Category Archives: Finishing

Happy Halloween

Hey Everyone,

By the time most of you read this it probably won’t be Halloween but still here it goes. This Halloween there was an interesting contest on Lumberjocks, make your own Halloween decoration for the chance to win a 50 dollar Lee Valley gift card. Since i recently just lost my wallet with my 50 dollar Lee Valley gift card in it i figured this was the perfect chance to get it back. So this is what i came up with.

I made a pumpkin out of paduak. This is my first time trying segmented turnings and i think that it came out pretty good. The hardest part was sanding in the eyes, nose, and mouth but overall i found it pretty easy and really fun. the finish is Arm-R-Seal and it looks a bit better in real life. its a bit more orange in real life. So i hope that everyone likes it and wish me luck on the contest!


Coloring in sap wood

In todays world where sap wood is no longer viewed as a defect in most woods it is something you will have to deal with sooner or later. so it is a really good to know how to color it in. it will also help you to be able to tie together the colors of boards and since it is stained it will keep a constant color instead of aging. its just a really good skill to have that you will use a lot.

spraying dye

so the first thing that you want to do is spray the pieces. in this case i used two coats of a general finishes light brown waterbased dye. you don’t have to do this if you feel that you can color in the sapwood to the natural wood but if not this helps a lot. then just with your fluid nozzle and fan width turned down spray some dye onto the sap wood until it just about matches the heart wood. this is to create an even background for the gel stain to accent off of.

next its time for the stain. for coloring in sapwood you want to use a gel stain or a water based stain. these stains are made to stay on top and not soak in so they will accent off of the equalized backround. a regular oil based stain or dye will not work as well because it will soak in and color the

using gel stain

using gel stain

wood instead of accenting off of it. in this case i am using an oil based so it won’t redissolve the dye. if you are using a water based stain you want to spray a 1/2lb or 1lb cut of shellac on the surface wiping it over with 600 grit sand paper to create a mechanical tooth for the water based stain to grab on to. make sure to stay away from edges as you will cut through your finish.

so then just put on a bout 3-4 coats of gel stain and stand back and enjoy your finish, and no one will ever know that there ever was any sapwood in your piece.

Polyurethane finishing

Polyurethane Finish


Polyurethane is proberly one of the most used finishes in woodworking. I’m sure we all love it for its rich look and glass like finish, but do we know how to apply it properly. Nothing brings out the natural beauty of the grain like an oil based finish.

        First of all before I bring you from start to finish there are some precautions. We using polyurethane varnishes , make sure you are in a well ventilated area. If this is not possible open a nearby window for sufficient air flow. If you are not near any windows wear a good quality dust mask with organic cartridge.

        The room that you will be varnishing in MUST BE as dust free as possible. Try to have a separate room for finishing (garage/shed. Finishing in a room full of dust is bound to unsettle the dust and it will settle all over your piece while you let it dry as most polyurethanes take 12 hours to fully dry.


You can get a glass like poly finish by following these 3 stages:


Stage one: ‘Sealing the surface with polyurethane’ to do this we dilute the oil based polyurethane to the following mixture


1part mineral spirit / 2 parts poly


Gently stir these contents to advoid bubbles in your finish. With a good quality brush, lint free cloth or sponge applicator spread in long even strokes.



If you want to stain the piece sand the piece with 220grit sand paper and clean using mineral spirits and a rag (Do this before you apply the dilute the grain).


Step two: after leaving the diluted coat to dry for 12hrs or so. Then apply an undiluted coat in even layers and let to dry for 24hrs.

    Before the final coat sand down bubbles or dust specks, etc. Remove these by using a 400grit sand paper and then clean surface with mineral spirits.


Step three: ‘final coat’ Brush on the final coat within 48hrs of the second coat. Use the same care with this coat as you did with the rest. Now sit back relax and enjoy the mirror finish.

Please leave your comments and views!!

Remember you can add as many coats of poly as you want this article is just the basic 3 coats