Click Cover For Details Woodworking Business:
Start Quickly And Operate Successfully

“Woodworking Business: Start Quickly and Operate Successfully is a must read with practical tips on every aspect of the woodworking trade.

I would recommend this book to anyone in the woodworking profession. The insight within this book will do wonders for your business. It is one of the few books I have read more than once.

This book is a remarkable tool that not only helped me in the beginning; it serves as a reference that I can look back on when I have questions about my business.”

Chris Looney, Hardwood Technology

Once the stain is applied, wipe off the excess with good rags such as old T shirts. Wipe the surface completely making certain no streaks are left behind. If the stain dries before being wiped, the streaks can only be removed with lacquer thinner and this will require restaining.  After wiping, allow the stain to dry overnight, unless the instructions on the can state otherwise,   then apply the clear coat according to the instructions on the container. Do not sand the stained surface before applying the first coat of clear. Sanding at this time can cause unsightly lighten areas.


I like the look of natural wood finished with only a clear coat but there are options for your projects. Before the clear coat, you can apply a stain. Wood stains come in many types and colors. I like the MinWax brand but there are many others. Most stains require overnight drying before you can apply the clear coat but you can get water based stains that dry in one hour.

When selecting a stain color remember that it will look different depending on the wood it is used on. So your project may turn out a little darker or lighter than the sample that you saw in the store. I suggest using a scrap piece to test the color. Before beginning, stir the stain thoroughly. The pigment has a tendency to settle to the bottom of the container.

Painting is good for some projects.

Another finishing option is painting. Small projects can painted with spray cans. Whether you spray or brush, always use a primer for the first coat and then sand all the surfaces smooth before applying a good quality enamel. If you have drawing skills you could use either paint or clear on the project and then apply names or drawings.

I designed and built the rocking chair in the photo at right for my granddaughter several years ago. The chair is made of solid oak with clear lacquer and the name and drawings were applied by an artist friend before I applied the lacquer finish.

Using it without stirring will give a washed out and splotched look. Splotching appears on many wood surfaces.  To avoid splotching, apply a prestain coat.  This can be mixed from your clear coat but I would advise you to purchase a prestain product to keep things simple.  Remember that this product will slightly seal the wood to keep the stain on the surface from splotching.  This will also cause the stain color to be lighter.  It may take more than one coat to attain the color depth you want.

First step for quality Staining is careful preparation.

To prepare for staining, uniform sanding is critical. Sand the entire project evenly. Do not apply excessive pressure to the sander during the job. This causes shiny spots that will not take the stain well causing lighter areas on the surface.   To avoid this change sandpaper often.  Friction builds up when using a power sander and if the sandpaper get worn it will simply shine the surface instead of sanding it.

If you prefer a water based clear coat, MinWax makes an excellent product called Polycrylic and it dries very fast. To get a good finish with this make certain you use a polyester brush, preferably one of the specialized brushes sold by MinWax, and do not apply it when the temperature is below 60 degrees. Most clear coats should be brushed carefully.  Brush only with the grain of the wood and do not overbrush. Just spread it as evenly as possible, thick enough so it will flow out but not so thick that it runs.  When using fast drying clear coats, do not go back to completed areas with the brush.  These will already be semi dry and brushing will leave deep and unsightly brush marks.

I can’t overemphasize the importance of the proper preparation for and application of stains. I always preferred staining my own projects but during one period when I was overwhelmed with projects, I hired a painter to finish one of my large projects. It involved a room full of bookcases and a desk. I knew the painter’s work and was comfortable hiring him. Unfortunately, knowing how to paint does not mean you know how to stain. I put the project in a rental space for him and went to pick it up after he completed it. It was a nightmare of streaks and splotches. As you might imagine, I was angry and I had to call the owner and reschedule the installation. As a small business owner that meant delaying payment for the job.

I took the project back to my shop and used a stripper to get the entire finish off and back down to the wood surface. Then I stained it again and applied the clear finish. Three days later I delivered and installed the project.

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