Finishes and Finishing

Don't be intimidated by the finishing process. We'll guide you to the right finish for your project—polyurethane, lacquer, shellac, and more—and show you how to get picture-perfect, repeatable results.

Most Recent

Oil vs. Film, Choose Your Finish
When it's time to apply a knockout finish, there are a lot of contenders. Some can take a punch; some bounce back fast. Here's how to choose the one that's a fair match for your project.
Finishing Brush Tips
Still handy after all these years
Show Off Figure with Dye
Quilted maple and other figured woods gain depth as well as brilliant color when you choose this type of stain. Here's everything you need to know for success.
Pressure-treated lumber: to finish or not to finish?
I’m building some outdoor projects out of pressure-treated lumber and am wondering what finish, if any, I should use?
What's the best way to fill in nicks?
My projects sometimes have nicks that need to be filled. I’ve heard a little bit about a burnin technique. How difficult is that skill to learn?
How can you eliminate brush marks when finishing?
When applying gloss polyurethane varnish to my latest project, I wound up with brush marks. What should I have done differently?
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More Finishes and Finishing

Why do flat finishes need thorough stirring?
I got to the bottom of a can of satin finish and found a thick layer of sediment, which apparently means I neglected to stir it enough. Does it also mean the finish I applied will fail?
Avoiding dust Nibs
A clean space and fast finishes defeat these nasty nuisances.

What's the best stain under a water-based topcoat?

Will I have problems if I apply a water-based topcoat over an oil-based stain? How about an oilbased finish over water-based stain?