7 Steps to a Museum Finish (PDF Download)


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From Issue #8, “7 Steps to a Museum Finish” by Chuck Bender. Includes video demonstrating the entire finishing process so you can watch as he works. And there’s a second video showing how to make a fix if you ever cut your moldings too short – ever hear of “pinched corners?”
Below is an excerpt.

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I’ve written how it’s important to think about finishing early in the game – as early as when you begin to select material. If you build with lumber that is harvested from the same tree, your ability to achieve a uniform color throughout the project is greatly enhanced. But for many of us, purchasing sets of matching lumber or an entire log is out of reach. As a result, our furniture parts have different color, porousness and figure.

(Fig. 1) Finish on some pieces, such as my tea table, is worth more time and effort. Achieving a museum finish is not difficult if you evaluate your progress each step along the way.

If you finish using regular methods and products, you’re going to end up with a piece of furniture that continues to show many of those differences. Who wants that? In fact, there are many projects on which you want more than a “regular” finish – important projects that are worth more time and effort. I’m about to share with you a few tips and techniques that will push your finishing capabilities to a new level. If you’ve visited a museum, you’ve seen the finish I’m talking about. It’s smooth and mellow, as if it’s had hundreds of years of care.

In seven simple steps, you’ll move your project from “newly built” to “museum ready.” You’ll discover how to transform mismatched woods with mismatched colors to a finish that’s more uniform in color, smooth and shows a bit of age. The secret is to evaluate the project at each step and to apply only what needs to be applied to make the finish better.


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