There are dozens of products for the protection and enhancement of wood, and one of the most popular clear varnishes for indoor use is polyurethane. This will bring colours to life and enhance the grain formation, giving it a vibrant glow. Polyurethane is available in gloss, satin or matt finishes. It is not suitable for outdoor use. In that case, a yacht varnish or similar preparation is preferable. It may be necessary to apply several coats for maximum effect, and each coat should be rubbed down with fine sandpaper when completely dry and before the next coat is applied. Remember too, that the finish will darken slightly each time, even though this is classed as a clear varnish.
Some timbers used outdoors, such as cedar or teak, have special preparations or oils manufactured for their treatment, and these are applied by brush after the timbers have been sanded down and prepared.
Clear grain sealer can be used for indoor projects, followed by several applications of wax polish. This will give a lovely ‘body’ to the finish which will improve over the years with the application of more wax with each polishing. Remember that you must sand your wood to a fine finish for the best results.
Always wear a face mask when working with an electric sander. Wear protective gloves when using paint stripper or solvents. Work in a well-ventilated atmosphere when stripping or finishing wood. Keep your fingers away from the cutting edges of tools. Keep stains, varnishes and solvents away from naked flames time.
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