Wood Finishing Videos

Finishing Tips and Techniques

finishing woodFor new woodworkers, and even some of the more seasoned ones, finishing their woodworking project can be agony. It certainly was for me for many, many years. It seemed no matter what can of varnish I purchased, the projects that I worked so hard to make them as perfect as I could, ended up looking like crap after the finishing was done. I always read the directions but never really had much success, in fact sometimes woodworking got very discouraging when I seemed to be able to predict that the end project would look like.

Then I met someone who began to give me some finishing tips and techniques. I started to realize that my impatience with the finishing step was part of my problem. I could make a furniture piece in a few days, then it would take a few more days just for the finishing. Waiting for anything to dry ... for me ... is pure agony, but as I started to see some real changes in my finished, I began to have much more patience.

He taught me a number of steps that I still use today, steps that help me not only in the build, but also in finishing. Here are the steps that I learned

#1 - Think about what you want your project to look like when it is done and what will it be used for. Knowing what I want my project to look like was a big step for me. Often I would pick a species of wood at random and build something with it, then think about what I was going finish it with.

Re-Finishing a Gun Stock

gun stock refinishingOwners of rifles know that taking firearms back and forth to the target range and just general handling can be hard on guns, particularly wooden stocks. If the gun is old, it could have been finished with varnish, which over years can crackle and chip depending on conditions. In this article we will discuss the different aspects of refinishing a wooden rifle stock to restore the firearm to something close to it's original beauty.
Before you refinish or even handle any firearm, it is up to you to ensure you are working safely for yourself and for those around you.

The first thing to consider when refinishing a rifle stock is - should this rifle even be refinished? Some rifles can dramatically lose their value when the original finish is removed and replaced. If you are planning to go ahead with the refinishing, you will need to remove all the hardware from the rifle.


Once the hardware is removed, the first step is to remove the existing finish. This can be done with sandpaper, but is best started off with some sort of a remover if possible. A good paint and varnish remover should get the stock down to either the natural wood, or at least to a stained wood. At this point you will likely have removed most of the nasty marks on the stock with exception of those that are deep into the wood. The next step is ....

Sliding Dovetails & Hexagon Column

sliding dovetailSliding dovetails are one of the unsung joints that are seldom used in woodworking, too bad because they are not nearly as intimidating as they may seem and they hold fast and give lots of area for glue to grab on to making an excellent, tight joint. 
In this video we are ultimately making a 3 legged pedestal table but in order to get to that point there are many steps and this is another one of those steps. We needed something to but the dovetail slots into so we needed to start off making a six sided or hexagon shaped column or post.

 

Using the correct technique on a table saw, a column like this can be cut accurately in a couple of minutes. The secret to cutting a hexagon column is to start off with a blank that is about twice as wide on one side as the other and length can be whatever you want. Set the angle of your table saw blade to 30 degrees (which conversely is 60 degrees off the table) and make your first cut, then flip the board upside down and make the second cut.

Dying Wood Versus Staining Wood

Almost every woodwork has used stain to change the color or wood at one time or another, but few of them have ever used "wood dye" to color wood, in fact, few woodworkers have even heard of wood dye so now is the opportunity to see the differences and understand the pros and cons of each. With this information we can then go about choosing which products to select for any given project.

Stain - Pretty much the standard of the woodworking industry, wood stains are primarily made from dirt. Yup, that's right dirt. Ground up and pulverized clays of various colors are the primary ingredient in stains. They are then often mixed with some sort of oil type base and a few other ingredients like driers and emulsifiers to give them specific paint-on and adherence features. Because stains are made from earthen material they are very color fast, in fact, that is why they are used on fences, the outsides of buildings and many other out-door applications, because they are so color fast. Basically if you can get a stain to adhere to a wood, and leave it in the sun, it will barely fade after years and years of exposure. What actually happens in most cases is the stain dries and slowly falls off after time because the oil base can no longer keep it adhered to the wood. The key with stains, is they are earthen and that when they are painted on, they are primarily coated on the surface of the wood. There is very little penetration of the stain into the wood, mostly the stain lays on top the wood. Because most stains are oil based, they don't raise the grain of the wood and all in all, for most projects they give a great finish.

So now you may be wondering, if stain is so good, why would anyone even bother with a wood dye? The answer of course is in what are the properties of wood dyes and why should a woodworker know about them and want to use them? Read on for the answers ....

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