The Finish Variations

Always prefer natural oils and waxes as much as you can since they are the most eco-friendly of all wood finishes. Most commonly used finishes in our opinion are linseed oil and beeswax. You could also try water based varnish and stains. Here’s a quick glance at various finishes.

Varnish

Not only is it preservative but can be coloured or transparent as you prefer. Varnish highlights wood and comes in either oil or water base solutions. Depending on whether you are finishing outdoor or indoor furniture, you can choose the expensive moisture resistant oil finish or the cheaper water solution.

Stain

Stains are used to mostly provide a darker finish to wood while protecting the surface. This too is available in gloss and matte. Best part about staining is that not only do you control the final outcome but can further protect wood by applying a thin layer of varnish afterwards.

Dye

Dyes tend to bring out the natural shade of wood with a suddenness like no other finish. When mixed with the right kind of colours, they can provide a tint to your wood. Best topped off with a layer of wax or varnish for protection from the environment. And remember never to dye furniture that you plan on using outside the house.

Wax

A popular solution, wax offers a translucent finish and accentuates the existing wood structure and appeal. It is best used on top of unsealed surfaces since wax cannot penetrate sealed surfaces. The only problem with wax is that you need to apply several coats and periodically reapply the finishing.

Oil

Oil does a good job to buff the surface for a mid-sheen finish. Again, oil does not penetrate sealed surfaces and just like wax wood needs annual and periodic maintenance with another coat of oil.

Preserver

Protects against insect damage and rotting from the inside. You can either get semigloss, gloss or matte finishing with oil or water based solvents. Used as a single finish layer or as a base coat for paint or another natural finish.

To learn how to apply various finishes to your wood work, you can follow this detailed and outlined wood finishing guide.