How To Achieve A High Quality Wood Finish

 Mike Maclennan
  Jul 29, 2018

“You can’t help yourself but touch it. Test its quality with your own bare hands, thinking how such a masterpiece was done. It must take a lot of talent, effort, and money to put up an art piece as exquisite as this one.” This is usually what I think upon seeing a high-quality piece of wood finish. The woodwork is a method of art-making in the form of sculpted wood, and just like any other high-quality arts, it is meant to be appreciated.

wood finish

Every time you gaze upon an exquisite wooden piece, you must have wondered the ways and methods done to produce such a product. Luckily for you, I have compiled some tips to help you achieved a high quality and appealing wood finish.

Tip #1: Use the Right Wood

Types of wood

You can use various woods for your work. Some of the popular ones are cherry, maple, cedar, pine, and redwood. Each of these types of wood has different wood finish techniques fit for their qualities. For instance, if you plan to use stains on your finish, you need to avoid using wood from cherry and maple tree for these types of wood do not stain evenly. They have irregular grain patterns which are unique for these woods.

Another note to consider is that even if you somehow achieved an even stain on your cherry wood, the thing is it might not last that long. For some reasons, Cherry wood darkens with age and a cherry stained wood may even get darker as the time passes by. In this case, you have to carefully investigate the properties of the wood you want to use in your woodwork.

Tip #2: Plan Your Stains

Just like wood types, stains also have different variations. The most common ones are the pigment and the dye stains. Most common problems faced by woodworkers are the issues about uneven stains in putting the stain and the inappropriate use of dye and pigment stains.

People who attempt to use stain in their wood finish often caught deciding between pigment and dye stains. What are the differences between these two? Which one is better to use?

Pigment stain is the type that absorbs quickly. This is why when you apply one side of the wood first before the other, the stain that you first applied dries quickly as compared to the other side. In the end, since the two sides have different time of application, they will also dry at different times.

Pigment stains are usually made of small opaque particles which are suspended in the liquid. When applied onto the wood, scratches, and pores of the wood will absorb the stains, making the wood finish uneven.

On the other hand, Dye stains are completely different. It entirely dissolved in the liquid. What is even more amazing in this type of wood is that it hides minor flaws and colors the whole surface evenly. Since it mixes well with liquids, it creates the illusion of fixing the flaws of the wood.

Wood Finish

Tip #3: Select the Kind of Stains

Water-based, oil-based, and alcohol-based, these are the three kinds of dye stains that you can choose from. Woodworkers should have the innate talent to choose the right dye stains to use.

1. Water-based– It is perhaps the most coveted dye stain on the market. You can easily buy this one in any leading home depot stores in your place. One thing that people like about it is that it has wide color choices. Whether you are looking for summer colors, spring colors, or autumn colors, water-based dye usually has all of them. Another reason is that since it is water-based, it is less prone to fading under natural lights such as sunlight. Lastly, if you want to tighten your belt, this is quite cheaper as compared to other kinds. Furthermore, its solvent is also cheap!

The only concern for this kind of stain is the extra work needed after. You have to make sure you applied the sanding step as wood grains may rise.

2. Oil-based– Unlike the water-based stain, this requires a lot more time for the stain to absorb. It is also durable and penetrates into the woods deeper than the water-based. Since it is durable, it needs less maintenance.

3. Alcohol-based– Even though oil-based and water-based are what most people use, some people opted for the alcohol-based stain. Alcohol is popular for its quality that reduces blotchiness and dries easily. It may not be the top choices by many, but alcohol-based stain has its own certain qualities.

Tip #4: Don’t Forget to Use Wood Conditioner

On top of using wood stains, you shouldn’t forget to use a wood conditioner before staining. As mentioned earlier, some stains may cause the wood to darken a little bit as the time passes by; however, using a wood conditioner can lessen the darkening agent. Apply wood conditioner before staining to lessen darkening. It is also a good trick to prevent the wood from absorbing the stain too much.

Tip #5: Test It First!

You do want to spend most of your time doing trial and error right at the exact moment of staining. Test the stains thoroughly beforehand. This way, you can proceed directly to the kind of stain you want to use. This will save you time, money, and effort. You can mix stains if you like; just make sure you have scrutinized every aspect of it to make it fits the wood you are about to use. Testing the stains will also allow you to anticipate the color of the stains in the long run.

Tip #6: Hand-sand Those Edges and Cuts

Perhaps even the ordinary people know this woodworking protocol. Using hand-sand to smoothen the edges and cuts of the woodwork is a practice done by many people even now that we have technology advancement to assist us. However, it is important always to bear in mind to hand-sand woodwork carefully, delicately to avoid any mistake. You have to progress by steps while using the 80 grit to fix wooden blemishes and flaws.

How To Achieve A High Quality Wood Finish

Mike Maclennan

Hello! I’m Mike Maclennan and I live in Phoenix, Arizona. I work in the construction and home remodeling industry. Having used many tools over the years, I’ve decided to start this website and share my personal tools review. Thanks for reading my articles and I hope you’ll find the best tool for your needs.

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