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Expert's Corner — finish

A Glossary Of Basic Finishing Technology

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A Glossary Of Basic Finishing Technology

As with any technical field, understanding the terminology of finishing is critical. It’s also critical that we all mean the same thing with the terms we use. With that in mind, here are some of the most common finishing terms, in alphabetical order, and their definitions. Bleach is a chemical that removes stains and, sometimes, the natural color from wood. The three types of bleach are chlorine (sodium hypochlorite), which removes dye color without changing the color of the wood; oxalic acid, which removes rust marks and lye stains without changing the color of the wood; and two-part bleach (sodium...

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“Equalizing” Sapwood

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Finishing Tip by Bob FlexnerBut it’s usually better to equalize the sapwood to the color of the heartwood.One method is to bleach the wood using two-part bleach (sodium hydroxide and hydrogen peroxide). This will remove the coloring from the heartwood, so you can then stain the wood back to the color you want.To achieve an even coloring with darker colored woods, it’s always best to use only heartwood to begin with. But this isn’t always possible. So you may want to “equalize” the coloring of the sapwood and heartwood. The easier way to do this, if you intend to stain...

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Step Up to Spray Finishing

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Step Up to Spray Finishing

The vast majority of hobbyist woodworkers, and quite a few professional woodworkers - who might only complete a project or two a month - do their finishing with brush or rag. However, as you begin to undertake more projects, or you move to larger carcass work, it's natural to start thinking about spray finishing. There are at least three good reasons for considering a switch to spray finishing. First, it's surprisingly easy to achieve a near perfect finish with spraying. With practice, you'll be able to apply the finish evenly and uniformly in a lot less time than you would...

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TIP: Brush Efficiently

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TIP: Brush Efficiently

When brushing a finish onto a large horizontal surface such as a tabletop, it’s most efficient to lift a brush load of the finish (the bristles dipped about halfway into the finish) out of the container and plop it down at the center of the area you want to brush. Then stretch out that puddle of finish from end to end working in the direction of the grain. Work fast without dragging the brush over the edge at each end, which would result in runs down the side. You can accomplish this by using airplane-like landings just in from each...

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TIP: Spraying Lacquer Over a Paint or Finish

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There are risks to spraying any type of solvent lacquer over any existing, and older, paint or finish. The problem is the lacquer thinner in the lacquer. A wet application can cause many paints and finishes to wrinkle or blister, even an old coat of lacquer itself. The two easiest ways to avoid problems are to spray several light (almost dust) coats of lacquer to get a bit of a build before applying wet coats, or to apply a coat of shellac before spraying the lacquer. Both methods will create a barrier to keep the existing coating from being excessively...

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