Today I Learned: Wood Finishing

I took a beginner wood finishing class at Woodcraft last night, and was very happy with it. It was taught by Gary Wood, and I’d highly recommend it to anyone that is intimidated by the craft of finishing, as I was. Some highlights:

  1. Put simply, dye is a color liquid, while stain is a suspension of pigment particles. This means that dye will get into your wood, while stain will sit on top. This means dye will preserve the beauty/grain of the wood better, while stain is easier to work with.
  2. You can add color at any step of the process (stain/dye, seal, fill/glaze, finish, polish) so you can get the color just right. Doing colors at different steps will also increase the “depth” of the finish.
  3. Don’t oversand when you’re applying a finish – I learned this the hard way on my own, sanding some maple down to 320 and subsequently seeing the wood fail to pick up any finish. Most of the time you don’t need to go past 180, and never go past 220.