Wood Finishing Hacks: Finish Options to Consider

    There’s something strangely satisfying about completing any project you have started. After all the anticipation of seeing the final product, the time has finally arrived. However, there are some projects, such as woodworking where the final steps in the process are just as important as the days, weeks or even longer you have spent creating that “perfect” piece.

    Regardless of if you are creating a small, keepsake box or custom cabinets, selecting the right finish is essential – in terms of durability and aesthetics. Here are some helpful tips to ensure you choose the right finish for you wood project.


    These are available in solid stick, paste and liquid form and found in many different wood tones. They are typically softer than varnishes and lacquers and derived from animal, vegetable and mineral sources. In many cases, they will contain solvents.

    Some of the benefits of using wax include that they are simple to apply, foolproof, will work with all types of wood, can help prevent oxidation, shed water and now. However, waxes cannot enhance the look of your wood, like some other finishes do. Also, they don’t protect against wear or scratches.

    The best projects to use wax with include picture frames, jewelry boxes and other objects that won’t be exposed to much wear or tear.

    Non-Drying Natural Oil

    One of the first things to understand is that a non-drying oil is considered a treatment, rather than an actual finish. It will stay wet indefinitely and provide a rich look to wood, but not much protection.

    The benefits of this option include a richer effect, the fact that these are non-toxic and eco-friendly. However, this type of oil will wash off with soap and water and won’t dry to a solid film. If you are considering this type of finish, consider using them on food storage containers and bowls.

    Tung Oil

    This is a type of natural drying oil and it can resist water better than other types of pure oil. When you purchase a quality tung oil, such as what’s offered at realmilkpaint.com, it will dry quickly, penetrate more readily and provide a more appealing finish.

    Some of the other benefits of using tung oil include that it is extremely water-resistant. It will also remain flexible as the wood contracts and expands. However, it isn’t as protective or durable as varnishes and other types of common finishes. It may also produce a somewhat unpleasant odor for the initial days after it is applied. Also, if you or anyone coming in contact with the finished product has a nut allergy, you should avoid using it.

    If you want to use tung oil, it is ideal for wood bows and countertops, butcher blocks, wood flooring and siding and decks.

    Linseed Oil

    This is also called flaxseed oil and can be purchased in its raw form or a polymerized form. It’s beneficial because the application process is easy and it’s natural and eco-friendly. Also, when applied properly, it can help to bring out the natural beauty of your wood.

    Keep in mind, regardless of the kind you choose to use, it will take two to three days for the coat to dry and it isn’t a smart option for any outside project. If you want to use Linseed oil, it’s great for pool cues, wooden recorders and other instruments and surfboards.

    If you have a wood project you are trying to choose a finish for, be sure to keep the options here in mind. They all provide benefits and should be considered carefully to find the best one.