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Understanding Wood Finishing

Updated: Dec 12, 2023


Mike Ziegler


This video was made in partnership with Klingspor Woodworking Shop


This is the follow up video on finishes with the first being Almost to the Finish Line. Here, Mike teaches us about how rewarding building custom pieces can be when we do our homework first. Many of us like the creating and building aspect but we slam on the breaks when it comes to finishing. No, I’m not joking about how a lot of us tend to be in the 95% club and we need a push to finish projects – Ok, well now I kind of am – I’m talking about how a lot of woodworkers don’t like to stain, paint, or apply a finish to a project. We wrap up the building part and want to be done!



Walk along with us through this video so we can better prepare you for the finishing aspect. With this knowledge, maybe you can enjoy the finishing process just as much as the building process! Ok, lofty goal but hang with me.


Did you know that wax finishes don’t play nice with heat? This explains the white rings on coffee tables from hot coffee mugs! Mike goes into more detail in this video sharing with us the most widely used finish for production shops or pieces that need to be finished in a short amount of time. It dries super fast and allows you to do quick re-coats but there’s one caveat: it must be sprayed. Do you know what it is without watching the video?


A big take-home point here is to familiarize yourself with what is known as the Technical Data Sheet (TDS). Although a good bit of information exists on the back of the product, way more info is available to you through a TDS. Remember to check the manufacturer’s website for all the nitty gritty details on dry time, recoat time, coverage, etc. A little bit of research up front might just save you a lot of time in the long run.


Consider enrolling in TMCU for full access to all of the educational content and follow along with Mike and his restoration projects on Instagram for more tips and tricks on how to:


  • Select the best finish for the job

  • Get info from a Technical Data Sheet

  • Sand to the appropriate grit based on the selected finish

  • Choose between a penetrating finish and a surface finish based on your needs


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