How to Apply Finish on Wooden Furniture: 7 Steps You Can Do Yourself

June 23, 2022

finishing wood furniture

The gleam of wood in any well-furnished room will always capture people’s attention. Nothing else says timeless than your classy furniture pieces dressed in their dazzling glory.

If you also want to achieve this eye-catching shine, you need to polish your furniture with a brilliant finish.

Finishing is usually the final step to wooden furniture creation that gives you two benefits: enhancing the appearance of the piece and protecting the wood beneath. It involves using a chemical coating to shield the wood from damage and to give it that sleek, glazed look.

The result is wonderful, but finishing wooden furniture can be a daunting task. With the right knowledge and supplies, though, it can be a rather easy process.

If you want to learn how to finish your wooden furniture at home, you’ve come to the right place.


1. Choose the right finish.

The first step is to choose a finish. There are a variety of finishes that can be used on wood furniture, including lacquer, varnish, shellac, and polyurethane. Some finishes are better for protecting the wood from moisture, while others are better for enhancing the appearance of the wood. The type of finish you choose will depend on the look you are trying to achieve and the type of wood you are using. Different woods require different finishes to protect them and bring out their natural beauty. Different finishes will also give your furniture different looks and levels of protection. Each one has its own set of instructions, so it is important to read them carefully before deciding. Compare various finishes to discover their benefits and drawbacks. Choose the one that is best suited for your project and will produce your desired results.

 

2. Take off the old finish, if there’s any.

In order to apply a fresh layer of finish, you must first remove traces of your furniture’s previous polishes or sealants. You can do this painstakingly with a sandpaper, but it would take a long time and isn’t a guarantee that everything will be scraped off. The best and fastest way to go about it is by using a stripping agent instead. This chemical sloughs off the old finish from your furniture, so you can work with a blank canvas. Nevertheless, when handling a substance such as a stripping agent, be sure to follow the instructions carefully and wear appropriate safety gear such as gloves and a mask.

 

3. Fill in the holes.

If there are any cracks or holes in the wood, you will need to fix them before applying the finish of your choice. You can stuff wood filler inside scratches and dents to close up the gaps. You can pick from putty, epoxy, or liquid fillers depending on your needs. When choosing a filler, the main thing you need to consider is the color of the wood. If the filler is not a close match to the wood’s shade, it will be visible once it dries. Thankfully, wood fillers come in a variety of colors so you can find one that matches your furniture. Even if there isn’t one available with the same color as your wooden piece, the patches wouldn’t be that recognizable after a coat of finish.

 

4. Sand the surface.

Sanding is necessary to remove any imperfections on the surface of the wood. It evens out any rough patches and removes remnants of existing finish or sealer, creating a smooth surface for applying the new finish. You must sand the entire surface of the furniture using a medium to fine grit sandpaper. Pay particular attention to areas that are rough or splintery and only sand in the direction of the wood grain. A sanded, smooth surface is ideal for the application of finish.

 

5. Clean all remaining dust and dirt.

Once the surface is smooth, wipe it down with a tack cloth or brush all the dust to remove any remaining debris. You must also clean the surface with a cleaner or degreaser. This will remove any dirt or oil that may prevent the finish from adhering properly.

 

6. Apply the finish on the furniture.

When you’ve purchased your preferred finish, make sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Each product has its own specific application instructions that must be followed in order to achieve the desired results. Some finishes can be applied with a brush or a rag, while others require spraying. Always test the finish on a small block of wood before coating it over the actual piece. A good finish gives the wood a nice color and shine while enhancing the natural features of the wood grain. When you’re satisfied with the result, apply the finish evenly on your furniture one layer at a time. Allow each layer to dry completely before applying the next one. After you’ve polished the entire surface with multiple coats of finish, leave the furniture to dry for at least 24 hours.

 

7. Coat the piece with sealer.

Once the finish is dry, brush the furniture with a clear topcoat of sealer for extra protection. Sealing is optional, but it will protect the finish from scratches and water damage. This is specially recommended for kitchen and dining furniture that’s constantly exposed to heat and moisture. The sealer serves as a cover for your wooden pieces in case of abrasions and spills.



With these steps, you’ll be able to add a glow and elegance to your wooden pieces. Applying finish to your new furniture will give it a lasting appeal and finishing old ones will make them looking brand new.

Nonetheless, if you want polished furniture without the hassle of coating it with finish yourself, you can choose a piece handcrafted and finished by professional builders. You can check our collections and pick the furniture you need. We have different finishes available to match your aesthetic. All you have to do is wait as our skilled artisans apply your desired finish and deliver your shiny, new furniture to your door.


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