish must take into consideration put on resistance, solvent and other chemical substance resistance, and heat

Varnish and water foundation finishes do a good job along with wear resistance. Shellac as well as brushed-on lacquer perform a fair job. For surface finishes that can be applied by hand, a layer of varnish is the only one that gives great chemical and heat opposition.

Ease of Application:

One overriding factor that must be taken into consideration the following is: How fast does the complete cure?

If a finished remedy is fast we can put much more coats on faster. The drawback is that the finish can cure way too fast causing it for you to smear if we drag each of our brushes or rag delete word again. If a finish solutions slowly we can cover significant areas without fear it can easily start to get sticky, which is just the thing for large pieces. The downside is that you must work in an airborne dirt and dust-free environment due to the probability of dust settling on the finish ahead of its cures. You can get this somewhat by wiping over excess finish so that it can cure faster, but many far more coats must be applied.

Easy and simple finishes to apply by hand are generally: Oil, oil blends, c varnish (thinned varnish), along with gel varnish.

Oils along with oil/varnishes cure slowly, while does varnish. The water bottom part dries faster than a layer of varnish but not by much. Shellac solutions fast and brushed about lacquer cures slow plenty of to be able to brush on.

Health issues14907:

Finishes that can be applied yourself and that causes the least medical problems are linseed and tung oil, water base along with shellac. Linseed and tung oil contain no solvents and water-based completes contains only a small amount. Typically the solvent for shellac, denatured alcohol, is relatively safe until its ingested or breathed for a long period of time.

All the completes we’ve talked about are butanol except water-based and so avoid using them around fire flames or sparks.

All completely have some degree of odor directly to them. It’s never a good idea to inspire solvents so one of two issues should be done. Use the end outdoors, or use a respirator that is approved for use with the final you’re using.

One more place about the safety of completes. All finishes are safe to stay in contact with food after they get cured completely. This doesn’t result from me but from the MAJOR REGULATORY BODIES. All the metallic additives employed are safe once they have been treated. This is due to lead no longer being used throughout finishes since the 1970s.

Simple Repairing:

One rule of thumb to remember: The thinner the finish, the more it will probably be to repair. Wax tart, oil, oil/varnish, and shellac along with brush on lacquer are generally fairly easy to repair. Varnish along with the water base is the most challenging to repair.

Armed with this information, you have to be confident in choosing the right end for your next project.

Craig Dahon has been a furniture maker for more than 10 years and enjoys instructing others on the joys of mastering woodworking. If you are interested in mastering more about woodworking or teaching your kids woodworking, visit to the out website to find tons of free info.

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