Portrait

Fast Finishing Tips

Follow these helpful hints to finish a woodworking project and you'll be proud to say I made it myself.

By Gene And Katie Hamilton

When building your first project with a kid, choose a finishing technique that looks good and takes little time to apply. Avoid paint and other finishes that require a brush, because they can be messy and require lots of cleanup time. These types of finishes also require a long drying time between coats. We like to use spray paint or natural, wipe-on paste or oil finishes. With a wipe-on finish, all you need is a rag to apply it, and there's no danger of drip marks or uneven coverage.

Kids love to see their name in print, so consider using a set of letter stencils and spray paint to personalize a project. Depending on the project, it might be appropriate to stencil large block letters in plain view or to use small letters or carve or write initials on the bottom of a piece to identify the craftsman.

Putting the piece in a vise or on top of a block of wood can make it easy to finish a woodworking project in one setting. In this way, the entire project is raised up from the work surface and can be finished at one time.