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Expert's Corner — woodfinishing

TIP: Two coats, minimum

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TIP: Two coats, minimum

It almost always takes at least two coats of any finish to develop the sheen a finish is designed to produce: gloss, satin, flat, or whatever. The first coat seals the wood. The second coat develops the sheen. The exception to the two-coat rule would be if you apply the first coat really thick. This can usually be done only on horizontal surfaces. The reason two coats are usually necessary is that a lot of the first coat soaks into the wood, so there isn’t enough build to produce the sheen. If you’re applying highly thinned coats, as shown with...

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We Are All Reluctant Finishers

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While I am a professional finisher, I am a hobbyist woodworker. That mix makes me a wood snob. I love working with wood in any capacity. Because my head and hands are in finishing all week long, I tend to do as little of it as possible in my personal life, but I still love messing around with wood in most any form. This passion took root for me in 1995 when I had the good fortune of being in the right place at the right time and meeting what would turn out to be my mentor in the world...

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The Exotic Vocabulary of French Polishing

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One of the difficulties with learning to do French polishing is overcoming the exotic vocabulary that continues to be used by some: “charge the rubber,” “fad in,” “spirit off,” etc. This vocabulary was created by English craftsmen 200 years ago, brought to the United States, and used in most instructions since. I’ve always thought it pretentious to use this vocabulary when there are perfectly good words everyone understands that can be substituted. Here’s the translation. “Rubber” was the name given to what we commonly call a pad, made by tightly wrapping a smooth, finely woven outer cloth such as a...

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TIP: How to Avoid a Lot of Sanding with Oil Finishes

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It’s not necessary to sand above 180 or 220 grit when applying an oil or oil/varnish blend finish. You can achieve the same smooth feeling results by sanding each coat after the first while that coat is still wet on the wood. You are wiping off all the excess anyway, so sanding dust isn’t a problem. Here are the steps: Sand the wood to 180 or 220 grit, sanding in the direction of the grain. Apply a wet coat of boiled linseed oil, 100% tung oil, your own mixture or oil and varnish or one of a number of commercial...

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When to Clean Your Spray Gun

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When to Clean Your Spray Gun

Here’s a frequently asked question. Do you really need to clean your spray gun every  single time you use it? Do you  need to clean it when you go to lunch? What if you are  putting it away for a week? Which coatings mean clean “right  away?” Here’s the scoop:  always clean your gun immediately if you are spraying a quick set up coating such as a  two  part urethane or epoxy paint. Clean it even if you are going to lunch. If you are  using a pigmented coating and are  finished with that color, clean the spray gun. If...

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