What are your preferred finishes? Some poly everything, others use Watco,
still a few might prefer oil/wax and shellac is always popular isn't it.
Let's pick a few categorys:
1. heavy usage, requires durability (kitchen table)
2. medium usage (side tables, chairs, desks)
3. low usage (shelves, cabinets, hall furniture)
4. mahogany, honduran
5. walnut, black
6. cherry, black
7. white oak (Mission/A&C/Stickly style)
8. pine (or softwoods)
9. oak/ash/hickory (or generic open grain)
11. exotic or other, your pick
I'm afraid I can't answer you survey with the parameters you use. I Probably
couldn't answer any survey on the subject that uses fixed parameters.
My selection of finishes is based on the "look" that is required balanced
against the minimum amount of protection the piece needs to be commiserate
with the use of the piece. As such and based on that criteria I don't have a
"favorite" finish and will use what is needed from boiled linseed oil to
I will note that I dislike oil on very light wood because it, to me, makes
the wood look like a dog pissed on it. I avoid varnishes when possible due
to the amount of work required to rub it out. I do have a fondness for oiled
walnut but do not let that fondness sway me from the above criteria.
Waterlox, Watco Natural, or T&T varnish oil. Regular
varnish products like Waterlox should hold up for years
even on a kitchen table. They're also much easier to
refinish when they do need touching up. They're clear
(with an amber tone building up in many layers), tough,
waterproof, and have a good hand.
When I start these, I'll use an open-pored finish, fumed,
and oil-based varnish (W, WN, TTVN)
Paint or flame. (Hi, Jums!)
W, WN, TTVO.
If I ever need a gloss finish (I much prefer satin), I
might spray a lacquer or leave Waterlox alone. (I normally
buff it down with 0000/scotchbrite and wax.)
I'm just a sucker for oil-based products and varnishes.
They do all I ever hoped, pop the grain/figure of the
wood, and are easy to apply/reapply. They're cleanable,
sandable, durable, and can be applied with a rag if needed.
Plus, they don't -ever- look like plastic. What more could
you ask of a finish?
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