Finishing & refinishing wood : techniques & projects for fine wood finishes

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Sand with the grain just enough to smooth out major imperfections. Master wood finisher Jeff Jewitt prefers the stearate coated variety for this type of rubout. The lubricant helps to float away grit and abraded materials and to reduce the size of the scratches made by the wool, allowing for a deeper sheen. Wool Lube is formulated specifically for use with steel wool, and helps make a smooth, even sheen easy to achieve.

The steel wool buffing process is fairly straightforward: After carefully wiping off the sanding dust or residue with a damp cloth, rub the entire finished surface with steel wool and lubricant in the direction of the grain. Use medium to heavy pressure, and try to keep the pressure and the direction of your strokes as consistent as possible. With overlapping strokes make you way across the finished piece.

Flawless Finishing

Remember that steel wool can cut through a finish, too. Using lubricant slows down the cutting action of the steel wool, but it also makes it harder to judge how much finish you are taking off. Wipe away the rubbing slurry frequently to check your progress, and stop as soon as you have a consistent satin sheen.

Once you are satisfied with the look of the finish, and have completely removed the rubbing residue, apply a coat or two of a quality paste wax. What ideas do you have to match the stain to compensate for variants in the construction material? I used red oak minwax stain and three coats of poly, and it shines like glass!

I never used oil based finishes, and have rescued a house, several tables and chairs with good success incl humidor and several teak and cedar chests.

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It is a labor of love but I find it a rewarding hobby to refurbish old solid antique pieces that were either sun-bleached, water-ring blemished, or painted latex white! Gawd Great insights from you prompted this missive… My dad was a master French Polisher, but I never knew how that process worked.

Hello Scott. Hoping I can get some direction from you concerning refinishing an Oak outside door. It was originally stained very light color and I sanded it down with 80 grit. Did not pop it before staining it with a natural color stain and now I have quite a few blotches. Should I start over with grit, pop and then stain with a stain with a little color? We have newly wrapped beams. I followed these instructions for staining but it still turned out blotchy.

Do I have to strip? Should I try another coat? Should I try to sand again and stain? I final sanded my project with grit final sanding was by HAND so i wont have swirl marks hint hint people. Do you recommend using a fine grit to sand the stain into the wood?

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Do I need to use any type of steel wool at some point in my project? Linseed oil? It will be cleaned often and used daily as rough as daily life is lived. Any suggestions would be much appreciated. Thank you!

Choose the Right Finish for Wood Furniture

Scott can I use kerosine or lacquer thinner to remove dust on oak parquet floors before doing the water pop than the stain. I finish sanded to and did not water pop. What can I do to fix this? You used to fine of a grit before sanding. The pours are to closed off to accept it. Stop at or before stain. Hi there! Thank you in advance. We have a maple dining room set and was given the advice to sand with ,,, and then a Have we sanded it too fine. Should be fine you would normally want to do and finish with You would use the after you lacquer it, to knock down any bumps and lacquer again for smooth finish.

Any suggestions on removing the last bits of paint residue that seem stuck in the wood grain, before staining?

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Is plain steel wool best? I then proceeded to blow off the access sawdust and pass a few tack cloths over it, funny thing is that as i cleaned it there are like my fingerprint all over it.. Was the to fine for a drawer?

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Thanks for your time. So I sanded all my hardwood floors and they looked great. Is my only option to strip the floor with mineral spirits and start over. Sand starting low 36 60 Please help. Thanks for this great info. No blotching, but horrible colours, The grain, or springwood takes a nice brown but the summerwood turns orange.

Best Wood Finish for Woodworkers

Will the water popping address this issue? Any insight into whether dyes will produce better results? Thanks so much. A sandpaper that is too fine will leave the wood pores packed with fine dust that will prevent stain from soaking in. Sanding with a paper that is too coarse can damage to the wood, especially with softer woods such as cedar.

Vacuum all surfaces thoroughly after sanding. Don't wash the deck again, as this will raise the wood grain and roughen the surfaces you just sanded.

Wood Finishes: What Works When

If it rains in the meantime, simply let the deck dry out completely before refinishing; you don't need to sand again. One of the most important steps in your deck refinishing project is selecting the stain. While once it was common to first stain wood, then apply some kind of clear surface sealer over it, today's products are generally one-step applications—penetrating stains that both color the wood and soak in to protect it.

There are also simple clear sealers that do nothing more than penetrate and seal the wood without changing the color. However, these provide less UV sunlight protection than pigmented deck stains. Among the products that stain, you will find semi-transparent stains that allow the wood grain to be visible through the stain as well as opaque stains that color the wood, more like a coat of paint, hiding all wood grain. There are also water-based and oil-based varieties. The easy cleanup offered by water-based stains may be attractive, but most experts agree that water-based exterior stains do not last as long as oil-based products and do not soak into the wood fibers as thoroughly.

Most people find the best results with a quality oil-based, penetrating, exterior semi-transparent stain. You may have to look beyond the big box home improvement center and go to a professional paint store to find this product, but it will be worth the effort and expense. Also remember that the actual color of the stain, once applied, may differ from the samples or brochure. Make sure to confirm how the stain will look on your wood species before you commit to a large quantity.

Buying a small sample of stain and testing it on your deck is a good idea before you purchase it by the gallon. It is best to use a natural-bristle brush if you are using an oil-based product, and a synthetic-bristle brush with water-based stains. You will likely need a few different brush sizes. Staining the deck is where you see all your hard work come together.