What Are Different Types and Techniques of Wood Finishes?

Wood Finishes protect the wooden surfaces from moisture and make its appearance richer and deeper. Wood finish is different than painting in a way that, painting hides the original wooden surface while Wood finishes improve the appearance of the surface.  The term finish can also represent several coats of finish or an entire build-up of the coating.  Below are the most common types of wood finishes.

Finishing of a wood surface is highly recommended either it’s new or old furniture. Finishing is done by adding a liquid on the surface of the wood. Thus wood finishing creates a wood material looking like dashing and adds a protective layer. There are two types of wood finishes i.e surface finishing and penetrating finishing. Woodworkers usually apply 2 or 3 coats of paint on furniture which come in daily use.

Surface Finishing: This type of finishing is easier to apply and leaves a natural look to woods. Surface finishes applied on the surface of wood material.

Penetrating Finishing: This type of finishing is applied inside furniture and is durable but it doesn’t create a natural look on walls. Linseed, Danish, and Tung oil is a type of penetrating oil which makes a natural and bold look at wood material.

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Dyes matches the existing color or it also changes the color of the surface. Dyes are the kind of wood finishes which are available in both water-based and oil-based types. These wood finishes protect interior wooden surfaces.

Oil finishes

Oil wood finishes improve the appearance of unfurnished wood. Natural oils that are present in the wood dries out over time. Oils finishes replace the natural oils and nourish the wood grain. It protects the wood well for internal and external use.


Varnishes are made up of oil, solvents, and resins. They are usually clear and transparent. They give a better UV protection. Varnishes dry slowly. Application of the varnish on the top of dyes gives a better protection.


Shellac is a natural wax finish which is secreted from a bug which thrives on a tree. A mixture of the collected wax from the tree and an Alcohol solvent gives better consistency. Shellac is available in a variety of colors. It’s easy to apply and dries quickly. It gives a glossy finish to the wood.


Wood stains changes or improves the wood color. They are present in different colors. The wood stains perform better if they are darker than the color of the wood. It increases the visibility of the grains. They don’t protect the wood. Application of wood stain is followed by a coating of wood finish for better protection.


Lacquers are thin solvent based finishes as compared to the other finishes. They are usually applied by spraying. Lacquers dry fast because it contains evaporating the solvent. It riches deeper into the wood and nourishes the grains and bring out the natural beauty of the wood. Lacquers bring a glossy look to the wood.

Water-Based Finishes

Water based finishes provide a clean and clear finish and have little odor than the oil based finishes. They are thin in consistency, so they dry easily. They give a natural appearance to the wooden surface. The flexibility of water-based wood finish allows it to adhere to any surface quickly.

French Polish

Since 19th-century French polishing technique is in use. It is a classic technique of wood finishing. It is a mixture of shellac and alcohol. A rubbing pad lubricated with oil is used for the application of this finish on the wooden surface. It gives the glossiest appearance to the wooden surface.

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