Finish Faves

Finish Faves

Last week Rob was wondering about favorite finishing recipes and when you plan what finish you use. – Editor

My favorite finish is tung oil — once I’ve finished sanding the bejesus out of the project. Easy cleanup and ecological too, but a shame it takes so many coats. – Jeff Kelly

I plan my finish during the planning stage. That way I know what look I am going for and what kind of wood to get. My preferred finish is Waterlox®. I slowly build up the finish using cloth applicators. Lately unfortunately, I’m building outdoor projects like steps and shed doors, so my finish is plain, ordinary paint. – Jim

If I am building for indoors with good-looking wood I use shellac and General Finishes Arm-R-Seal. If it’s an outdoor project that will need refinishing every few years I use Teak Oil. I tried Danish oil but was not overly impressed. – Walter Hayes

I’ve tried many staining recipes until I finally focused on natural dyes and shellac. I work with cherry and finally discovered that potassium dichromate will give me the aged look when combined with shellac. I can use shellac toned with dyes or use different shellacs to get the color I want. Multiple layers provide depth to the finish. No blotching! Rub out with wax and steel wool, or topcoat with Waterlox. I just love the warm amber, red-brown hue of shellac. (The final finish) feels wonderful, too. You can apply multiple layers by brushing or spraying because it dries so quickly, but I let it dry overnight after three coats (2-lb. cut). Sometimes I use 10 to 15 coats to get just the right look or to cover sapwood. Trans tint golden brown works great for the shellac toning. Using a French polishing technique you can get a beautiful shine. Shellac gives a rich, warm, old-world look to most woods, especially cherry. It’s my go-to finish! – Jim Hoerter

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