Monday, November 4, 2013

My Three Favorite Easy Finishes - Part I: Introduction

There is a lot of chatter on the woodworking blogosphere at the moment regarding finishing. I might as well toss in my two cents.

First, a little bit of my personal history so you can see where I am going with this. A couple years ago I got a masters degree in adult education and training. Yay for me!

January 2011

What I learned was that adults learn different than children. School children may learn in a classroom and accept what the teacher is telling them because the teacher is an adult and should know.

Us adults like to learn things on our own. When we are ready for a certain piece of information, chances are we will seek out the information and figure it out. Good instructors of adults make it easy for adults to draw the information out on their own, as opposed to attempting to impart their wisdom on empty brains.

What's the moral, you ask?

Well, don't take my word that you will have the same favorite finishes after reading this. Give it a try and choose for yourself.

If you are frustrated with finishing, perhaps you are ready for what I will reveal in this series.

My favorite three finishes are, wax, boiled linseed oil, and spar varnish.

These are the finishes I use most. I heeded some advice a while back, probably from one of the folks at Popular Woodworking, that you should get really good at a couple of finishes. I think this is good advice because there are so many out there, that one can flounder getting crappy results with every next thing that he tries.

The next few posts in this series will be about what I do with these materials for finishing. Hopefully, if you do what I do, you'll get the same results.

What I would really like to see, is if you haven't tried one of these finishes, give it a go and see what happens. When you read what I have to write about it, you'll find that you've already discovered most of it on your own, and perhaps there is a little nugget of info in here that you might be able to take and apply to your work.

Perhaps you will discover something that you would like to share that I don't discuss.

More than likely, you already have a finish or two that you use and like.

Regardless, do yourself a favor and learn something in the shop today. Not from reading my blog, but by trying something that you want to learn.


  1. I was taught as a child that "You can't teach an old dog new tricks." Whatever that means, or however that relates, I don't know. Still, good post and looking forward to hearing about your "go to" finishes

    1. Thanks, Jeremy!

      I never thought of that saying in this context, before. Interesting, perhaps the 'old dog' wants to learn his own tricks?

  2. The picture is good!? Love your blog Brian.