Chapter 1 – Impatience: Pre-Raising the Grain
Any material that contains water will raise the grain of the wood. You can try this yourself by pouring a little water on a scrap piece of wood in the shop. After it dries, the surface should feel rough and gritty. This is definitely not the kind of surface you want to apply finish to, so sanding is in order. Fortunately, this grain-raising only happens once. So if we can pre-raise the grain ahead of time using water, we can easily sand the surface smooth again before applying any finish or dye. When the dye or finish is applied, the surface won’t be nearly as rough as it would have been without the pre-raising step.
Chapter 2 – Finish Follows Function: Repairing Oil Finishes
This is not the case with oil finishes. Boiled linseed oil and tung oil are very easy to apply and repair, as you’ll see in this video. So why doesn’t everyone use them? Because they don’t offer all that much protection in the first place. So the surface is more likely to require frequent repair.
A good compromise is an oil/varnish blend (1/3 thinner, 1/3 oil, 1/3 varnish). A few coats of this material will act and look similar to an oil finish, but will have a little more protection than oil alone. Apply numerous coats and the varnish begins to build up, effectively giving you a finish similar to straight varnish. Its all about compromise and allowing the finish to follow the function.
Chapter Three – The Art of Sanding: The Pencil Trick
Chapter Five – Cheap Wood: Blotch Control
Chapter Six – The Wrong Tools: The Finishing Rag
Chapter Nine – Shine a Light On It: The Raking Light
You really don’t need anything fancy to create your own raking light. A cheap clip-on aluminum work light with a standard light bulb will do the trick: like this one!
Chapter Ten – Finishing the Finish: Finishing the Finish!
My favorite tools for this job are Festool Platin Abrasives. 1000 grit and 2000 grit. You can use these dry if you like (as shown in the video), but you might also want to try it using a lubricant such as mineral spirits, mineral oil, or even water.