About Our Wood Finishes and Finishing Process
Our Wood Finishes
Our furniture is finished with a clear catalyzed conversion varnish topcoat. Because each step of the finishing process is carefully done by hand, it allows us to control quality while providing a completely unique piece for you.
Benefits of a catalyzed conversion varnish topcoat:
- Waterproof: It cannot be penetrated by liquids. If a liquid is spilled, simply wipe it dry. Condensation from a wet glass can be wiped dry. We personally have experience with a roof leak that caused water to sit on a table for an entire weekend. The table was wiped dry without damage.
- Curing: When you receive your furniture, the finish is 80% cured. It is ready to use immediately. It will only take 3-4 additional weeks for the final natural hardening.
- Durability: This topcoat is extremely durable, but will still scratch.
- Breathability: It allows wood to breathe and move with changes in humidity. This is a natural movement of wood.
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.