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Newbie Intro - Helen

Hi, I’m Helen a semi-retired, professional woodworker who now teaches furniture making to adults at the London School of Furniture Making in North London.

Proper wood finishes go hand-in-hand with good making. I’m pretty confident in applying clear finishes but lacking in some areas when it comes to using paint. I’ve dipped in and out of the website
for five years when looking for tips so thought it was high time I joined the forum.

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Hi Helen, welcome. You have a rewarding job there. Do you hand apply or spray clear finishes? What products do you gravitate towards?

Hi Andy,

we do have a pair of spray booths, but I teach hand applied finishes alongside traditional hand-work. Most of our students are amateur makers so for them, hand finishes are a more accessible and realistic option than spraying.

The school is part of a large professional cabinetmaking workshop and here spray finishes rule, especially as the majority of the work is made from MDF. Occasionally someone will get asked to supply a brushed finish, presumably because the customer wants to see brush marks. Which is funny considering how smooth a brushed finish can be.

Indeed. Unfortunately the paintwork on most peoples’ doors and architraves clouds the public’s perception of how good a finish is possible with a brush.