Category Archives: Wood Finishing Cloths

A Handy Recipe or Postcard Box

The other day I remarked to Leigh Ann that I needed to make a couple of small oak boxes to display postcards for an upcoming antiques show I direct. She then reminded me that I had also promised to organize our jumble of 5”x7” notecards with recipes taped to them. Suddenly, I had two reasons to start a new project.

I picked up some inexpensive oak strips from my local home improvement store, along with a package of eight Minwax® Wood Finishing Cloths in “Natural Oak.” Each pre-moistened cloth contains both a water-based stain and finish, which makes them perfect for small projects like this one.

And since the Wood Finishing Cloths are water based, that means they dry quickly – and without any odor.

And in no time at all, my first notecard box was dry and ready to go. Now I just have to go back and make the one I promised Leigh Ann for our recipe cards…

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by.


Reduce Clutter with an Old Drawer and Mason Jars


I have to admit, even I was stumped over what I could possibly do with this old, small oak drawer that had long since been separated from its dresser, and was now taking up valuable space under Leigh Ann’s workbench.

But then I spotted a box of vintage Mason jars at a thrift shop for 50¢ each, and had an idea. I pulled the drawer out from beneath the workbench, cleaned it up and discovered the sides had never been stained or finished. Since I wanted both sides to look as nice as the front of the drawer, I slipped one of the eight pre-moistened stain-and-finish cloths out of a “Maple” package of Minwax® Wood Finishing Cloths. In just a few minutes, and with just one cloth, I had stained and finished both the sides and back.

While the water based stain and finish dried, I started pulling Mason jars and their lids out of the box and getting them ready. I discovered I could fit five into my lone drawer, which was perfect for what I had in mind.

The old drawer then fit perfectly atop our kitchen counter, near the stove, where I now use it to hold wooden utensils, plus a few flowers to brighten up our work area.

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!


A Great Time at the Renegade Craft Fair

Renegade Craft Fair Entrance

I undertook my first wood staining and finishing project back in high school, long before craft projects and water-based products had captured everyone’s attention. Events like the popular two-day Renegade Craft Fair held in Seattle simply did not exist, so it was exciting for me to come out and take part in such a lively event last month.

Bruce Johnson with a Minwax fan and a dog

Bruce Johnson with fans and a dog

Seattle and the Renegade Craft Fair are definitely dog-friendly places, and as someone who lives with two rescue dogs (Daisy and Jasper think they rescued me!), it was fun to observe the assortment of dogs and dog owners filing by our booth.

Minwax Booth at the Renegade Craft Fair

The Minwax® team came out to the Renegade Craft Fair to demonstrate how far our line of products had come in providing DIYers and crafters with stains that go far beyond traditional wood tone colors and finishes that dry in minutes, not hours.

Minwax Finishing Cloths

By far the most exciting product that everyone loved was Wood Finishing Cloths. Eight pre-moistened cloths containing both a water based stain and finish now come in a re-sealable plastic package rather than a traditional metal can.

Bruce Johnson using Minwax finishing cloths at the Renegade Craft Fair

Give me a piece of wood and an opportunity to share everything I know about staining and finishing, and I really get excited. We had questions ranging from how to restore a vintage wooden shaft golf club to how to clean and refresh dirty kitchen cabinets – without refinishing!

Bruce Johnson chatting with Fair goersSunday night came faster than we expected, as we were still fielding questions right up to when the crew arrived to start dismantling the Minwax® booth. And while I still had lots of questions about the traditional oil-based stains and finishes I had learned to use in high school, it was quite clear that the people at the Renegade Craft Fair were excited to try our new line of fast-drying water-based stains and finishes.

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by


Coasters to Match Your Style Using Scraps

Not every reclaimed pallet wood project has to be a giant one, as I discovered when I was looking for ways to use up some some scrap pieces. After cutting them into 1.5-inch wide strips, I began playing around with different designs, gluing and tacking the strips to plywood squares with finish nails to make drink coasters and trivets to protect our coffee table.

I then added four more pieces to create a frame around each coaster. The frame hides the ends of the strips and the edges of the plywood underneath them.

A quick sanding with #120-grit sandpaper eliminated any roughness and rounded any sharp edges in preparation for a finish.

If you like a natural look, I suggest rubbing on two or three coats of  Minwax® Wipe-On Poly, which protects the wood and brings out the beauty of the grain, even on old pallet boards! (Notice the two nail heads I purposely left in the pallet boards?)

I also made a couple of larger trivets using scraps of new wood leftover from previous projects. Small projects like these are ideal for Minwax® Wood Finishing Cloths, which provide both a water-based stain and finish combined in a pre-moistened cloth. I selected “Maple” and simply rubbed it into the wood, then wiped off the excess before letting it dry. (PS – The gloves are included with each package of eight cloths!)

Naturally, I couldn’t resist testing the drink coaster in my workshop. Here you can see the contrast between the pallet wood (left) under a clear finish and the new wood (right) under a combination one-step stain and finish. Do you prefer one style over the other?

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!