Refinishing Tips and Techniques

Refinishing Tips and Techniques

This week we’d like to share a few of our favorite refinishing tips and techniques to ensure you’re own DIY finishing projects come out looking spectacular! These are some of the same tips and techniques we use on our own workshop. So lets get started!

Should go without saying but, Safety First

No matter what articles you read or videos you watch, there is a huge variety in the products, applications, tools and equipment you’ll be using as you complete your woodworking projects. Start by reading the manufacturer’s instructions, and protect your assets. You know, your skin, eyes, hearing and lungs. Wear protective gloves and safety glasses, and provide plenty of fresh air.

Wood Species Matters

The species of wood alters the effect staining and painting will take. for example, particleboards are highly absorbent, while veneers tend to not absorb as much. There are also differences in wood qualities. “Paint grades” may be considered lower quality while “stain grades” can change the color of a board.

Make Sawdust

Starting out as an amateur woodworker (still pretty amateurish I think) I really disliked sanding. It wasn’t until I invested in some orbital sanders that I began to appreciate the smoothness and benefits of removing scratches and nicks from the stock.  Scratches, abrasions and nicks absorb more stain and come out darker than the rest of the stock. Want an even coat/finish? Make sawdust and sand away! Start with a coarser grit sand paper and work your way up to a finer grit.

Test First to Avoid Surprises

Wood be tripping. That is, its unpredictable. If you’re not sure how the stain will take, use a scrap piece and test the stain. You may be surprised on how the stain takes. No scrap pieces? Test the stain on an inconspicuous spot vs. the most visible spot on your piece. Measure twice, cut once, and apply the stain in hidden spots =)

Stirred, Not Shaken

Ingredients settles in both stains and finishes over time. Avoid Agent 007’s martini advice on finishes, and DON’T do shaken, do Stirred. Stirring will prevent air bubbles, shaking will add bubbles. Bubbles (in this case) are bad. Stir.

Foam Brushes Finish Last

Foam brushes are great for pre-stain wood conditioners, but for a smooth final top coat, use quality bristle brushes.

Don’t Work in The Dark

Work where there’s ambient lighting. This will help you avoid nasty surprises like drips or missed areas when you’re staining and finishing. Also, work in a well-ventilated area.

Clean, Dry and Scuffed

Minwax recommends that “Before recoating an existing finish, make sure the old finish has been cleaned of any oils and wax, is completely dry, and has been scuffed lightly with fine 220-grit sandpaper so that the new finish has something to grip.”

Eliminate Dust

Ashes to ashes and dust to dust. But no where have we ever said you should stain with dust. Dust is bad. To eliminate dust, vacuum your project instead of wiping it down and brushing it off. once vacuumed, use a damp cloth for the final cleanup before staining or top-coating.

Do you have any additional tips to share? Comment below! We’d love to hear your own tips.

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