Woodworking Series: Part 1 - Protecting Your Wooden Products!
The first and most important part about performing any home project is safety. In this case, proper safety gear such as gloves and safety glasses may be necessary to prevent any wood finish or other chemicals from touching your bare skin or eyes. READ ALL WARNING AND SAFETY LABELS ON ALL PRODUCTS THAT YOU USE TO ENSURE YOUR PERSONAL SAFETY! Next, make sure that the area in which you will be applying your finish is well ventilated or outside. This is to avoid breathing in any harmful chemicals that are in the finish. Finally, avoid fire and flames at all costs as wood finishes can be EXTREMELY FLAMMABLE. The second thing that you need to think about is selecting the finish that you will be using. A medium priced/quality paintbrush for application will be helpful as well (bristles from cheaper brushes may shed into the finish as it is applied). As far as types of finishes go, natural finishes are the most… well, natural, meaning they have the fewest chemicals than lacquer and oil-based finishes. However, oil-based finishes provide the best durability when it comes to water resistance. Water-based finishes and shellac are other common alternatives and there may be other types hitting the shelves every day so ask your hardware or paint store if you want additional information. A general rule of thumb is that the more difficult a finish is to apply, the more durable it is going to be. Now you’re finally ready to apply your finish! First, remove all dust and any other loose particles that may be present on your product with a damp cloth. Next, safely apply your finish or oil to the wood with your paintbrush, wait about 5-10 minutes, and wipe off the excess carefully before it dries. Give the first coat some time to dry and set, then sand down the finish before applying another coat. Repeat this process another 2-3 times as you feel necessary.
You’ve done it! Your wooden products now look sleek, classy, and are better protected against the uncertain elements arising every day in our homes! Before you go, here are some final tips to extend the life of your finished wood products: some wooden products will rot and deteriorate when exposed to areas with a lot of moisture/water, direct sunlight can fade a wooden picture frame and more importantly the photos inside of them, and finally, different finishes are better for different products. Some are more durable and better suited for your needs than others so be sure to do your research beforehand!
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