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Thread: Finishing

  1. #1


    So I am almost done with my first "nice" furniture piece. It is a sofa table built for my best friend's mom. I hope to have it done for Sunday. I should have it fully assembled and ready for finishing tomorrow.

    The only finishing I've done to date was with a set of shelves I made (that were awful rough) and all I did was two coats of a stain. I was pretty disappointed with it.

    My plan once everything is assembled and shaped is to do a round of sanding at 60, 120, and 200... then I am not sure.

    I need to stain it- bought stain already. Oh, the wood is just white pine.

    I would like it to have that glossy smooth look so I am assuming I stain and then put lacquer of some kind??? I don't know if staining should go in coats or anything.


  2. #2
    220 grit is what I typically end with when prepping for stain. As for layerng up the stain. That all depends if your happy with one coat or not. Everytime you add a layer of stain, it darkens the wood.

    To get that high gloss smooth finish you can use a High gloss enamel. Don't put in on thick and sand between coats with a minimum of 220 or higher, (Not fine steel wool). If you are able to lay it down smooth 320 between layers. The more layers you do with the clear the better it will look. After the last coat, I will grab a 400, 600, and 1,000 grit paper and sand working my way up to the finer paper. 1,000 grit I use is wet/dry because I found by wetting it seems to give me a better finish.
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  3. #3
    Do I need to let the stain dry between coats?

    Any suggestions on how to make sure it isn't streaky or blotchy? I start tomorrow and am nervous!

  4. #4
    Yes, let each coat dry.

    To help with the blotching and streaking, condition the wood with wood conditioner before you apply the stain.

    Don't be nervous, I am sure you will do fine!
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  5. #5

    Okay so it took me quite a while to actually start the staining. I did a coat about a week ago, then did the second coat the day before yesterday. It looked fantastic. Today was to be clear coat day.

    Instructions on clear coat said to prep the stain with 220. I didn't have any handy- but I had some 400 and figured higher would be better. It WRECKED the look of the top. Here are links to pictures.

    You can see the effect the 400 had in image 444444444444444444448 (maybe not that many 4s) particularly well.

    I am kind of panicking as I had hoped to do 2 or 3 coats of clear today and be done- then deliver the table this weekend.

    Please advise!


  6. #6
    Sorry about your project. I personally never heard of sanding the stain for the clear coat. You are suppose to sand between each clear coat to keep the layers of clear smooth.

    Have you tried to restain the table to see if it blends the sanded areas?

    If that doesn't work, you may have to remove the stain from the table top and pretty much start from scratch.
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  7. #7
    Thanks Gen.

    I did a bit of stain pause wipe off hoping it would darken the newly lightened spots without darkening the already dark spots... It seemed to work okay- certainly not as nice as it would have been if I hadn't messed up but at least it wasn't wrecked.

    I had some trouble with the clear coat too. Wondering if I just bought a shitty type.

    In that album- relinking- are pics of it "done". I guess I quote that because today I will superfine sand and buff it.

    Overall- as my first "real" piece- I am content. I wish it was better of course- but I got a ton of learning out of it.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    St Paul, MN, USA.
    FWIW - here is my $.02... I've been woodworking for about 5 years now and it took a long time get comfortable and confident just creating the damn table/bench/whatever in the first place - then when it came time to finish and I began to realize that that was a whole different, complex ballgame unto itself - I was overwhelmed. So, I keep my finish strategies very simple on purpose. Don't shoot for glass on your first attempt - shoot for even and free of huge mistakes. Gel stain, wood conditioner, etc. there are products out there to take some of the complexity out of finishing. My last (and best) finishing job was stain and multiple coats of thinned poly - it came out great, but only cause I didn't start out with the expectation of creating a flawless, mirrored finish.

    Put more simply - the first dovetails you cut by hand didn't come out perfectly.... so why should finishing be any different? At least you acknowledged learning from your mistakes, so your next finish job will be that much better.



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