How To Finish Wood Furniture? [Tips And Guidelines]

Finishing the wooden furniture can be a challenging task. The key to success in this process is to choose the right strategy and product. With that, it’s also essential to know how to finish wood furniture efficiently.

Finishing wood furniture is one of those projects that may seem daunting initially, but it is not as difficult as it may seem. In fact, with the right tools and techniques,  make the furniture look new in no time.

This blog post will show you the best way to finish wooden furniture and its types. So, if you are ready to tackle this project, read this article thoroughly to become a pro at it.

3 Methods Can Be Followed To Finish Wood Furniture: Easy To Apply

These are 3 effective methods you can use to apply the finish of your choice to wooden furniture.

1. Wiping Method

If you choose finishes such as shellac or varnish, this method is going to work best. You can also try it using oil as a finish. All you need is a clean rag that’s good for wiping. Use it to evenly spread the finishing product on the wood.

Later use another dry rag. Let it take away any excess product you used. Just go with a gentle wiping motion with the second rag and don’t apply too much force. Once you are done, simply toss the rag into the bin.

2. Brushing Method

The next method is using a brush for application. Now, this is a bit confusing compared to the wiping method. You’ll have to go through a complete cleanup regime beforehand. You’ll need to also sand the furniture if it’s required.

Then using a brush, thoroughly apply the coat of your choice. You must focus on buying some good quality brushes for this job. Otherwise, get ready to face some horrible brush marks. These are not eye-pleasing at all once dried off.

For a stain or paint, you can go for regular small brushes. However, if you want to apply clear coats, make sure the brush is dense. It needs to spread a thick layer of coat for providing a complete protective layer over the wood.

3. Spraying Method

This is probably the easiest and fastest way to apply stain, paint, or coatings. They are available in cans these days. You’ll just have to coat evenly without making any extra fuss.

Clean-up involving the method is also quite simple and easy. It’s one of the go-to ways of staining or finishing over furniture. However, you’ll have to learn to spray evenly on the wood surface. Otherwise, the results won’t be as beautiful as they should be. 

5 Types Of Wood Furniture Finishes: Choose The Suitable One

There are many different types of wood furniture finishes available on the market. The type of finish chosen will depend on the look you want to achieve and the level of protection needed. Here are some of the most popular finishes:

1. Wood Stain:

A stain is a pigmented liquid applied to wood to change its color. Stains can be applied to bare wood or over an existing finish. When choosing a stain, keep in mind that the color will deepen as the wood stain dries.

Wood stains are available in a variety of colors, from light to dark. Also, find stains tinted with pigment to give them more color. But it’s always best to test the stain on a small furniture area first to see how the wood stain will look after the drying.

To apply a wood stain, start by sanding the piece of furniture to remove any existing finishes. Once the surface is smooth, apply the stain with a clean rag or brush. Wipe off any excess stain and allow it to dry completely. After drying, apply a top coat to make the furniture more durable.

2. Varnish:

Varnish is a clear, hard finish applied to wood to protect it from damage. It is available in both water-based and oil-based formulas. Oil-based varnishes take longer to dry but provide a more durable finish.

Water-based varnishes are easier to apply and have less of an odor. But they don’t last as long as oil-based varnishes and can yellow over time.

Varnish gives the wood furniture UV protection. Before applying varnish, ensure to clean the piece of furniture first. After cleaning the furniture’s surface, use it with a fresh rag or brush. Wipe off any excess varnish and allow them to dry completely. Applying a topcoat is also recommended for increasing durability.

3. Oil Finish:

An oil finish is a thin layer of oil applied to wood to protect it. Oil finishes are available in both natural and synthetic formulas. Natural oil finishes, such as linseed oil, are made from plant-based materials. Polyurethane, for example, is a synthetic oil finish based on petroleum materials.

Oil finishes can be applied to bare wood or over an existing finish. Oil finishes can either be drying or non-drying. It is common for oil finishes to harden as they dry, such as linseed oil. As mineral oil dries, it will not harden.

Most commonly, oil finishes are applied with a clean rag or brush. When using a brush, apply the oil finish in the grain direction. But also find aerosolization that comes in a spray can. For spraying, hold the spray about 12 inches away from the surface of the wood and apply a thin, even layer. Wipe off any excess oil and allow the oil to dry completely.

4. Wax Finish:

A wax finish is a thin layer of wax applied to wood to protect it. Wax finishes can be applied to bare wood or over an existing finish. They are available in both natural and synthetic formulas. 

Liquid, stick, and solid wax are the three types of wax finishes. The easiest wax to apply is a liquid wax, but it lasts less than paste or solid wax. Paste and solid wax are the most difficult to apply, and it provides a longer-lasting finish. To use this finish, start by rubbing a small amount of wax onto the surface of the wood with a clean rag. 

Work in small sections and rub the wax in the grain direction. Once a thin, even layer of wax is applied, buff it to a shine with a clean, dry rag. Allow the polish to dry completely before using the furniture.

5. French-Polish:

French polish is a type of finish applied to wood with a rag. It is made from shellac, which is a resin secreted by the lac bug. French polish is available in both clear and amber finishes. 

To apply a French polish, start by rubbing a small amount of shellac onto the surface of the wood with a clean rag. Work in small sections and rub the shellac in the direction of the grain. Once applied a thin, even layer of shellac, buff french polish to a shine with a clean, dry rag, and allow the shellac to dry completely before using the furniture.

Reasons Why Should You Finish Wood Furniture:

When it comes to wood furniture, a lot of people think that the only reason to finish it is for appearance’s sake. But there are several reasons to finish wood furniture, regardless of its type or style. The following list provides some key reasons:

  • Protect The Wood From Damage:

One of the main reasons to finish wood furniture is to protect the wood from damage. Water, heat, and scratches can damage wood furniture over time. But a good finish will create a barrier that will help to protect the wood from these elements.

Besides, the finished wood furniture will be easier to clean. A good finish will create a smooth surface that is less likely to trap dirt and dust. And when it comes time to clean the furniture, wipe the furniture down with a damp cloth.

  • Make The Furniture Last Longer:

Another reason to finish wood furniture is to make it last longer. This means that the furniture will be able to withstand years of use without showing any signs of wear. A good finish will help protect the wood’s elements and wear and tear.

There are a few different ways that wood furniture can be finished. The most common method is to use a clear finish, such as varnish, lacquer, or shellac. Also, use a stain or paint to create a unique look for the furniture.

  • To Enhance The Beauty Of The Wood:

In addition to protecting the wood, a finish will also enhance its beauty. A clear finish will highlight the wood’s natural grain, while a stain or paint can give the furniture a unique look. 

Whether looking to protect the investment or simply enhance the home’s beauty, finishing wood furniture is a great way to do it. 

There are different types of finishes to choose from, and everyone can find one according to their needs. With a little effort, everyone can get a piece of beautiful and durable furniture that will last for the next few years.

9 Tips That Will Help You To Finish Wood Furniture Effectively

To finish wood furniture effectively, a few things should be kept in mind. If someone follows the below tips, they can get the best result from their wood furniture. The following tips will help to get the best results. So, let’s take a look at them:

Tips 1: Remove Old Finish And Sand The Surface

If the piece of furniture that is working on has an old finish, remove it before applying a new one. Now sand the surface of the wood with a fine-grit sandpaper. Then wipe the furniture down with a damp cloth to remove any dust.

One of the most important things to do is sand the surface of the wood furniture. This will help create a smooth surface for the finish to adhere to. Try to use fine-grit sandpaper for this purpose. 

In addition, before applying the finish, ensure the surface is clean. Otherwise, the finish will not adhere properly and will not last long. To clean the surface, utilize a damp cloth.

Tips 2: Choose The Right Finish

There are a variety of finishes. Among them, select the right one for your needs. Try a clear finish to protect wood furniture from damage. But if looking to enhance the beauty of the wood, utilize a stain or paint. Correctly applying the finish is equally important. Make sure that covering all of the surfaces evenly.

Tips 3: Applying The Finish

Once you have chosen the paint or the stain, apply the finish to the wood surface. Besides, use a brush or roller for this purpose. Don’t forget to cover all of the surfaces evenly. Use light pressure when rolling. Also, clean the surface before applying the finish. 

When applying the finish, ensure that it is in a well-ventilated area. This is because some finishes contain harmful chemicals. In addition, wear gloves and a mask to protect yourself from these chemicals. Once chosen the right finish, follow the instructions on the label. 

Tips 4: Apply a Coat of Sealant

After applying the finish, apply a coat of sealant. This will help to protect the finish and make the finish last longer. On the other hand, use a brush or a roller to apply the sealant. 

And employ light pressure not to damage the wood’s surface. There are a lot of products in the market that can help to choose the best one for your needs. Read the labels carefully before selecting a product. Apply the sealant in a well-ventilated area. And to protect yourself from the fumes, wear gloves and a mask. 

Tips 5: Using A Container For Holding Finish

I find mason jars very helpful here. You can use any glass container for this step. Simply pour the finish into it. You can easily load the brush with finish directly from the container. This saves a lot of time and effort. So, make sure to try this easy trick before starting the application.

The best container would be one with a lipped edge. These are perfect for draining brush or rag. You can easily get rid of the excess in no time. You don’t want to force the finish over the surface. It’s all about gradually layering it. So, you must use the right load each time with a brush or rag.

Tips 6: Start From The Center, Not Edge

There’s a very common myth among users that it’s easy to apply when starting from the edge. This is possibly the worst way to apply a finish. Because once you start from the edge, the chance of dripping increases significantly. Your brush will leave a deposit once it touches the wood surface. The same goes with a rag as well.

So, you should always go towards the edge starting away from it. Use the up and down smooth motion for application. Make sure you are delicate and very careful with strokes.

Usually, the most amount of finish resides around the center part of the wood. This way it is very easy to brush or wipe the excess amount towards the edges. So, at all times, start from the center of the wood furniture’s surface.

Tips 7: Work In Enough Lighting

Woods are not easy to notice if there’s a spot remaining untouched. So, it’s a good idea to work under reflective light situations. There will be a glare working on the wood surface of your furniture.

This will help you to find a missed point very quickly. Also, this way is better for finding runs in applications. Ambient light is not enough for wood furniture finishing.

Tips 8: Stop Applying Again & Again

This thing is probably hard for people who have a perfectionist persona. However, even if it’s hard, make sure to follow it, this pays back. Don’t try to go back over your application. There’s no need to brush continuously back and forth.

Once you see the finish is spread over wood evenly, stop there. Leave it that way until it dries off. Those who tend to go over previously applied portions will hardly get an even application. It ruins the previous smoothness too.

Tips 9: Let The Finish Dry

Once applied, a coat of sealant, then let the finish dry. This process can take several hours or even days, depending on the finish type used. So, read the instructions on the label carefully. After the finish is dry,  apply a second coat if necessary. But don’t need to use more than two coats.

Things To Consider When Finishing A Wood Furniture

Some things need to be considered when finishing wood furniture. To get good output, keep these things in mind. So let’s find out what to know when finishing wood furniture:

  • Type Of Finish

Before starting, decide which type of finish you want to use. There are a lot of products in the market that can help finish wood furniture. Choose a suitable product for the kind of woodworking. 

Each type of finish has its advantages and disadvantages. So, select the one that best suits your needs. For example, use a clear finish or a stain. To protect the wood,  use a clear finish. But if looking to enhance the beauty of the wood, then use a stain.

  • Surface Preparation

Another vital thing to consider is surface preparation. Make sure that the surface is clean before starting to finish. If there are any dirt or dust particles on the surface, they can spoil the output. So, utilize a brush or a roller to apply the finish. And cover all surfaces evenly. If missing any area, it will be visible in the output.

  • Ventilation

When finishing wood furniture, ensure that doing it in a well-ventilated area. All of the finishes contain harmful chemicals, so wear safety kits. In addition,  wear gloves and a mask to protect yourself from these chemicals. Otherwise, inhale the fumes, which can be dangerous for everyone’s health. So be sure to ventilate the area properly before starting.

  • Color

When finishing wood furniture, also consider the color. Choose from various options like light, dark, or natural colors. And select the one that suits your needs. To enhance the wood’s beauty, use an opaque finish. 

Related Questions:

What Is The Best Finish For Wooden Furniture?

There are a lot of products in the market to choose the best one to finish wood furniture. But the best finish for wooden furniture is Lacquer. Lacquer finish dries quickly, and it doesn’t require any special skills. However, it is a clear finish to protect the wood or enhance its beauty. And to get the best result try the budget-friendly Rust-Oleum 1906830 Lacquer Spray

What Is The Easiest Way To Finish Wood Furniture?

If looking for an easy and quick way to finish wood furniture, always go for oil-based polyurethane like Minwax Fast-Drying Polyurethane Protective Wood Finish. Moreover, it is straightforward to apply. You just need to use a brush or a roller to apply it. In addition, you don’t need any special skills to apply. And oil-based finish dries quickly. 

What Is The Most Durable Finish For Wood Furniture?

There are a lot of finishes found in the market. Among them, the most durable finish for wood furniture is Varnish. It provides a high level of protection against scratches and other damages. Besides, Varnish doesn’t require special skills, so beginners can try it. To get longer durability, use 1 qt Minwax 63333 Clear Polycrylic Water-Based Protective Finish Satin

How Long Does It Take To Finish Wood Furniture?

It depends on the product used. It will take about 24 hours to dry if using Lacquer. But if using Varnish, it will take about 48 hours to dry.

Therefore some finishings take longer than others to apply. Before using the finish, always read the labels carefully. Also, follow the instructions properly to get the best results.

Final Thoughts:

As you can see above, finishing wood furniture is not difficult at all. But you need to be careful while doing it. No matter what products you use, always protect yourself from harmful chemicals. However, I hope my article on how to finish wood furniture will be a helpful guide. 

Recent Posts