Wood finishing is a pretty basic and straightforward job to attempt. Usually, you do not require any fancy tools and all the products you use can easily be found at your local hardware store. Most wood finishing jobs require prep work and some time. Wood finishing affects your wood’s appearance and how it will be protected.
Look and Feel
Wood is a porous material, capable of soaking in anything that gets on it, such as oils, dirt, and chemicals. A finish can seal the wood and keep the grain clean. Home DIY projects can take an awful lot of time and finishing your projects with varnishes or stains is important if you want to keep them looking good for years.
All wood has a grain, some more vibrant than others. Finishes like stains will highlight and add some colour to the grain.
All labels will tell you the wood must be clean and dry before varnishing. But there are a few other considerations, too. Painters and varnishers have an adage: “It’s 90 per cent prep work.” Divots and unevenness on the surface will telegraph into the finish coat, so be sure to get your bare-wood surface as smooth and scratch-free as you’d like it to be when finished. If you can live with raised and uneven grains, then a thorough sanding is all it takes.
Types of Finishes
The level of protection and effect on appearance offered by a finish varies. It all depends on the look you are going for.
Paint is a basic finish that covers and protects the material that it’s applied to.
A stain is used over natural woods or plywood so that the grain is visible and accentuated, while still adding some colour — be it red, dark brown, light brown, etc.
Wax is an easy finish to apply, as it’s simply rubbed on and buffed to a sheen. Oils are an easy way to finish woodworking projects as they are simply applied heavily then wiped down to a dull sheen. When it comes to oil there are a few more options like linseed oil, mineral oil, varnish, lacquer, polyurethane and polyacrylic.
Make sure you do your research. Ask your local expert for advice on what the best finish is for your project.