June 29, 2022

What’s the best recipe for a smooth finish on indoor wood furniture? – News from Mother Earth

Q: How do I apply a smooth finish indoors drink? I am never satisfied with the quality of finish that I manage to obtain on my indoor drink projects. Even when I use dusting cloths to wipe down the surface and take care not to overload the brush, I still have (and I mean

ALWAYS!) I have these hard little bumps on the surface when I’m done. I’ve tried many different brushes and brands of urethane, and even considered using spray hairspray if that would accomplish anything. Is there a way to get a decent finish on my furniture projects without setting up a professional paint booth?

A: I’m sorry you’re in trouble, but you shouldn’t feel bad. Most people have the same difficulties as you. Here is a finishing recipe that I know works perfectly.

  1. Get some oil-based urethane (I prefer a satin sheen) and a natural bristle brush and smooth the bare wood parallel to the grain using a progression of sandpapers up to 220 grit.
  2. Moisten the surface with a damp cloth to bring up the grain of the wood, then let it dry for 2 days.
  3. Sand again with 220 grit sandpaper only, then vacuum all particles from your project and the entire finish area.
  4. Apply a coat of undiluted urethane and let dry for a day. Brush on another coat and, when completely dry, sand the surface with 220 grit paper using a palm sander.
  5. Vacuum again, coat again and sand again, for two more coats. It will be four in all.

After all of the above, you should find the surface quite pleasing. Any remaining hardened dust particles can be removed by scrubbing with 000 steel wool or a 3M scrubbing pad. If you want a finer finish, sand the area by hand with 400 grit wet/dry sandpaper, lubricated with plenty of water after the final coat. Finish by buffing the area with 0000 steel wool. The best finish possible is achieved by using a random orbital sander on a super fine 3M rubbing pad. It gives a spectacular result.

A word of warning: When sanding between coats, or with the wet/dry paper after all coats have fallen off, be careful around corners. It is very easy to sand off the finish in these places, exposing the bare wood.

Since 1988, Steve Maxwell, Canada’s Handiest Man, has been sharing his DIY tips, how-to videos and product reviews. Visit it at www.SteveMaxwell.ca, Facebook Where @Maxwells_Tips on Twitter.


Contributing Editor Steve Maxwell helping people renovate, build and maintain their homes for over two decades. “Canada’s Handiest Man” is an award-winning home improvement authority and woodworking expert. Contact him by visiting his website and the blog, Maxwell’s home. You can also follow him on Twitter, like him on Facebook and find it on Google+.