Types of Wood Finishes
Many woodenware articles are natural-finished, that is, just smoothed. Others,
such as sugar buckets, kitchen cabinets and refrigerators, are stained, and
still others are painted.
The object of paints and stains is to preserve the wood by closing the pores
or openings so as to prevent moisture and decay from entering. Paints and stains
are often decorative.
Paint is opaque and conceals the natural appearance of the surface of the
wood. It is more often used for exterior finishing.
Stains or varnishes bring out the natural grain appearance of the wood and
are more decorative.
Stains vary with different woods. Porous woods, for instance, red oak, require
the application of a filler before the stain is applied. Otherwise too much
will be absorbed into the wood.
Stains are classified according to the liquid in which they are dissolved,
as spirit stain, which is dissolved in alcohol, oil stain, and water stain.
Varnish is a solution of certain gums or resin in alcohol and is applied after
staining to preserve the stain and produce a shining, transparent surface. The
number of coats of varnish depends on the fineness of the finish desired.
Paints are pigments, that is, coloring matter. The foundation is commonly
white lead, or zinc oxide, which is ground and mixed with linseed oil or other
liquids. Turpentine is added to make the paint more fluid; and driers, lead
or manganese salts, are dissolved in the oil or turpentine to make it dry more
The following rules regarding the application of paint will be of use:
1. The surface must be thoroughly clean and dry.
2. All old paint should be removed.
3. Nail holes, cracks, etc., must be filled with putty.
4. Knots or sappy places must be coated to prevent the sap's exuding and thereby
5. Thin coats well distributed are better than thick ones.
6. Allow ample time for drying between the coats.