Uses and Characteristics of Wood Finishes
Like many materials, wood can be damaged by natural elements. Sunlight, water, stains and even dust take their toll on furniture and structures made of wood.
So how do you protect your precious antique wooden table or your favorite wooden chest? An inexpensive method is to apply wood finishing to the surface of the wooden item.
Wood finishing is the procedure of protecting and enhancing a wooden item’s surface. To start the process, the surface must be prepared by sanding or scraping. Imperfections such as nail holes and rough surfaces are removed by applying wood putty and sanding. It is also during this when staining, bleaching and ammonia fuming can be applied to alter the color of the wood if so desired.
Oil Based Finish
Once the surface of the wood is prepared or stained, wood finishes can then be applied. The most common wood finishes are wax, shellac, linseed or tung oil, lacquer, varnish or paint. There are also special wood finishes such as Danish oil. This is a thin varnish with a high oil and solvent content.
Each kind of wood finish has its own characteristics and has its own unique effects. For example, nitrocellulose lacquer can produce a transparent, glossy shine. It offers good protection and the coat is durable. When necessary, this can be removed by applying lacquer thinner.
On the other hand, alkalyd varnish produces a nice yellow or orange tint for a warmer color. It has good protection and is quite durable. This kind of wood finish can be removed by certain paint thinners.
Water Based Finish
Finishing wood with water base finishes has come a long way in the last ten years. The advantages are mainly easy clean up and much less harmful odors. Water base finishes won’t yellow like an oil based varnish so that’s something you will have to decide if that is desirable or not.
Wood finishes can be applied to the surface in a variety of ways. Most can be applied by just wiping it to the surface with a piece of cloth. However, some should be applied using a brush or a sprayer to achieve the intended result. There are even wood finishes which require French polishing for application. This method involves putting a lot of layers of shellac or similar other finish with a proper rubbing pad. This technique will give the wood a nice shiny finish.
No matter what kind of wood finish you might be using, remember that these substances are toxic. Wear protective gear such as goggles, gloves and dust mask when finishing. Wood finishes can definitely add life to your beloved wooden items while protecting them from natural elements.