Surface prep is as important as applying a wood finish well. If there are any defects in your workpiece, they will become painfully obvious once a finish is applied. A good surface prep regimen is essential for a great finish. My go to finish is Arm-r-Seal from General Finishes. It is a wiping varnish that I apply with a rag. I’ll typically apply 5 coats of finish. The first coat I apply heavily, allowing the finish to soak into the wood. I follow up each coat sanding with 600 grit sand paper. For the last coat, I’ll more aggressively sand the dried 4th coat to fully clean up the surface and then I will apply a very light coat of finish. This final coat of finish cleans up the scratch pattern from the sandpaper and restores the sheen.
This is the twelfth episode of my Ask Matt series where I answer broader topic questions. If you have an idea for a topic for a future episode, please let me know.
General Finishes Arm-r-Seal Semi-Gloss: http://amzn.to/1G2vU3h
Painter’s Pyramids: http://amzn.to/1d7IwwG
How long in between each coat?
about 3-4 hours
Great finishing summary! Have you considered building a clean room so you don’t get dust nibs?
Also, love the beard trick.
Thanks! At this point, I don’t really have the space for one. The nibs aren’t too bad. They’re plenty manageable with a little sandpaper 🙂
Matt watches your video. Doing a set of cabinets for my house. I noticed u only wait 4-6 hours before sanding. Is the finish not still slightly tacky. I would love to do the same but have been waiting 24 hours. If I could get in two coats a day that would be great! Are you adding a dryer.
When finishing cherry or alder how do you take care of the ‘splotches’ ? Sealer? Condtioner?
I used to worry about it and use a sealer before applying finish but its not something I worry much about any more.
Do you ever thin your top coat with mineral spirits to make the finish even thinner? Does thinning a top coat ruin its durability?
I haven’t felt the need to thin it. It’s pretty thin out of the can.
How come you don’t just use a polyurethane neet and apply with a brush? I’ve never heard of your technique using poly and linseed and mineral spirits together or using Arm-R-Seal. I dont know whether its available in Canada.
I do like your results though.
Have you noticed any changes in Arm-R-Seal? I used to apply it in a way similar to what you show and got excellent results. In the last year or so, I’m having trouble with getting cloudy, streaky results. I don’t see anything that I’ve changed in what I do and wonder if you’ve seen this. Usually, I use satin, but I think I’ve seen this with other sheens. Thanks for any ideas you might have about this.
I haven’t had any issues. Maybe they did something with the flatteners?
Great video on using arm, r. Seal, you certainly sold me on that excellent product. I now want to use it on some river tables I’m making. One problem I’m in England and can’t seem to find the product even on amazon. Any help with this would be great,thanks again.
I’m not sure General Finishes has a distributer in the UK