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  • Writer's pictureEmily

Finishing touch: exploring wood finishes

Applying varnish with paint brush

In this informative blog post, we'll explore an extensive list of various finishes, each offering unique characteristics for wood pieces. Read on to make more informed choices for finishes for your pieces, and uncover the art of enhancing wood aesthetics. 

1. Water-based varnish: 

- Dries quickly and provides a clean, durable finish. 

- Won’t cause yellowing of wood over time. 

- Less durable than poly varnish. 

2. Polyurethane varnish: 

- Extremely durable and resistant to water, chemicals, and abrasion. 

- Suitable for high-traffic areas like tabletops. 

- Takes four weeks to fully cure; may cause yellowing of wood over time. 

- Oil-based; not an environmentally-friendly option due to high VOCs. 

3. Tung, linseed, and Danish oil: 

- Penetrates and nourishes wood, enhancing its natural appearance. 

- Provides a warm, natural finish. 

- Not as durable as varnish; needs reapplying at least every 12 months. 

4. Beeswax: 

- Natural finish for the environmentally-conscious. 

- Adds a soft, warm sheen and enhances wood colour. 

- Not as durable as varnish; needs reapplying at least every 12 months. 

5. Shellac: 

- Enhances natural beauty and grain of wood, providing a warm finish. 

- Not as durable: more prone to scratches and wear, not water resistant. 

6. Lacquer: 

- Fast-drying and forms a hard, durable finish (but less resistant to chemicals and heat). 

- Often used in fine furniture and cabinetry. 

I can provide any requested finish on your next commission piece. Please note there may be circumstances where I advise against your requested finish (for example, some wood species don’t take certain finishes well, so I may recommend a more suitable finish for your piece). 

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