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Expert's Corner — wool

Finishing the Finish

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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...

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TIP: Finishing over waxed wood

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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...

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Aging and Antiquing Wood Part 2

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Last month we featured an article by extraordinary woodworker, Charles Neil, showing how to create antique finishes. Below is the second part of the article. Before reading the article, take a look at Charles’s latest project, a gorgeous coffee table made from “junk wood.” It looks so far from being “junk” and is really a stunning piece of sculpture. We love the “bird’s nest” below the table. Charles loves to experiment with finishes, and use his knowledge to play with techniques, wood and coatings. We can all learn from his ideas. Here are some great tips from a great finisher: This...

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TIP: How to Lighten an Oil Stain

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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...

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TIP: Wax Turns White

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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.

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