Easy Wood Finishes for Beginners

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One of the biggest hurtles to woodworking is wood finishing. Thankfully, there are some easy wood finishes for beginners. Hand applied finishes have been used for centuries. These create a warm glow on your work, and leave it well protected. They are also very easy to apply.

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Easy Hand Applied Finishes

easy wood finishesHand applied finishes are still one of the most commonly available finishes. They require no additional equipment, and can be applied with a clean cloth.

Repairing the finish is easy in most cases, as a fresh coating can restore the look.

Some of these easy wood finishes include Linseed Oil, Tru-Oil, Danish Oil, Arm-R-Seal, and Shellac. Each of these have their own properties, but they all apply easily. Also, these products are not expensive.

For as little as $10 in some cases, you can have a bottle that will last a long time on smaller projects. They also work well on larger projects too.

easy wood finishesApplying the finish is as easy as dipping a clean cloth into the finish, and then rubbing it on the surface. Easy wood finishes go on quickly, and they enrich the look of the wood.

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The biggest secret to applying easy hand applied finishes is to use thin coats. There is a temptation to hose the piece with finish in the beginning. Avoid this at all costs.

When you apply a finish, the thinner the coats the better the piece will look. Thin coats dry faster, lay down smoother, and leave the surface looking well coated. Thick coats will do the opposite of that.

All you need to do is wipe the finish in a small area, and keep wiping until it looks like you have wiped it all into the wood. At this point, you dab the rag into the finish again, and then spread more on the surface. Work in sections, and stop when you finish the entire surface.

easy wood finishesI wrote an entire PDF about how to use hand applied finishes, which you can download for free and save on your computer. The document covers everything, and you can pick up the process quickly with a little practice.

It’s called the 10 Step Guide to Wood Finishing, and it’s one of my most popular downloads.

How you finish a piece will have a huge effect on the final look. A well made piece can be enhanced with a great finish. It can also be made to look worse. The scary thing about finishes is that they all seem different. This is not true.

Easy wood finishes like those mentioned above make the job much simpler. The application methods are similar, and the results are great looking.

easy wood finishesI use easy hand applied finishes for just about everything I make. On occasion I also like to use lacquer from a spray can. While this does spray on the piece, it still does not require any additional equipment.

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I recommend that you buy a few hand applied finishes and work with them. For the first time finisher, you cannot go wrong with Tru-Oil.

Nearly all of the acoustic and electric guitars that I have made over the years have been finished with Tru-Oil. This is one of the easiest finishes to work with, and it’s not expensive. A small bottle will last a long time, and it will make an expert finisher out of you quickly.

I love Tru-Oil so much that I wrote an article on how to apply it. My Finishing with Tru-Oil article will give you step by step instructions for using the product. Find some smaller pieces of wood, and a few bigger pieces. Then, practice applying it.

After a few boards and a little time, you will be able to confidently apply a great finish.

After you get comfortable with Tru-Oil, then try out Arm-R-Seal. This is a wiping varnish, which is essentially a really thin varnish that you can wipe on. It takes a little longer to dry, but it lays down really well. The finish looks great, and you can pick it up quickly.

Invest in your finishing ability. It will make you a better woodworker.

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If you have any questions about Easy Wood Finishes for Beginners, please leave a comment and I will be glad to answer them. Also, please share my work with your friends on Pinterest! Happy building.

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  • More than 20 Years Woodworking Experience
  • 7 Woodworking Books Available on Amazon
  • Over 1 Million Words Published About Woodworking
  • Bachelor of Arts Degree from Arizona State University
Buy My Books on Amazon

I receive Commissions for Purchases Made Through the Links in This Post.

 

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Satin Finish Look With Tru Oil
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Tru-Oil question
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Lacquer Drying Time?
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Thinner for Tru-Oil?
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