Finishing Your Projects

  1. Should You Use Shellac or Wood Conditioner Before Staining Softwoods with Oil-Based Stains

    Bare Wood, Wood Conditioner and Shellac Look

    Q: In watching shows and reading articles, people talk about applying shellac to a project, then stain, then a protective coat. Why the shellac before the stain?

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  2. How to Fill Cracks in Wood without Wood Putty

    Filling cracked or knotty wood without using wood putty may seem a difficult task, but there are a few options. Sometimes the perfect piece of wood is not all there. I’m not saying it’s crazy; just missing some parts. There can be cracks in a knot, voids in a burl or other anomalies. Being able to fill them means you can still use that special plank.

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  3. Finish for a Workbench?

    It's a matter of personal style. For some woodworkers the term "workbench" refers to a set of sawhorses and a salvaged door slab. For others, no workbench is complete until it sports a beautiful high gloss finish. For anyone out there wondering how to spiff-up a workbench the right way, here's a little advice from two expert woodworkers:

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  4. Getting Rid of Saw Blade Burns

    saw blade burn marks

    Have you ever numbed your fingers or unintentionally rounded off a nice, square edge sanding out saw blade burn marks? You're not alone.

    A woodworker asks our experts: Other than sanding, is there any other way to remove burn marks caused by a table saw blade? I use a Forrest blade and still get burn marks on oak. Here's how three accomplished woodworkers responded.

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  5. Water-based Finish over an Oil-based Finish

    General Finishes EF High Performance Polyurethane

    Woodworking Myth: You should never put a water-based finish on top of an oil-based finish. Jim Carroll explains why it’s not only acceptable to use a water-based finish over and oil finish – provided you do it correctly – but that it can be the best solution when you want to bring out the natural character and color of the wood.

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  6. How to Use Wood Stains, Pigments, Dyes and Toners to Evenly Stain Wood

    Different Finishing Options

    Using the same stains and woods doesn't necessarily mean the patterns or colors will match across different pieces. Build a project from a single board and the finished piece will be visually consistent. Use several different boards, even of the same species, or mix solid wood and plywood, and you may end up with an array of glaring color surprises once the finish goes on.

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  7. When to Use Sanding Sealer

    What is "sanding sealer" and what's it good for? Woodworking expert Michael Dresdner offer's a quick lesson on the properties and uses of sanding sealer to a Woodworker's Journal newsletter reader who wanted to know when it should be used and whether it would make a big difference to the end result.

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  8. The Secret To Mirror Like Finishes: Wood Grain Filler

    Ever wonder how expert wood finishers get the mirror-like finish you find on examples of fine furniture? It isn't by hastily slapping on a coat or two of standard-issue polyurethane varnish. There are a number of steps involved, beginning with the way the piece is originally constructed on through several coats of clear finish and final hand-rubbing.

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