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My 4 Favorite Finishes and How to Apply Them

Jun 11, 2021
Today we are going to talk about exams. I mean, I'm sorry to end and I wanted to go over my

favorite

results. Now finishing is subjective, but I have some very strong finishing philosophies that I subscribe to and want to go over. I wanted to talk about my four or five

favorite

finishes

, where I use

them

, and how I make

them

. Now there are a lot of opinions, but I'm coming from someone who likes to get long-lasting

finishes

that look great. is always my number one priority and that gets done quickly when you are doing woodworking projects, no one wants to spend all this time working on something and then have to wait full days between coats to cure and have something in your shop that you know how to carry and leave a horrible smell and collecting particles from the air that you have to get Rhys out of and leave, not a good way to end in my opinion and leaves a lot of room for error.
my 4 favorite finishes and how to apply them
I like to make things that are beautiful, durable, and fast in that order, so let's get started. In all of these, I'm going to show you how I prep them,

apply

them, and how I top them off and get them out the door, so I'm going to quickly go over all the finishes that I like to use and tell you what I like and what application I use them for. The first thing I think of when I think about finishing. I have some rules that I follow. One of them is that I don't like shine. I think the glitter can look very sticky.
my 4 favorite finishes and how to apply them

More Interesting Facts About,

my 4 favorite finishes and how to apply them...

Semi-gloss and shine. I try and keep it in the math and satin areas, most things that are matte are oils or things that wipe off, they are penetrating type finishes when I get into more statins, we're talking about our lacquers, our water based polyurethanes and then when What I do is gloss or semi-gloss when I get into epoxy finishes that I would only use on tables or bars or places where I need ultra ultra durability, my number one finish is absolutely number one because of the ease of use and just the Absolute beauty is shellac and I like to make my own shellac because I feel it is of much higher quality.
my 4 favorite finishes and how to apply them
Shellac comes from the saliva of insects, which is such an interesting fact that I couldn't tell you what insect or anything, but someone told me what that was once and I hope it's true because it really blows my mind, so you get these shellac flakes and they're mixed with denatured alcohol and we'll talk more about how I use it here in a minute, but it comes in different colors, the most commonly used ones, you know. 99% of the time it's D wax blonde shellac because it doesn't really change the color of the project too much. They also have what is called Garnett, which is much darker and has a very simple finish.
my 4 favorite finishes and how to apply them
It's what you use when someone would do it. Let's say a French enamel, that shellac, it's a very, very old finish, something that's been used for thousands of years, maybe hopefully it won't speak too much. What I do is mix it very strongly in equal parts, so one by one I generally let it dissolve. it takes about 24 hours and then I dilute it to use it so you know a bottle of one to one will last me quite a long time and I'll do a lot of projects and the nice thing about this is you can reset it if you put it on too. a lot, if it gets unstable you can just get pure denatured alcohol, wipe it down, remove most of the finish and just restart again and that's how french polish works you slowly decrease the amount of shellac that's in there and increase the amount of alcohol and you rub it with a pad and that really polishes the finish, but it has a very nice matte satin finish and penetrates very well.
The other benefit of shellac is that it can cover anything and can go under anything. super easy to use you don't have to worry about blending so sometimes I use it as my first two coats and then come on with my finish whatever I'm using my next favorite finish is one I might do again mine. there's a theme here that I like to make my own finishes, but it's what I use for cutting boards and shop templates and here's a cutting board that we marked and I've put together a long class, I think it's a nine video class units and nine on how to do this. cutting board so it's a few hours of instructional content and it's really cool uh so what I make is four parts beeswax.
You can do it on Amazon and I'll link everything I have here in the pinned comment and description, but you only get 100% natural beeswax and mineral oil, you make it four to one. I heat it up in a crock pot or warmer, something nice and slow until it's all mixed together and then you let it cool and you get this really great kind of food. Well, we call it the Guu cat, stop and it's amazing because you just wipe it down, let it sit until it's completely soaked,

apply

a few more coats to the new cutting board, just polish it and the finish is just like special, I don't know, I've never had anything that looks and feels so good on a cutting board, now it's not durable on furniture like cabinets or jewelry boxes, so it can't be used there, but with shop furniture it really I like it because I can reapply at any time and it has wax so my tools slide very easily, like you know shooting boards.
I know different things where you are in contact with hand tools. It's really cool to have a surface that you know is going to be slick and then nothing else will stick to it like you know your errant glue or finish. This works great so that's my number one finish for cutting board and stencil accessory and it also dries really fast so it's great to use because you can do it right away. working almost immediately, so the last two are in the same category, polyurethane and water-based lacquer. Both have a recovery time of five minutes, they dry very quickly.
I never brush them, I just spray them. I have an HVLP video that will be linked here, you can get into HVLP for very little money. My HVLP gun set was like hunter's money and in my opinion it's the only way to finish projects because of the really high atomization everything will dry really fast but especially these really fast drying finishes plus they really don't If you spray too much, there will be dust in your workshop, but you can really do it, if you wear a respirator and goggles, you can spray it inside because it dries before it touches anything else and that's the good thing is that the really fine mist won't reach nowhere but your project, so I'll just lay out a piece of paper, spray it in the shop, and make sure it's well ventilated and dries right away.
Lacquer is one of my favorite finishes because it's just beautiful, it's so smooth it's very easy to reapply, it's very easy to thin and very easy to sand, which is why I will use lacquer on any type of interior decorative piece. I have drawers, you know, shelves, that kind of thing. that's not going to get much use, it's not as strong of a finish and then when I make things like nightstands, that kind of thing, sometimes I use lacquer, but I also use water-based poly if I have to. To build up a sort of film finish and something that will have drinks on it, I'm going to use water based poly now as you can see my semi gloss jar is completely open and full and then this is completely empty.
If you apply the gloss or things over the polyurethanes, it will look very plastic, but the gloss lacquer can look great as something really decorative, like I did in that humidor video linked here that turned out so well because we put a gloss finish on it. and then I polished it to a really high shine, some furniture really requires it and that can also be your cup of tea maybe you like shiny things. My final favorite finish is epoxy and of course total boat epoxy which is a proud supporter of The woodworking community is not sponsoring this video, but did they take care of us woodworkers?
So if you are going to buy epoxy, make sure you buy the entire bottle. Tabletop epoxy is really good because you can pour it pretty thick and yeah like having a table that's going to get banged up or like a bar with such a good finish that it self-levels and it really comes out beautiful and then they're epoxies that you've seen me use at my station. Japanese sharpening linked right here um they just have a really good finish, they're really hard to use as a finish because you actually have a brush, which is a nightmare in my personal opinion because you get brush strokes and that kind of stuff, so one of the tricks I'll use The use on this is I'll use a heat gun after I put it on and I'll just keep going over it and that helps it set, but sometimes you have to put it on and then sand it really, really good and then just do it. a very light top coat that will help you get a good finish, but this is what I use in high water applications and of course to fill in imperfections, cracks, things and projects, I wouldn't use anything more than a full can, so Let's see how to apply them and how to make them look good.
Now I'm going to assume that everyone stays there with their boards up to 180 or 40. Sometimes I'll stick with 400 and just give it a little hand. I sand to remove rough spots, but I don't lift the grain on projects. I know people who say you should raise the grain. I totally disagree and this is why your finish will raise the grain, hold between coats and so on. Why lift it twice and why do I add water to a project that will potentially warp the boards or change the shape of something when it dries? So I don't do that.
I raise the grain with the finish and then sand in the middle. I'll do two coats, almost always two coats, I'll sand with 400, one top coat and that's all I need, so the way the slack works is I'll take my D Lac wax flakes and I'll add them in a jar. one to one with denatured alcohol that you can get at any hardware store or even on Amazon, it's great and then I'm going to let it dissolve for about 24 hours and then what I'm going to do is I'm going to take this one to... one finish and I'm going to use one to four to my first layer, one to four for my second layer and then one to eight for my final layer.
There is an excellent video of Mike Peck, fine woodworking, in which he wrote the Bible. using this is where I learned, I'll link it below and the nice thing about this is it dries in a minute or two, you can recoat it, you can polish it, there are many ways to use it or you can use it. kind of like a primer for the finish so I'm just going to add this in here and a great way to store your rags is in your jar one by one so you don't have to keep using rags shellac is not one of For those finishes you have You have to worry about laying out your rags like you would with an oil base so you don't have to worry about burning down your workshop.
We already know it's one to one, so I'm just going to add some parts here and do It's about one, two, four and we're just going to wet our rag. You can literally just wipe it off. Is so easy. I'm just going to give it one layer and the best thing is that it's a wedding of its own, so if you get like a big mass. it dries kind of like a bubble, you can just polish it like this and put it on there, so I'll just wipe it off a few times, you can see it's dry when it's no longer shiny when you look.
We'll look at it from the side and then we'll go ahead and apply another layer here and this one won't be as aggressive. We don't want to just completely flood the surface here because then it's just going to mean more work for us down the road when we're polishing it, but we're going to wet it again, wipe it off, let it dry real easy, okay, and that's already dry, I mean, that was legit, we turn the camera off and turn it back on fifteen seconds later and then I'm going to give it a very light kind of sanding, then I'm going to add a little bit more denatured alcohol to my mix, I'm going to give it a soak and then I'm just going to give it one more coat and ready.
I don't want to keep rubbing if it starts to stick, just step back and you can always come back and fix it once it starts to stick, so now you can say it's done. It's beautiful, nice matte finish, it looks like an oil finish, no. a film finish or sometimes I'll get one more coat and I'll put my rag and Rindt on and wring it out very, very well, very, very well and then I'll give the surface a light buff and this will help blend out any inconsistencies and that it's all and go back and then we'll let it dry and it's good to see it look like it's almost dry, you didn't see it like the shine disappears, it dries. real quick okay our next finish is the KM goo which is mineral oil and beeswax four to one so it's four parts beeswax two mineral oil heat it up in a warmer until it's all melted and mixed and then let it dry and it creates this like waxy goo that is just amazing and it doesn't get any easier than this.
The nice thing about this is that you can reapply and reapply and reapply and that's why it's so good for cutting boards if you're someone who makes cutting boards. and sell them at craft fairs and on Etsy. You would make a huge batch of this, put it in little containers, and give it to your customers so you have their contact information, that way, when four months from now you know when they've washed it 20 times and say oh, this doesn't look like like before. They can contact you and say, oh yeah, just rub it and tell them how to use it.
It gives you another opportunity to interact with your customers, but this. things are super easy, just leave it, rub it and just let it sit and let it sit until it's C like it doesn't absorb any more, you can leave it there and that's itYou know, I already made this board recently, so once you've let it sit for a while and let the mineral oil really get in there. All you want to do is use the same cloth and keep polishing it. polish it until you remove any excess and then you just let the wax harden so now I'm going to show you how I put on water based hairspray and polyester.
There's no difference between this process, so I'm just going to show you the lacquer with the spray can. I strongly suggest you re-enter HVLP. That video is linked and if you click on that little eye in this corner here, in the upper right corner, if you're looking at the screen, it will have that HVLP video. check it out it makes a difference it really makes a difference it's a small investment to get a much bigger difference in your woodworking to get into the HVLP material I highly recommend it so the way I do this is sand up to 220 and I just put the respirator on now.
The good thing about lacquer, which is a little different than polyurethane, is that lacquer marries itself, so it will remarry to adhere to the previous coat, so this one only needs sanding once between coats, while with polyurethane. the only difference is that you need to sand between each coat and remember the first time it will raise the grain so just apply a thin coat, sand that grain and then move on but I do three coats of each when I make them. I do with shellac, I do two coats of sanding and then I do a top coat with water based polyurethane, I sand between each coat, you want to make sure your last coat is the lightest, you don't want to flood the surface with your last coat. basically just to fill in those scratch marks you left sanding between coats, so I'm going to put on my respirator and show you how I do this.
The important thing is that you want to overlap half, so on each pass you will overlap half and continue. that way and that will ensure that your coat is a nice solid coat so now you can see that it's perfectly laid out and you can see that it's not sticky it's starting to get a little bit of a shine in there so we're just going to give it a one more coat, a sanding and then a final coat, well we're done, we have a nice satin finish, it's nice and smooth, it feels very very smooth to the touch, there are a couple of dings here, this was just a piece of wood , so I didn't spend much time saying that they wouldn't be on a normal project, but it's just a great looking finish, both water-based satin and lacquered satin, some of my favorite finishes for heavy-duty furniture, so one thing I think I forgot to mention that if you're going to use an oil finish, which is another type of finish that I really like, you know, like any type of teak oil, Danish oil, you would just wipe it off like shellac, It's really very easy. finish using I don't use it very often just because it doesn't really offer any protection but it really is beautiful and it's what some of the older and more famous furniture makers would use if you're looking for Maloof oil there's a mix. that's actually very good.
I think the Maker brand plain finish is kind of a variation of that with hardening wax, but there are a lot of great oil finishes out there if that's your thing guys the best way to hold the channel is to get close to the jack that smells. pick up in store t shirt dovetail template or stop block thank you so much for looking, stay safe in the store and see you next time

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