10 Wood Finishing Techniques

Check out the top 10 wood finishing techniques and learn how to fix the most common finishing mistakes.

| May 2014

Applying finishes

These wood finishing techniques can solve any mistakes and still achieve the best looking end product.

Photo courtesy The Taunton Press

Never fear finishing again! The Editors of Fine Woodworking will give you the skills necessary and confidence to apply finish with ease. Best Finishing Techniques (Taunton Press, 2011) is an invaluable reference that offers foolproof techniques to guarantee a perfect finish every time. In the following excerpt, Teri Masaschi will teach you a few wood finishing techniques, tips and tricks for fixing finishing mistakes.

You can purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: Best Finishing Techniques.

Top 10 Wood Finishing Techniques for Fixing Mistakes

Hobbyists and professionals alike make mistakes in the shop. When you’re building a piece, fixing an error is fairly straightforward: Back up and start again by milling a new piece, recutting a joint, or fitting in a patch. But finishing mistakes can be harder to overcome—hence the dread many woodworkers feel.

Problems can pop up at any one of three points in the finishing process—surface preparation (and assembly), staining and coloring, and applying the topcoat. I’ll show you some of the methods I use as a professional to back out of a mistake and to try to keep it from happening in the first place.

The best way to avoid mistakes altogether is to practice on a sample board. Testing the colors and materials you want to use will alert you to problems before you risk ruining an expensive project. Also, resist the urge to rush through the finishing process. You can nearly always tell when someone has taken a shortcut.

And finally, even if you make mistakes you can’t fix, after suffering through them you probably won’t repeat the same ones again.

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