American Woodworker

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Winter 2013-2014

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  • Q & A: Spray-On Crackle Finish

    by American Woodworker Editors     Tuesday, January 21, 2014
    Spray-On Crackle Finish Q: Is it possible to get a crackle finish in a pigmented, water-based lacquer that is applied with an HVLP spray gun? If so, please tell me how. A: Yes, it can be done. Put down a base color first (the color that will show through...
  • Q & A: Why Does My Wood Have Stripes?

    by American Woodworker Editors     Tuesday, November 12, 2013
    Why Does My Wood Have Stripes? Q: I put a clear finish on a beautiful ash table I made and found faint stripes an inch or two wide going across each board. Any ideas on what caused them and how to get rid of them? A: Those stripes probably won’t...
  • Q & A: Is Polyurethane Food-Safe?

    by American Woodworker Editors     Tuesday, November 5, 2013
    Is Polyurethane Food-Safe? Q: I’m planning on finishing a set of wooden plates with polyurethane. Is this finish safe for food? A: According to finishing expert Bob Flexner, all finishes are food-safe once they have cured. Polyurethane varnish does...
  • Q & A: Final Rubout

    by American Woodworker Editors     Tuesday, January 15, 2013
    Q & A: Final Rubout Q: I always have problems getting a smooth finish. I sand the wood with 220 paper,wipe it with a tack cloth, apply three coats of high-quality varnish, and still get a rough surface! What can I do to get that “professional”...
  • Q & A: Matching Old Stains

    by American Woodworker Editors     Friday, October 5, 2012
    Q & A: Matching Old Stains Q: I have to match an old stain. I’ve come pretty close with a new stain I bought at the hardware store, but it’s not good enough. Is there a way I can tint the stain? A: There are several fairly simple ways...
  • Finish on Tap

    by American Woodworker Editors     Tuesday, October 20, 2009
    I buy varnish by the gallon because it’s more economical, but after a few uses, the rim fills with gunk and the finish begins to skin over inside the can. As a result, I usually have to throw the can away before it’s empty. I solved this problem...
  • Freshness Date for Finish

    by American Woodworker Editors     Tuesday, September 15, 2009
    I never thought about the risks of using finish from an old, previously opened can until I had to entirely strip a project because the ancient varnish I used didn’t dry properly. Now I play it safe. I date every can when I first open it, so I know...
  • Thick-Skinned varnish

    by Tim Johnson     Wednesday, February 25, 2009
    One thing you can count on when you save a half-used can of varnish is that the contents will be skinned-over the next time you open the can. When this happens, don't gnash your teeth; the varnish underneath the skin should be just fine. Before you...
  • Tidy Stripping

    by AW-Editor     Thursday, January 29, 2009
    When stripping a chair or table, place each leg in a coffee can. Any excess stripper drips right in, and when you take off the finish, you can simply push your scraper down the length of the leg. This also works when applying runny stains.