Six Things Every Refinisher Needs

By Bruce Johnson

It doesn’t matter whether you’re getting ready to start a new project or you want to encourage someone to take up wood finishing and refinishing. Having these essential items on hand makes getting off to a good start a breeze.

Dropcloth

A drop-cloth is critical for catching spills and splatters. The only mistake is getting one too small. I always start with no less than a 6’ x 9’. I find the all-plastic drop-cloths to be awkward to use, so I opt for the style with canvas on one side and plastic on the other.

GlovesSold in boxes of 100, disposable gloves are essential for protecting your skin against stains and finishes. Always have a box sitting on your workbench so you have no excuse for not putting them on.

SandpaperMost projects require more than one grit of sandpaper. Be sure to pick up an assortment pack with: #100 grit for rounding edges and removing deep scratches, #120 grit for smoothing the wood, #150 or #180 grit for final wood sanding and #220 grit for sanding between your first and second coat of finish.

Brushes In the same manner, most projects require more than one type of brush. A foam brush or an inexpensive bristle brush are fine for applying Minwax® Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner or any Minwax® stain, but you will want a higher quality bristle brush when it comes time to lay down a smooth coat of clear protective finish.

Cloths Kitchen paper towels are too thin and quickly fall part when used to apply a stain or finish, so pick up a roll or box of heavy-duty paper towels designed for use in your workshop.

FinishesMinwax® wood stains come in so many different colors that you should pick out the stain you want depending on each particular project. But since every stain needs to have a clear protective finish applied after it dries, go ahead and get a can of each of these to have on hand. For water-based stains, apply water-based Minwax® Polycrylic® Protective Finish. For oil-based stains, use oil-based Minwax® Fast-Drying Polyurethane.

Until next time,

“If you wait until you have enough time, it won’t ever get done.”

Bruce

Be sure to check out Minwax’s new “Made With Love. Finished With Minwax.” campaign currently going on. The theme is ‘Find. Finish. Love.,’ celebrating the thrill of finding real wood pieces – sometimes in the least expected places – and the joy of making them into something we love.

About Bruce Johnson

Author-craftsman Bruce Johnson has introduced millions of do-it-yourselfers, craftspeople and antique collectors to the world of wood finishing and antique restoration. As the official spokesperson for Minwax®, the leading manufacturer of wood finishing and wood care products, Bruce motivates people to take the initiative to beautify their surroundings. Through his many books, magazine articles and columns, as well as frequent appearances on national television talk shows, Johnson is recognized as an authority in the do-it-yourself community. Appearing on PBS, HGTV, The Discovery Channel, and currently hosting “DIY Woodworking” and “Build A Log Cabin”, on the DIY cable network, Johnson has brought the illustrious craft of wood finishing to the forefront of the American home.

An expert in wood refinishing, antique restoration, and home improvement, Bruce has published more than a dozen books on these topics, including Fifty Simple Ways To Save Your House, The Wood Finisher, The Weekend Refinisher, and The Official Identification and Price Guide to the Arts and Crafts Movement. For more than 20-years, he penned an antique refinishing advice column, “Knock on Wood,” which ran in dozens of antique/collectibles publications. Currently, he writes a column on Arts & Crafts for Style 1900 magazine.

A rare combination of craftsman and journalist, Johnson began his career as a high school English teacher, but left teaching to set up his “Knock on Wood Antique Repair & Restoration” shop. He spent the next 10 years as a full-time professional refinisher, but eventually returned to writing. Yet, Johnson says, he won’t ever be without a workbench and a couple of refinishing projects down in the basement.

Johnson is also the founder and director of the Arts and Crafts Conference and Antique Show held every February in Asheville, North Carolina, at the Grove Park Inn. The conference, which includes the largest Arts and Crafts antiques show, attracts more than 1500 Arts and Crafts collectors each year to its many seminars, tours, demonstrations and exhibits. Johnson is proud to have played a role in reviving interest in designers like Gustav Stickley, who founded the Arts and Crafts movement. His latest book, “Grove Park Inn Arts & Crafts Furniture,” was awarded the 2009 Thomas Wolfe Literary Award. These furnishings are treasured by such collectors as Steven Spielberg and Bruce Willis, among many others.

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