3 Steps in Making a Beautiful Wood Finish
Applying the right wood finish the right way and in the right amount guarantees more than just aesthetics. That’s a given, of course. Beautifully and properly finished wood surfaces look and feel premium, and they stay that way for an incredibly long time.
Moreover, the wood remains protected against moisture and other elements, normal wear and tear, and even occasional user abuse and neglect! Finishing also makes wood cleaner and easier to clean by sealing off small holes and other areas that can serve as breeding areas for bacteria, thereby also make the surface smooth.
But how exactly is it done? In this article, we briefly go over the 3 steps in making a beautiful wood finish.
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Step 1: Preparing your wood
Prepare the surface to be finished by sanding it. Make sure to follow the direction of the grain when sanding to avoid damaging the wood. When it comes to the sandpaper, start with an 80-grit for removing blemishes, then switch to a 120 or 180 as you progress.
If you are working with a porous or soft wood, you will want to use a pre-stain wood conditioner. That way, you prevent blotching, which is something soft woods are prone to when being stained.
However, this type of conditioner should be used regardless of wood type if you will be applying a water-based stain.
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Step 2: Staining the wood
Your choice of stain only depends on you. There are no rules and limits as to what color stain wood should stick to. However, you will want to choose carefully, as you naturally want your workpiece to have a certain look or match the other pieces in the room it is going to be placed in.
To make it even more challenging to decide on a wood stain color, the natural color of your wood and the lighting greatly influence how the final color is going to turn out. So take your time in choosing.
Before applying the stain, apply a little bit of it on a hidden area of the workpiece or a scrap taken out of the same material.
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Step 3: Applying the protective coating
The beauty and longevity of your stain are only as good as your choice of protective finish. It is this clear top coat that will prevent damage to the wood caused by water, moisture, chemicals, and natural wear and tear.
When applying this top coat, your number one enemies are bubbles and marks caused by brushing. You can prevent them from showing up by running your paint brush lightly over the length of the workpiece as the finish dries. Use a quality bristle brush instead of a foam brush for best results.
A Final Word
Finishing may be the last step of your project, but it is nonetheless important. When you make a mistake while building your workpiece, you can still resolve and cover it up most of the time. That is not often the case with improper finishing. So brush up on your finishing!