Beginner Wood Finishing Recommendations | Woodworking Tips

Beginner Wood Finishing Recommendations | Woodworking Tips

I’m Scott and welcome back to Home
Improvement Woodworking Have you ever worked on a project but we’re fearful of putting the finish on it because you might ruin the piece? That’s the way I felt when I first started woodworking There’s an array of finishes out there
and it can be very confusing so I’m going to share with you my tips for
beginners on using paint and clear finishes in woodworking there are a lot of different finishes
you could use in your home and probably the most popular is paint I’m going to
talk about that first because it’s less complicated than clear coats and stains
when you’re painting wood you need to make sure that you use a primer first
get a good quality primer and that absorbs into the wood if you use paint
directly it doesn’t have that chance to bond with the wood and you can actually
scrape it off with your fingernail so primer first and then paint if you are
working with wood that has knots like this what you want to do is put on a
primer first that’s meant for blocking stains once you put that on put your
finished coat on top and you won’t end up with a resin from the knots bleeding
through your finish over the years my favorite paint is Benjamin Moore I use
three products this is a fresh start this is the primer for bare wood I use
Natura where I can and this is a no-VOC paint so it’s not creating any
indoor air pollution in my home really good for LEED homes and then there’s
advanced I use this for spray finishing it’s got extra leveling capabilities so
it creates a recent finish another option for small or awkward jobs is to
use a spray can it’ll get the job done quick when I’m painting with these
paints I use a foam roller for larger surfaces and everything else I use a
quality paint brush make sure you use a paint brush cleaner and clean it out
every time and this paint brush will last you for years
I’ll move the paint finish it out of the way and we’ll talk about clear finishes well we look at clear finishes it’s
important to understand what the finish is for there are two reasons you put a
finish on wood first of all wood itself is very porous and anything can absorb
in that it could be the oils from your hands it could be stains from glasses
being put on that so what we want to do is protect the wood the second thing we
want to do is enhance the beauty of the wood so if you look at an unfinished
piece of wood here it’s very flat and not much just a color to it but if you
look at a piece that’s been oiled or stained it’s got a lot more richness to
it so protect the wood and add beauty to it There are five main types of finishes that you can use to protect the wood I’m going to walk you through each of those and then I’m going to tell you what my
recommendation is for a beginning woodworker first up is oil finishes
they’re used mainly in fine furniture in mid-century modern furniture it’s easy
to apply but doesn’t offer much protection from liquids this is tung oil
you can also get boiled linseed oil or Danish oil if you’re using oil on
cutting boards you want to make sure you’re using mineral oil because it’s
food grade and won’t pollute the surface when you’re using it next up is shellac
and I’ve got shellac flakes that I mix in a shellac thinner but you can also
get a pre-made shellac as a finish that’s normally found on older furniture and antiques It’s fast drying and it protects the wood but it dissolves with alcohol so not good for surfaces where alcoholic drinks are around lacquer is another fast drying finish you can spray it on with a spray can or spray
equipment the factories usually use these because they dry so quickly and
support high production rates the problem with it though is it’s highly
toxic then we get into polyurethanes this is a water-based polyurethane this
is a wipe on polyurethane these are a plastic-like surface more durable than
other finishes but some people criticize them that they look plastic now the last
one is varnish this is a spar varnish that they
use on outdoor items such as paddles and this is something that allows the wood
to move and the finish move with it so it’s a really flexible finish and good
for that outdoor use we’ve also got paste wax but this isn’t a finish by
itself is usually put on top of a surface like a shellac and then we’ve
got some stains I’ve got a gel stain here and a regular stain these are oil
based stains I’ve used water-based stains before and in my opinion they
drive far too quickly and don’t give good results the gel stain will give you
a deeper look but will obscure the grain in the wood whereas you get less of that
with a traditional stain so after looking at all these options I’m going
to now tell you what I recommend for you when you’re new to finishing the first
thing is don’t use stains take these out of your portfolio
you can easily mess up a piece with a stain and you can get really beautiful
work without staining and I’ll show you why if we look at this piece of wood
here this is cherry this is cherry that’s bare, there’s no finish on this at all on this side here I’ve treated this with tung
oil and you can see the grain in this you see the beauty of the wood on either
side of it I’ve got two stains that I was testing but you can see what the
stain does it’s actually obscuring part of the beauty of the natural wood where
the tung oil is if you want your project to have a dark finish to it then use the
dark wood that way you’re going to get the beauty of the wood and you’re going to have an easier finish to put on for a clear finish I would recommend either an
oil or a wipe-on poly these are both finishes that you don’t need finishing
techniques for you simply put them on a clean rag and wipe them on this is how
easy it finishes just pour it in a small container so you don’t contaminate the
main source and put it on you can see here how the grain is just coming to
life without oil it doesn’t take much effort and get some great results Tung oil you can use for fine woodworking or for mid-century modern or even for hand tools like this what it does is it
gives you a 3D effect because that oil penetrates into the grain and almost
makes that would dance in the light the polyurethane is good for really durable
protection and this is something you’d put on about three coats if you’ve got a
table surface that’s going to see lots of wear I recommend putting about six
coats on to make sure you’ve got a good thick layer on that so there you have it
for a simple finish use a wipe on poly or a tung oil that’s all you need to
get some great results for your first finishes If you like this video and want
to subscribe you can click the link here and click on the bell icon that way
you’ll get notified when our next videos come out Until next time, enjoy your time
in the workshop

11 thoughts on “Beginner Wood Finishing Recommendations | Woodworking Tips

  1. First time viewer and I subscribed to your channel already. This video got my confirmation on what to use so I thank you for your help.

  2. Hi Scott Bennett
    I really appreciate your YouTube channel and you work that you do
    I have a question if you can help me with pleas
    Do I Apply Clear Varnish to Painted Kitchen Cabinets?
    Having in consideration the pain that I use water-based
    London Blue Spray Painting

    Regards Michael

  3. I need your advice on blotchy treads resulting from Minwax Stainable Wood Filler. These are the steps I did:
    1. Sanded 60 grit
    2. Used Minwax Stainable Wood Filler
    3. Sanded 220
    4. Used Minwax Pre-stain
    5. One coat of Minwax Red Oak 215 stain.
    However, I had staple holes from carpet and used Minwax Stainable Wood Filler. The stain did not take and now have light dollar spots. What do you recommend to fix? Not sure what type of wood I have? Thank you for your Youtube videos.

  4. On the primer, this is very important on drywall. Not using a primer will suck the moisture out of the paint leaving it easy to peal off the wall. That is one major mess to fix what the previous owner did. Dust everywhere and mess. Well worth the price of a primer to avoid a weekend projecd from becoming a seasonal one.

    Shelac and lacquer aren't as durable. Lacquer is very easy to work with but requires different solvents/cleaners. If you're using steel wool, you don't want to use anything water based unless you want some rust stains in your finish.

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