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Newsletter #114


Quality In, Quality Out

“Quality means doing it right even when no one is looking.” Henry Ford

As we are preparing to publish The Finishing Store’s 14th newsletter, I’ve been thinking about our newsletter goals. How could I describe our guidelines regarding both our written work and our products? Are we reaching our goals? Then, master woodworker and teacher Glen Huey’s latest article arrived. (You can click on it below.)

I read it and my scattered thoughts were synthesized into a single word, quality. This one word represents our writers, our tools and the supportive information we want our newsletter to bring to our readers. We want to help our woodworkers come up with the best woodworking and finishing practices. Once finishing is down pat, the woodworker is released from a tiresome, hit and miss chore, to a routine that enhances the beauty of the project with ease.

A finisher needs a routine that keeps him/her from hesitating, and a routine that works every time. This means the right tools and right products to achieve consistent perfection every time. When a routine and methods and tools and products are properly chosen, time is not wasted and production increases.

We try not to present rules. Rather, we want to share information from remarkable woodworkers. What the woodworker chooses to use is what makes his/her work unique.

So it all comes back to quality, in tools, products and ultimately the gorgeous finished chest, chair or kitchen. Consistent quality in your tools and products equals consistent quality in your finished products. Again, Glen Huey’s article below has a great take on quality.

Our regular writers, Bob Flexner, Glen Huey and Charles Neil, will be joined shortly by Bill Perry. Bill is a teacher and fine woodworking professional with 30 years of experience. He designs and builds custom furniture.
As we have said many times, woodworkers reach their goals in a variety of methods and this is true of our writers. We hope we are exposing you to different methods and points of view, so you can develop for yourself your own routine for perfection.

It’s hot here in the North East. The days are nice and long and it’s a good time to get a lot of work done.

bill boxer signature

Sr. Vice President and COO
Apollo Sprayers International, Inc.

Finishing Feature Article by Glen Huey:

Great Furniture: A Sum of All Parts

A great piece of furniture is one that catches your eye as you enter a room, but there is nothing particular that stands out about the piece. It’s just exquisite in every detail. Joinery and lumber selection is top-notch and the finish is even, smooth and consistent.

Of course, most of the joinery cannot be seen, but joinery that is visible is near perfection. Dovetails are clean and tight fitting, mitered pieces are tightly closed and reveals around drawer fronts and door edges should be consistent. What’s just as important is what you should not see. Glue lines in assembled panels should be imperceptible as the grain flows continuously across the panels with little interruption. As for the finish, dyes or stains should not mask the wood’s grain. There should also be no vast differences in color and hue.

Of the woodworkers I talk with, most admit they have trouble finishing their projects – trouble in applying the finish, not completing the work. You’re more than likely reading this newsletter to gain a better insight into that part of woodworking. Many woodworkers admit – and I agree – that finishing a project is the “make it or break it” area of work. And while finish is important, it is has to be in balance with other parts of woodworking to be a success; you need also to have developed the skills necessary to build your project and then there is the lumber with which you choose to work.

With any project, you need to begin with a solid base of good lumber, you need the chops to build the piece and then you need to have a great finishing process that makes the wood look its best. With any one aspect missing, the resulting project will not be at its best. READ MORE

Product of the Month: Aqua Coat Gel Stain

As Bob Flexner points out below, Gel Stains are a great way to keep blotching down, while bringing up a good rich color. Aqua Coat Gel Stains are formulated for indoor use and are ideal for smaller items such as turnings, lathe work and scroll saw projects. They work well on any wood and on MDF, particleboard and even synthetic wood furniture for touch up.  Aqua Coat Gel Stains are quick drying – you can sand and re-coat in 15 to 30 minutes. Colored Gel stains can be blended and stirred together to achieve desire custom colors.

For extra protection a topcoat can be applied or even easier, Aqua Coat Gel Stain Clear makes a great topcoat. Multiple coats of Gel Stain Clear are recommended for maximum protection on cabinets, doors, toys, hardwood floors and any “heavy use items. Since Aqua Coat Gel States are water based, they are safe to use on children’s toys and furniture. Aqua Coat Gel Stain is available in 8 wood tone colors, plus clear.  Use the “Natural” colored Gel Stain for a shellac or oil finish look. We’re always on the look out for great examples of a customer’s experience of our products.  We’d love to see  – and hear – how you like this excellent product.

Finishing Tip by Bob Flexner:  Use Gel Stain on Pine

Pine is the most notorious wood for blotching. Special products are sold for reducing blotching on pine, but they are only modestly effective—even when used properly.

By far, the most effective method of eliminating blotching when staining pine is to use a gel stain. This is a thickened stain, which colors effectively but doesn’t penetrate well so it doesn’t highlight the uneven density in the wood.

Apply a gel stain the same as you apply liquid stains. Wipe or brush on a wet coat and wipe off the excess before the stain dries. Some gel stains dry fairly rapidly, so you may need to work fast or get a second person to help on large surfaces. It’s faster to wipe stains than to brush them

Finishing Tip By Bob Flexner: Secret of Sheen – the Second Coat Is Most Important

The second coat of finish you apply to a project, after you have sanded the first coat smooth, is the most important coat because it provides the depth and sheen. Sometimes you can improve the depth with additional coats, but nothing equals the difference obtained from the first to the second.

Most important in this instruction is that you have to sand the first coat smooth to obtain the full effect. If you don’t sand this coat smooth, the roughness will telegraph through the second coat and reduce the depth and lower the sheen.

The surface will also feel rough. A further point to emphasize is that you can’t ever achieve the full effect of a finish with just one coat, no matter how thick you apply it. This rule holds true for all finishes – even oil finishes.

For More Articles and Tips by Our Experts