How To Finish Wood

Woody Jackson | Last modified on June 13th, 2021

Wood is a natural material that one would expect to see in contemporary homes and office spaces. Numerous things have to be considered before finishing wood, but a few key elements separate the process from being difficult or impossible to complete. 

How To Finish Wood

The following information is designed to make sure you know what you’ll need before starting and how to get started in three easy steps. To finish wood, you need a brush, stain/finish, and a little bit of time. Then, only three steps and your wooden surfaces are ready. Keep reading if you need more information about how to finish wood.

How To Finish Wood In 3 Easy Steps

Below you may find a step-by-step guide about how to finish wooden surfaces efficiently.

Step 1: Prepare The Wood

It is important to take some time sanding the piece of wood. Not only is sandpaper crucial for permitting a smooth finish, but it also is an essential tool for removing splinters and small cracks that could be transferred when applying the stain or sealant. There are many different types of sandpaper available based on how smoothly you want your piece to be finished. 

Step 1: Prepare The Wood

Additionally, if there are some marks on your piece, use fine-grit sandpaper (around #60) and gently wash it down with warm water to remove the unwanted material (instead of using just a dry cloth as this can cause scratches). Finally, if the piece of lumber you want to finish has been treated in any way (i.e., staining), be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions and select sandpaper that is fine enough to maintain this treatment.

Step 2: Select And Apply A Wood Stain

The stains available for sale will vary depending on your budget and how large of a project you are working on, but as long as you select the right type, it doesn’t really matter what brand name it comes from or how much it costs. The choice of stain you select can make a huge difference in how the customer receives your finished wood.

Step 2: Select And Apply A Wood Stain

There are two types of stains to choose from: oil-based and water-based. Oil-based stains are applied with an applicator and will stain the wood very quickly but remove easily with water, while the water-based ones need to be worked into the material for 30 minutes before they’re applied. Always read the manufacturer’s instructions for applying these stains, as some require good ventilation and/or rinsing if used on porous materials (i.e., unfinished wood).

Step 3: Add A Clear Protective Finish

Even with the assistance of a wood stain, the material can still be vulnerable to wear and tear. Applying a clear protective finish will ensure that you spend less time worrying about damage and more time appreciating the beauty of your finished piece.

Step 3: Add A Clear Protective Finish

The best part about choosing a clear protective finish over something like polyurethane is that you don’t need to worry about your piece sticking to the furniture or your floor if it gets wet anymore, as water won’t absorb into the pores of your wood.

How To Finish Wood Floors

Wood floors are a popular choice among homeowners for the warmth they provide and their natural beauty. However, finishing can be tricky. 

Here are some tips to help you with that final step of the process:

  1. Vacuum thoroughly, wipe up any spills and clean up dust to prepare for finish.
  2. Use a water-resistant floor cleaner with a built-in neutralizer on hardwood floors or laminate surfaces that get lots of foot traffic. For more delicate surfaces like natural woods with no clear finish, use a diluted vinegar solution. Rinse well with water afterward and dry quickly to minimize water spots that can impact the adhesion of the finish coatings later on.
  3. Apply the finish within the recommended application time. The sooner you apply, the better. If you use too early or too late, you can diminish the protection and durability of your new floors. 
  4. Apply a minimum of two coats to each surface that is being treated; three coats are preferred. If possible, use one coat per coat stand and work in sections. Allow each layer to dry thoroughly before applying another coat on top; otherwise, spotting can occur.

How To Finish Wood With Polyurethane

Wood finishing is something that anyone can do with a bit of patience and the desire to create a beautiful piece of furniture. But by far, the easiest method of finishing wood can be accomplished with polyurethane. 

All you need to do is protect yourself from the fumes and follow some simple steps. The following is an introduction on how to finish wood with polyurethane in easy steps:

  1. Pre-stain your lumber (if applicable). This will ensure your final stain color won’t have streaks or blotches in it.
  2. Measure out your wood and place it on your flat surface. Use enough polyurethane to coat all sides of your wood.
  3. Apply a smooth coat of polyurethane onto your wood. Spread it over your wood using a brush or roller (less is more with this part). Allow to dry for 10-15 minutes, then sand the surface smooth with 220 grit sandpaper. Finally, apply your favorite finishing agent to clean up any imperfections on the surface.

FAQ

What Is The Best Way To Finish Wood?

There are lots of different ways to finish wooden furniture, but for the most part, it’s a matter of personal preference. One of the best materials is a polymer varnish that can be applied with a brush. It dries quickly, is scratch-resistant, and protects against water damage and heavy wear. It also gives off an attractive sheen while protecting the wood from UV radiation.

What Do You Put On Wood To Finish It?

Cedar oil. You can buy it in paint shops, some hardware stores, and large home improvement chains. You can also use tung oil, an organic mineral oil that penetrates deep into the wood’s surface to form a natural sealant; beeswax, which seals and protects the wood without leaving a shiny or waxy film on its surface. 
It is also good to be used: boiled linseed oil for a long-lasting finish, shellac for sealing porous woods such as cedar. Windex may also be used as it evaporates cleanly and leaves no residue behind on the surface of the wood.

What Is The Best Natural Wood Finish?

Different types of woods require other techniques for their finishing. For example, Oak would be stained with an oil-based stain, while pine might be given a coat of lacquer that has been cured in a kiln before application. Cedar will need either oil-based or acrylic lacquers that have been cured at too high of temperatures, so the process will need to start from scratch if this condition arises.

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