Here are my 7 ways to get better at finishing. Wood finishing is an art. It is also an easy art at the beginning phases. If you want to get better at wood finishing, spend the time practicing and you will improve.
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The time you invest working on your finishing abilities will be returned a hundred times over by the looks you can create on your pieces. As a beginner, working this time into your process will make a big difference.
Read over the following ways to get better at wood finishing and apply them in the shop. Each will help you become a better finisher, and all of them are valuable. I learned quite a bit from reading. I also learned by finishing my scraps before throwing them out.
7 Ways to Get Better at Wood Finishing:
- Read a good book that fully explains finishing.
- Watch Videos on finishing online.
- Apply finish to scraps before throwing them away.
- Test out all new finishes before using them on a project.
- Make sure the top layer is dry before applying another.
- Store your finish correctly so it lasts longer.
- There is not one right way to finish wood.
I love books. To get better at wood finishing, I read several. There was one stand out among the group, and I talk about it at length here. A book does a great job of giving you all the information you need in a logical manner. You can read the information, and take it into the shop immediately. Get a book that has been around for a while, and that has a good reputation.
Another way to get better at wood finishing is to watch videos online. YouTube is loaded with people that want to share their secrets. I have several dozen videos posted myself. For finishing, my videos on Tru-Oil, Danish Oil, and Arm-R-Seal can get you off to a good start.
Practice makes perfect, and I finished the majority of my scraps before throwing them away for a long time. The scraps were of all different species, so I quickly learned how each finish looked on several different wood types. This also gave me practice finishing odd shapes and sizes, and I got better and better without spending a dime on wood.
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If you want to get better at wood finishing, have patience. Allow the first layer to dry well before applying another layer of finish. If you apply a new layer too fast, it will make the under layer gummy, and it can take a long time to dry. In some cases, it will never dry. If that happens, you will be stuck with a poor finish, all because you were not patient.
Storing Finishes is something that I have spoke about before. If you want a great looking finish, you need to use fresh product. Storing product away from extreme heat and cold will help keep it as fresh as possible. This will also ensure that the finish you use will dry properly, and that a spoiled bottle won’t ruin all your efforts.
To get better at finishing, try out several methods until you find one that is right for you. There are many ways to lay down a great finish.
There is no right way to finish wood that has to be followed exactly. As you read books and watch videos, you will see several ways to apply the same finish. You will also notice that finishing schedules are different, and everyone has their own opinion. This is a good thing. Anyone who tells you that you need a certain number of coats, or you need to apply something in a very precise way, otherwise it will be wrong, is not someone that you should be listening to.
Watch your videos, read your books, and apply the finishing styles you like the most to your practice sessions. You will get better at wood finishing by applying these ideas and finding what you like among them to make your own. If you enjoy the process, you will perform it better. Find what you like, and make that your method.
For more about wood finishing, my 10 Step Guide to Wood Finishing is great. This is a free PDF that you can download and read at your leisure. It details the proven steps to creating a great finish, and doesn’t require any fancy equipment.
If you have any questions on my 7 ways to get better at finishing, please leave a comment and I will be glad to answer them. Happy building.
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