A to Z to Finishing

So I have covered a couple of things that could help you when starting in woodturning, but one thing that I had no idea where to begin was finishing my work, mainly because the market for finishing products is massive. However, one mistake I did make very early on was thinking that finishing my work only began with sanding & applying the finishes. But if there’s anything I have learnt, you can do less sanding on a piece; the better. Therefore, I’ll write about what I do to finish wooden items that I have turned on the lathe. Now one thing that you need to remember is that the finishing of the piece & what products you use is personal preferences.

  • The Last Cut:

So like I said before, one of the common mistakes is to think that the finishing process starts when you put start sanding & applying your finishes. Now that is true, but for me, the last cut that you perform is crucial on your & it will cut down your sanding by at least half. However, the pass you want to take needs to be only enough to remove the ridges, & tool marks & tear out the shavings should be fine.

  • Sanding:

Now that you have taken your finishing cut & got all the ridges & marks out of the piece, your next step is sanding. So with this step, I prefer to start at 120 & work through the grits till 800. This way, I know I’m creating the best base for the rest of the products to go on more smoothly. Therefore, once you have sanded your piece the first time, you want to apply your first layer of sanding sealer. When you do this, you want to do it when the lathe isn’t moving this way; you can be sure that you’re covering all the area you need to with the sanding sealer. Once that layer of sanding sealer is dry & it won’t take long to dry. Start the lathe up on a low speed & apply a second coat & also let that dry. Now both layers of your sanding sealer of choice are dry, you then want to sand your piece again from 120 through to 800, but this time you want to concentrate on any problem areas like tear out or tool marks that you don’t want to be there.

  • Finishing Products:

Yorkshire Grit:

Now that you have completed the sanding & removed all the marks, you can now; start applying your finishes. One of my first go-to finishing products is Yorkshire grit; I have used this since I first started turning & combined with the other products; I will list below give one of the best finishes I have had on my pieces. Therefore, with the lathe at a standstill, you want to apply the Yorkshire grit, then turn the lathe up to a high-speed buff the Yorkshire grit to a high shine finish, or until you can’t feel any more of the residue anymore. 

Friction Polish:

When dealing with friction polish, it’s a lot like Yorkshire grit; the only couple of differences is the texture when it goes on & how you put it on. Yorkshire grit is almost like a paste friction polish, or the one I use isn’t; it’s a liquid. Therefore the other difference is that you can apply the friction polish while the lathe is moving, but only slowly. However, once you have the piece covered, you want to turn the lathe up high just like with the Yorkshire grit & buff it into a high shine.

Wax Finish:

Now that the piece has had finishes applied to it that will seal it, you can think about adding finishing products that will enhance the grain of your work. I prefer to keep this step simple & apply a wax finish, one of the things that I make sure that the wax finish does have as inside the product is carnauba wax. Now with this type of wax, the best way to use this is by applying it sparingly to your project or until your piece looks dull. Once you have done this, to get the best results, you need to turn the lathe up & buff the product in til you get a high shine.