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Tips and Techniques for Fantastic Oak Finishes Colorado Springs CO

Making samples gives you the opportunity to tweak a recipe until you get the look you want. Be sure to make the samples out of scrap from the project you’re finishing to get the most accurate preview of how the finish will look. Sand and finish the samples to the same level as your project and apply a topcoat.

The Home Depot
(719)573-7000
102 N Academy Rd
Colorado Springs, CO
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 7:00am-8:00pm

The Home Depot
(719)471-0054
2250 Southgate Rd
Colorado Springs, CO
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 7:00am-8:00pm

The Home Depot
(719)266-5165
5660 E Woodmen Road
Colorado Springs, CO
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 7:00am-8:00pm

Circle Ace Hardware
(719) 550-3702
1225 N Circle Dr
Colorado Springs, CO
 
Fastenal- Colorado Springs
719-638-1588
296 South Academy Blvd Suite L Colorado Springs, CO, 80910
Colorado Springs, CO
 
Woodcraft - Colorado Springs, CO
(719) 266-9889
750 W. Garden of the Gods Rd.
Colorado Springs, CO

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Crafted Wood
(719) 633-3664
2720 Robinson Street
Colorado Springs, CO

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The Home Depot
(719)484-0900
15888 Jackson Creek Pkwy
Monument, CO
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Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 7:00am-8:00pm

ABC Supply Co.,Inc/Colorado Springs
719-635-5500
706 S Sierra Madre Colorado Springs, CO, 80903
Colorado Springs, CO
 
Fastenal- Colorado Springs
719-390-8515
910 S. Nevada Colorado Springs, CO, 80903
Colorado Springs, CO
 
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Tips and Techniques for Fantastic Oak Finishes

Tips and Techniques for Fantastic Oak Finishes

by Dave Munkittrick

 Like a movie star, oak possesses natural good looks. Oak’s distinctive grain pattern (see photo below) is what people are responding to when they say, “I love the look of oak.” Unlike a movie star, however, oak is easy to work with—even during finishing. The best finishes for oak celebrate its grain. In this aricle, I’ll highlight some key finishing tips and techniques used to create the multilayered finishes that bring out the best in oak. Check out the recipes that make use of these techniques in “4 Proven Oak Finishes” .

Earlywood and Latewood Stain Differently

Finishing oak is like finishing two different woods at once.  The large, visible pores in the earlywood soak up stain much more aggressively than the relatively smooth latewood does. 


Avoid Disasters; Make Samples First

Always, always, always make samples before you begin to apply finish. Most finishing disasters can be avoided with this basic step. Making samples gives you the opportunity to tweak a recipe until you get the look you want. Be sure to make the samples out of scrap from the project you’re finishing to get the most accurate preview of how the finish will look. Sand and finish the samples to the same level as your project and apply a topcoat.

Finally, accurately measure and record every step, including dye concentrations, mixture ratios, when to scuff-sand, number of topcoats, etc. There’s nothing worse than hitting on the perfect look only to realize you don’t know how you got there.

Key to a Good Finish: Proper Sanding

I sand oak to 220 grit. Although lots of people stop at 180 grit, I find going one more step really polishes the dense latewood and enhances its contrast with the coarse earlywood. 

Scuff-Sand Carefully

Scuff-sand with 280- or 320-grit paper between coats of shellac and varnish. A light touch is all that’s needed. Care must be taken not to sand through one layer of finish into the next. 

I typically scuff-sand after each coat of shellac. The sanding removes dust nibs and leaves a scratch pattern for the next coat to grip.

Tip: Scuff-sand the dye coat on quartersawn oak to make the ray fleck really pop. Because the rays are so dense, the dye tends to sit on the surface where a light sanding can easily remove it. This makes the rays lighter than the surrounding wood. 

Create a Ground Color with Dye

Many great oak finishes begin with a “ground color” dye, typically a yellow or reddish brown. The ground color establishes the finish’s predominate undertone. Apply the dye liberally to bare wood with a brush or spray bottle. Blot up any excess with a clean rag. Even when thinned to manufacturers’ recommendations, dyes produce very strong colors.

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