Finishing Methods - Giancarlo Studio Furniture

Finishing Methods: How Furniture Is Finished: Giancarlo Studio Furniture employs an extensive knowledge of materials, engineering, and design to create the heirlooms of tomorrow. Building furniture is a precise science. Finish selection and application can enhance or ruin a piece of furniture. There are proper and improper methods of finishing furniture. From surface preparation to the application of the finish, every step must be meticulously performed in order to achieve a perfect result. This page highlights features of both high quality and poor quality finishes.

 

Finishing Methods

Finish selection and application can enhance or ruin a piece of furniture. There are proper and improper methods of finishing furniture. From surface preparation to the application of the finish, every step must be meticulously performed in order to achieve a perfect result. This page highlights features of both high quality and poor quality finishes.

 
 
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Poor Quality: Painted Furniture

Painted furniture represents the lowest possible quality of furniture. Painted furniture is always made of the cheapest materials and utilizes poor quality construction methods. Painting a surface allows a furniture maker to hide a myriad of cost cutting tricks.

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Poor Quality: Glazed Furniture

Glazed furniture represents the majority of fake, low quality furniture. Glaze is a thin coat of color that produces a translucent film on the surface of the wood. Glazed furniture is always constructed from softwoods or cheap hardwoods - which are white or yellow in color. Glazed furniture usually reveals itself by normal wear and tear. If a piece of furniture is glazed brown, scratches will appear white and yellow as the glaze chips, flakes, and rubs off - exposing the cheap, poor-quality substrate material. This is normally evident towards the bottom of legs and edges of tables. Furniture made with wood that has a natural color (i.e. walnut, mahogany) will have scratches and chips the same color as the finished piece.

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Poor Quality: Stained/Dyed Furniture

Dye and stain are colored pigments dissolved in or carried by a solvent. When a solution of a particular color has been created, it may be applied to raw wood in order to alter the color. in practice, dye or stain is usually applied to softwoods or cheap hardwoods in order to make them look like more expensive hardwoods. To the untrained eye, dyed and stained furniture can be quite convincing. However, the grain patterns of cheaper woods are vastly different than those expensive hardwoods.

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Poor Quality: Feathered Finishes

An easy way to identify poor quality furniture is a feathered finish. A feathered finish is one that becomes darker towards the end of junctures of two boards. This technique is used to hide sloppy joinery and poor building practices. Furniture with a feathered finish holds no value because it is indicative of bad practice.

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High Quality: French Polish

French polish is the slow application of shellac with a pad. The liquid shellac solution penetrates into the wood fibers to both protect and smooth the surface. Thin layers of shellac are applied to the surface in order to build a thin, protective film that highlight the natural beauty of the wood. A french polished finish is the most luxurious and time-intensive finish to use on wood. It provides good protection against spills and scratches and is relatively easy to repair when compared to other finishes.

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High Quality: Lacquer

Lacquer is a herd-wearing, transparent finish that builds a thick film of protection on top of the surface of the wood. Lacquer is sprayed in thin coats and buffed out to an impeccable shine after it has fully cured. A lacquered finish provides great protection against spills and scratches and is relatively easy to repair when compared to other finishes.

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High Quality: Varnish

Varnish is a hardened resin that builds a thick film of protection on top of the wood's surface. Oil-based varnishes sink deep into the grain of the wood, allowing the character of the wood to be revealed in a very beautiful way. Varnish offers the best protection against spills, scratches, and ultra-violet light, but is very difficult to repair when compared to other finishes.

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High Quality: Tung/Linseed Oil

Tung Oil and Linseed Oil are drying oils that penetrate deep into the wood without building a film of protection on top of the wood's surface. Penetrating oils allow the character of the wood to be revealed in a very beautiful way. Penetrating oils offer little to no protection against spills, scratches, or ultra-violet light, and is easy, but time intensive to repair.

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High Quality: Oil-Varnish Mix

An oil-varnish mix is a normal varnish with linseed oil "cooked" into the varnish. An oil-varnish mix penetrates deep into the wood fibers and cures slowly while drawing out the natural beauty of the wood. An oil-varnish mix does not build a film and does not offer any scratch protection, but is spill-proof. Pieces finished with an oil-varnish mix must be maintained bi-annually.

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