Applying Varnishes - Do You Know How?

01 July, 2020
If you want to protect wooden surfaces, a good solution is using varnishes. You can use these to add shine and create decorative effects on antique furniture.
 

Varnishes are a transparent or colorless coating that is made by drying oil, resin, and a proportion of solvent. However, before applying varnishes to a wooden surface, it’s important to choose a place to work that’s free of moisture. This prevents bubble sand defects in the finish.

To start, you can use different types of brushes. We recommend that you try several brushes until you find one that gives you the finish you want. Wide flat brushes tend to work well to varnish any smooth surfaces. On the other hand, round brushes work better when working on smaller parts or areas with carved details.

Regardless of which brush you choose, you should make sure it is high quality. Also, take good care of it and clean it after each use. In addition, don’t forget that you shouldn’t use varnish brushes to paint.

Maybe you have some wooden furniture, a door, or even a ceiling that needs a facelift. Well, with the two following techniques, you can completely update their look.

Applying varnishes with a brush

Before applying varnishes to a piece of furniture, you first need to make sure that the surface is completely clean. You also need to check that your work area is well ventilated.

Steps to follow

There are several steps to follow when applying varnishes.
 

Are you ready to learn this technique? Let’s get started! First, dip the tip of the brush into the varnish. Spread a thin coat over the wood, starting from the center and moving out to the sides. Then, once the coat is dry, rub it gently with sandpaper to ensure a good finish.

However, if you don’t notice a white powder while sanding, this means that the varnish isn’t dry yet. You should wait 24 hours and then try sanding again.

Then, remove the dust from sanding with a clean cloth. Finally, repeat this process again. Usually, three coats of varnish are enough. Make sure you apply the varnish in different directions and try to make them as thin as possible.

Once you’ve applied enough coats, rub the last layer gently with sandpaper or a fine steel sponge. If the sponge leaves any traces that spoil the final finish, you can always polish the furniture afterward.

Applying varnishes with a rag

This is a more elaborate technique that the previous one. It also requires a lot of patience. However, the finish is usually better. In fact, we recommend this method for elegant or classic-style furniture.

Steps to follow when applying varnishes with a rag

Another method of applying varnishes requires a rag.
 

Here are the steps to make sure you end up with perfect results! However, before you use this technique, we recommend you practice with an old piece of wood. Once you have practiced the technique, you should thoroughly clean the piece of furniture and apply a sealant. Then, rub the furniture gently with a steel sponge.

To make the rag you’ll work with, spread a clean piece of linen cloth on the table. Then, put a piece of cotton or wadded-up fabric inside. Next, pour the varnish on to the cotton or fabric. Finally, wrap the outer cloth around and twist it under the varnish passes through the linen. If the linen becomes too wet, remove any excess with a piece of absorbent paper.

Work slowly!

Someone putting varnish on a table.

First, start by gently rubbing the cloth in the direction of the grain. Then, leave the varnish to dry for about ten minutes. During this time, store your rag in a glass jar. Close the lid tightly to prevent the varnish from drying out.

Then, rub the surface with sandpaper and clean off the table. Next, begin applying the varnish again in the direction of the grain. Start making some figure eights and then spirals. Finally, work again in the same direction as the grain.

 

After applying several layers, you should see a deep shine on the surface of the wood. To finish, you should apply two or three layers of wax on top of the varnish.

As you can see, if you follow these steps and have a little patience, you’ll get wooden surfaces with a perfect finish! They will look like new. Dare to try it yourself!