When it comes time to finish your project you need to know that for wood treatments it is either stain, paints or finish. They are each providing a different outcome. To tint the wood you would use wood stains. Paints sit on the wood and protect it. Some finishes are pretty much paint without any color added to it. They are the ones that give that clear protection.
Probably one of the most well known finishes is varnish. It’s a great finish because the more layers you use the stronger the finish. The major problem with varnish is it dries slowly which increases the chance for dust to get into the finish. If possible, try to do your finishing work in an area where there is the least amount of dust.
A mixture of resins and synthetics boiled together is what makes varnish. If you are using polyurethane’s then you are simply using a varnish that has had a polyurethane resin added to it. When you are using a varnish that contains a higher quantity of oil, it makes the product more flexible and this is known as Spar varnish, which makes it perfect for outdoor use because of it flexing properties.
If you are going to use varnish as your finishing product then you need to know how to apply it properly. Working in a dust free room is a priority. Then using a tack cloth wipe down your project as it must be perfectly clean. Put some of your varnish into a container that you can work out of .That way if it becomes contaminated with dust you can just discard that amount. Apply the varnish using long steady strokes with a brush working in the grain direction. Tip off your brush strokes. Wed sand in between coats with fine sandpaper.
There is also wiping varnish but read the labels carefully before using this product to be sure that it is varnish and not tung oil.
Then there are oil and varnish blends. They work similar to an oil finish but have a bit more protection to them but they are not for building layers.
Shellac is a natural resin but not is as durable as the others are. It’s not good for items such as kitchen counter or cabinets for example. It is a fast drying product though and you can get it in various colors.
Lacquer is usually applied with a spray gun but the fumes can be dangerous and the dry dust is explosive.
There are some really good what are labeled as water based finishes but they all have a certain amount of solvent in them. Their two weaknesses is they show brush marks and they bubble when you are applying them so use a synthetic brush for this.
Proper sanding between coats of your finish is one of your most important steps. Be sure to use fine sandpaper. The sanding removes bumps and uneven spots. Especially made sandpaper for wet sanding is ideal.
Really, take the time to research the various finishes you are going to use to get the best application and intended use from them.
Ryan Henderson –
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