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How to give your products the best possible finish

What sets professional woodworking apart from amateur? For those in the know, there are various giveaways – but finish is arguably the single biggest distinction.

DIYers tend to view the application of varnish or paint as a kind of coup de grace that they can use to mark the successful completion of a project. (Remember those thick, one-size-fits-all ‘one coat’ polyurethane varnishes that were popular 20 years ago?) Professionals, on the other hand, consider finishing as an extension of the production process. They approach it as a multi-stage operation, with subtleties that reflect the particular demands of the task in hand.

While it’s true that every quality finish is different, pros tend to begin from the same starting point, a ‘one-two’ in which the piece is first painted or varnished and then sanded down. Sometimes those two procedures are repeated several times over, while for other practitioners once-through is enough.

But ‘sanding down’ remains vitally important. Where the amateur’s hand-brushed varnish or paint job is allowed to stand with all its irregularities, the pro sands down every coat – even if it was applied in a spray booth.

So, you’ve committed to the old one-two. You want to apply the best finish, and you want to sand it down properly. Which products should you be using?

Stains, lacquers and varnishes are easy. In fact, if you’re a Redwood customer, you’ll already be aware of our fondness for the products of the German manufacturer Hesse Lignal. We’ve found Hesse stains and lacquers to deliver consistently high-quality finishes with excellent levelling properties – and their comprehensive range has solutions for professional woodworking operations at every scale, whether they’re lone practitioners or running a full-scale production line.

But even the best-behaved coating won’t eliminate the need for sanding down. We’re on a mission to get our customers to upgrade their abrasives, and we’ve made a number of high-profile converts to the products of our preferred supplier Sia Abrasives. Sia’s sanding disks and other consumables are both long-lived and easily replaceable.

With a finishing process based on the one-two of Hesse and Sia, you simply can’t go wrong. Give us a ring to learn more.