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Posted on Any tips for finishing this walnut/maple project?

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#1 posted 10-03-2020 08:12 PM

I went through my share of experimenting with finishes. And here is my own conclusion which might differ from yours.

Shellac French Polish: It looks far better than any other finish but require a lot of efforts and time, Very difficult to put correctly on anything but flat surfaces. The worst of all – it is very weak and easily spoiled by almost anything for example by the rubber feet of table lamp.

Sprayed shellac – looks as good as any other finish, very forgivable but is subject to easy water damage and wear out relatively easily. Good on anything but table tops.

Oil based wipe on: Very good reviews and good results by almost everyone but me. I just never could make the perfect last layer. I tried almost anything but the surface still does not look completely uniform. Also requires a week of wiping on and several weeks to cure.

Oil based polyurethane, sprayed. Excellent finish if you do not mind amber tint ( same for other oil based finishes). But your shop after using it is trashed. Unlike other spray finishes the overspray does not dry before hitting other things and you will have very hard time cleaning everything around from the sticky residue.

Oil based polyurethane brushed on. Looks as good as sprayed when applied a professional with a lot of experience. I personally would get brush marks.

Water based polyurethane, sprayed. Easy to work with and very good results, somehow different look from oil based, but does not add amber tint. The finish is very durable, same as oil based polyurethane. But once you have a damage it is difficult to fix.

Water based brushed on. Forget it, very difficult to get it right.

Lacquer sprayed. I was postponing using it for a long time. But I finally tried spraying on the few last pieces of furniture I made and I can tell you it is far the best finish of them all. Looks very good. Depending on the brand does not add amber tint. Easy to work with, very fast drying and your product is ready in hours. Unlike polyurethane can be easily enhanced by polishing. The only negative I see it scratches easier (which is relatively easy to fix) than polyurethane and not very environment friendly.

Lacquer brushed on: I even have not tried it after my failed attempts with other brushed on finishes.


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