How to Finish Wood Furniture with The Right Choice of Coat

How to Finish Wood FurnitureWith so many wood stains available, giving a perfect finish is all about your application and invested time. There are many reasons for you to think about applying finish to your wooden furniture.

However, most of the folks decide to do so because it increases furniture’s longevity. They want their beautiful and priced furniture to stay in a good position for a long time.

Let’s discuss how to finish wood furniture using some common tricks. Let’s go for it.

How to Finish Your Wooden Furniture: Choosing Finish to Application Tricks

There are two types of finish available to choose from. Some people prefer to show the wooden skin of their furniture. So, to keep the grain visible, they utilize clear finishes. These are great in longevity. You may have to touch up every year. One good example is polyurethane.

However, if you choose to use stain, then also a coat of clear finish is necessary. The clear finish comes in three variants. Glossy, semi-gloss and satin sheens. The choice is on your own preferences.

The gloss level will surely have an impact on durability as well as aesthetics. Here’s some method on applying finish and make your wooden furniture come alive.

Three Methods to Choose From

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

Wiping Method

If you choose finishes such as shellac or varnish then this method is going to work best. You can also try it for 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 wood.

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

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. It’s important that you 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 definitely go for regular small brushes. However, if you want to apply cleat 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.

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 end results won’t be as beautiful as it should be. This is one of the best ways to apply finish for wood kitchen table.

Preparation for Application

  • Start with preparing up for the finish application. Wear proper gloves to protect your hands from paint or coat chemicals.
  • Also, since finishes put off fumes, you need to protect your lungs while using these. A mask or respirator can be an ideal thing to use here.

Using A Container for Holding Finish

I find mason jar very helpful here. You can use any glass container for this step.

Simply pour the finish in it. You can easily load the brush with finish directly from 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 absolutely 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 surface. It’s all about gradually layering it. So, it’s important you use the right load each time with a brush or rag.

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

Stop Applying Again & Again

This thing is probably hard for people who have a perfectionism persona. However, even if it’s hard, make sure to follow it, this really 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. In fact, it ruins the pervious smoothness too.

Work in Enough Lighting

Woods are not easy to notice if there’s 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 quick.

Also, this way is better for finding runs in application. Ambient light is not enough for wood furniture finishing.

Different Finishes for Wooden Furniture

There are different finishes that you can use for your wooden furniture. But exactly which one is going to give you the finest results. Here are some noteworthy points for deciding on a suitable wood finish.

  • If you want to try the easiest finish with less maintenance and repairing, then go for oils. Tung and linseed oils are a great choice here. These are easy to apply. It enhances the natural wood grain and provides moderate protection.
  • For those who need a quicker cure can use Danish oil. Its better at satin and abrasion protection. It’s the finest choice for kitchen worktops.
  • Those who need a safer option with children in the house can try water-based varnish for finish. These are safe with no solvent fumes. In the market, it is more popularly known as Lacquer. You need to re-sand the surface before application.
  • To enhance the wooden surface’s sheen look, wax finishes are a great option. These are great at giving the antique type of look to furniture. It maintains the natural appearance while adding a delicate shine. This can be controlled with the buffing method.
  • For wooden surfaces and floors, you need a hard-wearing finish like hard wax oils. These are extremely durable and stabilizes the surface. It only needs regular buffing for maintenance.
  • For low odor and toxicity, one can choose a water-based polyurethane that provides clear coverage over the wooden surface. The options differ from satin to glossy looks. This finish is best for desks, side tables, bookcases, and picture frames.
  • Wooden furniture that is used roughly in regular life needs the oil-based polyurethane rather than a water-based one. These are great at longevity along with adding a slight color tone. Also, these are hard to cure and takes a longer time to apply.


The method on how to finish wood furniture isn’t actually really hard. However only when you know the right tricks and formula of application. Also, you need to have a better idea about what finish you’re using.

Being aware of these little things and following the application process carefully is what you need to consider overall. Depending on what wooden furniture you are finishing, choose the right type of coat to apply. Then simply go for any suitable method of application from above. You’ll have a beautiful result by the end hopefully. Good Luck!

About Sam Maxi

Hi, this is Sam Maxi. I love talking about woodwork tools and my reviews are mostly based on the experience I have from my work. Apart from reviewing, I am a huge fan of surfing. Also, I love watching horror genre movies.

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