About Our Wood Finishes and Finishing Process

Our Wood Finishes

Our furniture is finished with a clear catalyzed conversion varnish. Conversion varnish is the most commonly used finish for high-end furniture. When properly cared for, the beauty of the finish will be enjoyed for many generations.

Benefits of a conversion varnish topcoat:

  • Moisture-Resistant: Our finish is resistant to moisture damage. When you spill something on your furniture, simply wipe it up and allow it to dry. For example, if you leave a glass on your furniture overnight, it will likely leave a moisture ring. However, simply dry the liquid and the finish will allow the moisture to dissipate within a few hours. This is not true for the finish used on lower quality furniture.
  • Durable: Our finish is fully cured within 30 days of being applied. Once fully cured, it provides excellent resistance to damage from food, beverages, and common household chemicals.

Guidance for preserving the beauty of your conversion varnish topcoat:

  • Only use wax-free polishes on your topcoat. Polishes with wax can leave a build up which clouds the finish.
  • Avoid cleaners containing bleach which can break down the finish.
  • Avoid cleaners with abrasives which can scratch the finish.
  • Avoid cleaners with ammonia which can discolor the finish.
  • Dyes and ink may discolor the finish. For example, ink and dyes from newspapers and plastic bags may penetrate the finish if they are moist.
  • Conversion varnish is a hard mar-resistant surface, but like any finish on real wood, it can be scratched or damaged without proper care.

The Finishing Process

Each step of the sanding and finishing process varies slightly depending on the finish
shop and type of color. When an unfinished piece of furniture reaches the finish shop, typically
it will go through the following process:

  • Sanding Round #1: Sanding is extremely important to achieve a smooth finish. The
    smallest factors such as sandpaper grit and the direction of sanding motion make a difference in
    the finished piece. The piece is thoroughly cleaned to remove any sandpaper grit or dirt.
  • Finish Coat #1: A color of your choice is sprayed, then wiped. Wiping is crucial to even
    out color variation in the finished piece. Most of our stain colors are a single step process,
    however, many finish shops use colors that require multiple steps. The color is left to cure and
  • Finish Coat #2: When the color coat has dried, a clear sealer is sprayed on top. The
    sealer locks in the color and prevents the wood from warping or expanding and contracting.
    Some finish shops will bake the piece in an oven to harden the sealer.
  • Sanding Round #2: The piece is sanded again. This sanding opens the wood pores to
    prepare for the topcoat. The piece is thoroughly cleaned again.
  • Finish Coat #3: A clear catalyzed conversion varnish topcoat is sprayed. “Catalyzed”
    means a catalyst is used to harden and cure the topcoat. The topcoat booth is typically a
    sealed off room with ventilation to prevent dirt or dust from getting into the topcoat. Any dust
    or dirt will create bubbles in the finish. It takes a very steady hand to spray the topcoat to
    prevent runs or bubbles.
  • Curing: The piece is moved to another sealed off room to cure. Some finish shops use
    ovens to bake the finish.