You’re hesitant. You have invested a number of hours in designing and crafting that one-of-a-kind piece of furniture in cherry and there it sits in your workshop, awaiting the finish. You know how important it is to get this final step just right, but so far your finishes have kept your pieces from being everything they deserve to be. Runs, lacking in depth, too glossy, brush marks, fumes permeating the shop; all those and more will be a thing of the past when you use my simple cherry finish.
Don’t fret over this crucial last phase of the build. This simple cherry finish will make your hard work shine through.
Just because you have a small space to create doesn’t necessarily limit you to small projects. There are many things that can be done to push those walls apart from each other and get the most from your space.
The first thing needed to succeed is the proper mindset. Don’t let yourself be intimidated into passing up the opportunity to tackle something huge in your home workshop. Most large pieces of furniture and cabinetry can be broken down into sub-components, each small enough to be worked on individually and assembled outside the shop. As long as you are realistic and plan carefully before starting out, even the smallest of shops should be able to handle large projects.
As with all fine finishes, preparation is key. You simply cannot achieve a deep shine without the underlying surface being smooth and completely free of surface glue.
You have two tools to select from: a well-tuned scraper or sand paper. If you sand, you need to progressively work your way to 320 grit before the wood is ready to accept your finish. That is, unless you’re planning to stain the wood before applying the top coat, in which case you need to stop at 180 grit. Anything finer than that and the ability of the stain to effectively colour the wood is going to be limited. Then, ensure the stain is fully dry – at least overnight – before applying the top coat of your choice.
My final guidance on sanding is this: when sanding with machinery, regardless of whether you’re staining, always do a final hand-sanding with the grain to ensure there’ll be no sanding swirls to contend with.
Accidents may happen – these simple techniques can keep your furniture looking like new for many years to come.
Of course you knew better, didn’t you? You were in too much of a hurry to apply finish equally to all sides of that dining room table you had spent the past six weekends tenderly bringing to life. And because of that, the solid table top has cupped badly and cracks are beginning to open up in a few places. All this trouble because you had been in such a hurry to get it done before the annual family Thanksgiving dinner.
It needs to be reinforced that the above scenario is responsible for more premature finish failures than other single cause. Simply stated, you need to give those hidden and not-so-obvious parts of every piece of furniture the same level of attention for finishing. And that means surfacing too, whether you scrape or sand prior to putting on the finish.
There’s something about a gracefully aged antique that catches your eye. Then again, maybe it only looks like an antique. Learn how to add decades of character in just a few hours.
If you’re like me and are willing to apply a bit of elbow grease and common sense, it’s possible to turn a new piece of furniture you’ve recently made, or perhaps one you recently purchased, into a faux antique. As long as you’re honest and fess up to the fact, there’s nothing wrong or unscrupulous about it. Come along with me as I add years of patina to a rocking chair I recently came across. Using the techniques I’ll share with you, you’ll be able to give any piece that “aged graceful” look. It’s easier than you’d think.