Homemaking & Real Estate

The Art of Wood Finishing: How to Create a Flawless Polished Finish

Wood Finishing is the application of materials that enhance the appearance and protect the surface of wood. It usually consists of several coats of wax, shellac, drying oil, lacquer or paint.

Nature has woven into every wood pattern that delights the eye with its grain texture and figure beauty. The best finishing preserves these natural beauties and enhances them with color.


Many woodworkers consider sanding the most important step in the process. This is the time to smooth out imperfections and create a flat surface. Hand sanding is preferred, as using power tools at this stage will quickly destroy your work. Besides, working with your hands lets you keep that tactile feel of the piece you are working on.

It is best to start with the coarse grit sandpaper and gradually move to the finer grits. This will ensure that you are sanding evenly and that the pieces of sawdust created by each grit are getting smaller and smaller. Always use a dust mask while sanding to protect your lungs and eyes.

Some people choose not to sand their work, and this is fine. However, they should know that their pieces will likely never be as durable and long-lasting if they do not.

There are many different types of finishes for wood, including polished finish on the wood, but they all generally consist of some liquid poured, wiped, brushed, or sprayed onto the workpiece. The liquid consists of solvents and solids, transforming the nature of dry, delicate, ugly wood into a rich, beautiful, durable, protective, and long-lasting material. Penetrating oil finishes like linseed or tung are great for protecting wood. These oils penetrate the surface of the wood and dry into it, which helps to reduce moisture fluctuations and prevent swell and shrinkage. These finishes also highlight the beauty of the grain and, with multiple coats, can make a piece shine.


Staining is one of the most important steps in the wood finishing process. It changes the look of wood and brings out the natural color and grain pattern. Stains are available in various colors and can enhance the beauty of wooden furniture. Stains usually consist of a pigment, carrier, and binder. The pigment gives the color while the binder makes it stick. The type of stain you choose depends on your desired look and application method. If you’re using a sprayer or attempting a complicated process, like French polishing, test the product on a sample piece of wood before applying it to your workpiece.

Once your stain is dry, you can apply the final finish coat. It is important to use each coat evenly so that there are no blotches or areas where the finish is thinner than others. It is also important to lightly sand each finish coat after it dries. You can use 280-grit sandpaper to do this. Be sure to remove the dust nibs with a tack rag or vacuum.

There are two types of finishes: surface and penetrating. Penetrating finishes include linseed, Danish, and tung oil. They can protect your workpiece from swelling, rust, and insects. They can also make your furniture more beautiful by enhancing its natural color and sheen.


Whether restoring old furniture or building something new, wood finishing is essential. It protects the wood, enhances its beauty, and provides a clean surface. It’s also a great opportunity to make minor changes or repairs, and many ways exist. There are different types of finishes, ranging from paint to varnish, but they all consist of some liquid poured, wiped, brushed, or sprayed onto the wood. That liquid consists of both solvents and solids, with the solvents evaporating into the air and disappearing and the solids bonding to the wood.

The type of finish you choose will depend on the environment where it will be used and your priorities. For example, consider selecting a varnish with water and UV resistance if you’re looking for durable protection against wear and tear. If you’re more concerned about aesthetics, you can opt for a wax finish that preserves the natural color of the wood without yellowing.

Another important factor to consider is the ease of application of the finish. Some wood finishes require a certain skill level to apply, so it’s important to consider your ability and experience before you start working. For instance, if you’re not experienced with spraying, using a brush or cloth may be better.


Once you’ve completed sanding, staining, and polishing your wooden piece, protecting it with a clear finish is important. This will protect the wood from environmental factors such as UV radiation, rain, and high humidity. This can damage the wood and cause it to dry out, crack, or even rot. A protective finish will prevent this and ensure your work is aesthetically pleasing for years.

Many different types of clear finishes are available for use on wooden projects. These include penetrating finishes, such as linseed or tung oil, and surface wood finishes, such as varnishes, polyurethanes, and paints. Each type of wood finish has a distinct appearance and level of protection, so it’s important to prioritize the most important traits when choosing a sealant for your project.

When applying a clear finish, follow the product’s instructions carefully. For example, some spray products must be shaken to remove air bubbles from the can before use. Others may require you to apply several coats for a deep, rich shine. Testing the sealant on scrap wood before applying it to your project is also a good idea. This will help you determine how much colorant or resin you need to achieve the desired look.