Cart 0

Expert's Corner — steel

Finishing the Finish

body gloss grit pads polishing sheen steel the finishing store wood woodfinishing woodwork woodworking wool

Finishing the Finish

“A finish should invite you, it should ask to be rubbed and touched and it should feel like warm butter.” Of any single thing that has been the definitive selling point for my furniture through the years, it has been the finish. Proper equipment, skill and environment can produce this, but often, for the average guy, it just doesn’t happen to his satisfaction. The simple solution is to rub the finish, but here again, there are many different means of doing that. Some simply are a ‘Witch’s Brew’ that are not successful. Some are very labor intensive and some are...

Read more →


Remove Watermarks With Steel Wool

abrasive finish gloss glossier grit padded sheen shellac steel the finishing store varnish wiping wood woodfinishing woodwork woodworking

Watermarks can happen in all finishes after they have aged and become somewhat porous. The marks appear light gray to white and are almost always very superficial – that is, right at the surface of the finish. So one way to remove them that almost always works well is to abrade off the very top surface of the finish with fine steel wool or abrasive pad. Usually, the discoloration will be removed with very little effort, as shown in the two accompanying pictures. The downside of removing watermarks in this manner is that you may change the sheen of the...

Read more →


TIP: Finishing over waxed wood

dry finish furniture resistant scratch-resistant shellac solvent steel the finishing store wax wood woodfinishing woodwork woodworking wool

It’s not all that common, but sometimes you come across furniture, cabinets or woodwork that has a wax finish, and nothing else. There may be cases where you want to coat over with a more water- and scratch-resistant finish. How do you do this without having to go to the trouble of stripping the surface? The first step is to remove most of the wax. Do this by washing with a mineral-spirits, naphtha or acetone solvent. Wash, don’t just wipe. That is, soak a cloth or paper towel with the solvent and wet the wood well. Then dry it quickly...

Read more →


TIP: How to Lighten an Oil Stain

finish finishing sandpaper steel the finishing store wood woodfinishing woodwork woodworking wool

Say you stain an object with a store-bought oil (“wiping”) stain and the color is too dark. Assuming you haven’t yet applied a finish, how do you lighten it? Most importantly, don’t sand. Whatever you do, you have to do the same everywhere to keep the color even, and you won’t be able to control the depth you sand to evenly. It’s much better to try wiping with naphtha. It’s a little stronger than mineral spirits. See if it pulls out some of the color. What you’re trying to do is break down enough of the binder that holds the...

Read more →


TIP: Wax Turns White

abrasive glazes pad scrub solvents steel wax wood finishing woodwork woodworkers wool

TIP: Wax Turns White

Wax is an excellent furniture care product when applied over another finish. The wax creates a slick surface that resists scratches. But used as a finish, wax is problematic because it water marks easily. If any water gets on the surface, the wax will turn white and be difficult to fix. Unfortunately, removing the white mark isn’t as easy as applying another coat of wax or washing off the wax with a solvent. You have to scrub the surface with a solvent and steel wool or an abrasive pad.

Read more →