Finishing Wooden Furniture

Finishing Wooden FurnitureWell hey again everyone. I’m back with the second bit about making your own furniture from real wood without paying a lot of money to get the job done. Previously I talked about sourcing affordable wood at mills or other places where large quantities of raw wood can be obtained cheaply. Now, I want to tell you about cutting and finishing the wood to get a final product you can actually use. It might seem like a daunting job, but with the right tools and a decent stain and sealant it’s possible to make some fine wooden furniture for a fraction of the retail cost.

Because I’ve covered acquisition and initial work in another post, I’m going to focus exclusively on the finer, finishing work this time. Anyone who has worked extensively with wood in the past, even at a middle school level, will understand this finishing work refers mostly to sanding. To get the best smooth surface possible while pulling away the smallest amount of wood in the finishing process, it’s actually vital to sand multiple times, with sandpaper which becomes steadily finer with each sanding. This will undoubtedly sound like a waste of time to some craftsmen, but I assure you it is not.

This is good and bad. It’s good because you can use any sanding device to do the hard work for you and simply change sanding discs, pads or surfaces out as needed to do whatever project needs doing. It’s bad because you need to have multiple grades of sandpaper available, or get multiple sanding discs in different grades if you don’t have a machine which will load plain sandpaper. You can see all kinds of different sanders and their available options at if you need a visual aid to go with the written explanation here.

While many people think the sanding process is simply to make wood smooth and less likely to give slivers to people who touch it, that’s just one of the reasons wood furniture and other objects need to be sanded. Another reason is that level, even surfaces allow wood primer, stain and sealant to leach into wood more deeply, which in turn creates better seals and longer lasting stains. To waste time doing this fine work on rough wood would just be silly, and leaving these steps out of the finishing process is simply stupid since water in wood tends to create rot if left unchecked.

This could be an annoyance, like in the case of a wooden chair which crumbles under the mass of the occupant. But it could also be very dangerous, like if a porch, deck or patio were made from wood planks and full of people, maybe some animals, maybe some cooking implements like a grill when it decided to cave. Now that I’ve outlined the steps to finishing wooden furniture and explained why each is important, I think I’ve actually given you all some good information. Keep it in mind if you find yourself working with wood in the future – and don’t be afraid to share your experiences with the rest of us.

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