Finding the Perfect Finish

Finding the Perfect Finish

Experienced craftsmen and women all have a “go-to” finish — a versatile wood finish that takes minimal time and effort to apply. They use this for most projects, simplifying their finishing needs. These needs vary, so Nick shows how to find your personal go-to finish from the hundreds of choices that are available to you. He starts with some basic “coating chemistry” to reduce confusion and help you make an informed choice. Then he walks you though a simple experiment designed to compare the characteristics of popular commercial finishes.

0:00 Intro
1:58 Why Apply a Finish?
4:11 Coating Chemistry
5:32 Coating Processes & Applications
8:52 Spray-on Coating Application
9:35 Brush-on Coating Application
10:00 Wipe-on Coating Application
11:24 Surveying the Available Finishes
13:00 Tested Finishes
14:44 Finish on Glass Test Discussion
15:14 Food Safe Finish Discussion
16:47 Testing the Finishes (Method discussion)
21:08 Hope’s Tung Oil Results
21:33 Tried & True Original Linseed Results
22:12 Minwax Tung Oil Finish Results
22:50 General Finishes Wood Bowl Finish Results
23:20 Minwax Antique Oil Finish Results
23:43 Minwax Wipe on Poly Results
24:17 General Finishes Arm-R-Seal Gloss Results
24:46 Baloney-IMHO disclaimer!
25:20 Rudy’s Original Wipe-On Finish Formula

Nick has gathered high-resolution photos of the test boards and plastic plates he used to compare seven finishes in article titled, “Comparing Wipe-On Finishes.” This is available for FREE from the Workshop Companion General Store at https://workshopcompanionstore.com/products/comparing-wipe-on-finishes .

He has also updated a section from his finishing book on reading wood finish labels and Safety Data Sheets titled “Labels and Data Sheets: Incomplete Information.” This too is available for FREE at https://workshopcompanionstore.com/products/labels-and-data-sheets-incomplete-information .

And if you’d just like to have the book that Nick wrote on “Finishing,” — which includes all this information and a great deal more — that too is available at https://workshopcompanionstore.com/products/finishing .

If you see anything in this video that you would like to use in your own shop, you can help us out big time by buying it through our Amazon affiliate links.

Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane – https://amzn.to/3DTphFd
Minwax Tung oil – https://amzn.to/3fNHs7g
Minwax Antique oil – https://amzn.to/3TnZgDE
Hope’s Pure Tung oil – https://amzn.to/3Up605l
General Finish Arm-R-Seal – https://amzn.to/3zXJcBK
MinWax Water based Wipe on Poly – https://amzn.to/3hoJM4W
Tried & True Original Wood Finish – https://amzn.to/3O6sFkR

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#woodworking #wood #DIY #finish #finishes #finishing #wipe-on #chemistry #comparison #Hope’s #Tried-and-True #General-Finishes #Minwax

50 Comments

  1. Allan Clark on January 6, 2023 at 2:03 am

    wonderful video i do a few different wood projects as i make chopping boards and do renovations too and have used brush on and wipe on too so seeing how to apply and what each type does is a great learning aid



  2. Laura Tempestini on January 6, 2023 at 2:04 am

    What would you use on cork?



  3. Intrepidus on January 6, 2023 at 2:06 am

    This content is presented in the mold of a scientific publication. To boot – it’s entertaining. Thank you so much for this Nick. If this is a taste of what’s in the book – I’m a customer.



  4. Yellow Cat on January 6, 2023 at 2:07 am

    isn’t Rudy’s formula basically Danish oil?



  5. m m on January 6, 2023 at 2:08 am

    What about hard wax oils? Like Rubio, Osmo, Odies, and Pallmann?



  6. Rick Martin on January 6, 2023 at 2:09 am

    Hahaha 15:59 – Finishing phobia, well played.

    Fantastic lesson, thank you. We have plenty of heaps of good videos on this topic, but this is the first I’ve seen that breaks it down just right to understand why and how each finish does what it does.



  7. mlem on January 6, 2023 at 2:11 am

    Thank you for the extraordinarily informative video.
    You didn’t talk about spray on finished that come in cans, which is a much lower barrier to entry than the spray gun.
    Are these any good?
    It seems here in Australia, spray laqcuer which I hear a lot about on YouTube, is not readily available or called varnish (maybe, it’s not clear).
    It’s hard to find clarity as a beginner.



  8. Stephanie Palmer on January 6, 2023 at 2:11 am

    So helpful & informative! Thank you!



  9. Bob Wareham on January 6, 2023 at 2:11 am

    Thank you for your knowledge and recommendation it was very long and very helpful, simple when you know-how!



  10. Alan Grochulski on January 6, 2023 at 2:13 am

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge. Certainly learned a lot that I did not know about finishes and will use this in future projects. Regards Alan.



  11. Stephen White on January 6, 2023 at 2:15 am

    Awesome info! Would this be good to mix in a big batch and use to protect wood siding on a house? Specifically cedar? Or is this more for furniture?

    Has anyone tested this mix against the one on this channel…. https://youtu.be/2e9lfhmBgYU



  12. William Woody on January 6, 2023 at 2:17 am

    Amazing analysis. I’m embarrassed to say that I put less thought into a mortgage than this.



  13. bob clapper on January 6, 2023 at 2:18 am

    Glad I found your channel , I’m learning a lot !



  14. Tony Jones on January 6, 2023 at 2:19 am

    This has the feel of a pbs show. It was done great and has all the hallmarks of being professionally written. With the I’m just about to tell you but hold on technique and was worth not fast forwarding. We are blessed to have you making these videos.



  15. StinkyParadox on January 6, 2023 at 2:20 am

    This channel is a treasure. Did you come to a finding on the elasticity of the finishes and how they hold up under seasonal movement? Just curious. I’ll try Rudy’s finish i’m betting it satisfies in that department.



  16. ACme Meat & Smoke on January 6, 2023 at 2:21 am

    You sir, are the Alton Brown of wood. I needed this info badly….thank you so much for your time, information, and generosity.



  17. Vens Roofcat on January 6, 2023 at 2:23 am

    Great review for those stumbling upon all the finishes available. I could spend a few hundred $ and 1 month testing them all (not really, who am I kidding) or just watch this video. I would probably go with Antique Oil after watching this. While your choice would be my second. The thing is I’m kind of tired of yellowing all wood. The lighter kind in particular. I would further boost the light bouncing and magnify the grain, character a bit. Preserve the light and original variety the wood has by nature but better "readable". Though that all could be different if I were living further south with more intense daylight. So I guess there is no single perfect coat after all. 👍



  18. MadMonk67 on January 6, 2023 at 2:24 am

    Definitely going to try Rudy’s formula on my next project.



  19. Francois Dupont on January 6, 2023 at 2:25 am

    7:42 i thought that linseed oil oxidized with air and created a stable layer. it is why the famous stories of linseed oil rags catching fire. you can also see on oil linseed oil bottle numerous layers of "dried" oil drippings.



  20. Ben McLendon on January 6, 2023 at 2:26 am

    Are those pizza spacers? 🙂



  21. velosapien on January 6, 2023 at 2:27 am

    You missed one at 10:05 Application methods – 4. Wax on, Wax off



  22. thismonthindub on January 6, 2023 at 2:28 am

    Props on the citation from Dante’s Inferno above the storage cupboard. Abandon all hope, ye who enter here! 🙂 Karl Marx used the same for Capital vol. 1.



  23. Jim Gallagher on January 6, 2023 at 2:28 am

    Finally, someone has broken through the finish code! Thank you. One question though, will Rudy’s formula work on a walnut gunstock?



  24. mav5204 on January 6, 2023 at 2:28 am

    Have you tried Osmo oil?



  25. Turgut Küney on January 6, 2023 at 2:30 am

    Hello, I really thank you for your detailed video. I’m gonna keep it to watch again.



  26. Angelus Mortis on January 6, 2023 at 2:30 am

    would you recommend this finish for a butcher block countertop thats being used for a computer desk? want something that is durable yet pretty… as you have to look at it constantly…



  27. Eduardo Lucas Castro on January 6, 2023 at 2:32 am

    Liked and subscribed. Thank you for knowledge old timer



  28. Sh3LaLa on January 6, 2023 at 2:35 am

    You are a fantastic teacher sir! Thank you for sharing your knowledge and doing these experiments!



  29. William on January 6, 2023 at 2:36 am

    Great video. You didn’t mention water resistance of any of these products. I’m building a vanity that will hold a bowl sink. It will be constructed primarily of walnut harvested from our property. Is Rudy’s (now your) mix a good choice? We don’t have small children so durability is secondary to water resistance and appearance. Thanks.



  30. Colin Graham on January 6, 2023 at 2:37 am

    Hands down the most comprehensive and accessible video on wood finishing I’ve ever seen. That mixture of information, production quality and on screen charisma is not easy to pull off. Thank you, sir. Much appreciated.



  31. Chris VenHaus on January 6, 2023 at 2:40 am

    Great video. Thank you. I’ve been a fan of the Minwax Antique Oil for years, ever since I learned about it in a gun stock finishing forum. What would you recommend for a guitar body made with black limba (open pore wood). I was thinking Minwax antique oil (or polymerized Tung Oil) and sanding it in to work up a slurry, and ‘grain fill’ that way, and then maybe overlay that with Rudy’s recipe? Looking for the ‘look’ of french polish, but with better durability… Thanks again.



  32. Miranda Mom on January 6, 2023 at 2:40 am

    I loved this. Funny thing, I use water based poly BECAUSE it doesn’t warm (or in my parlance, “yellow” 😏) the wood. To each her own!



  33. Ian Casey on January 6, 2023 at 2:41 am

    Excellent video! Excellent content!
    Professional production! Humble delivery!

    I can’t wait to hear of your results of future experiments!

    Thanks a lot!



  34. Drew B on January 6, 2023 at 2:44 am

    After seeing this, I’d feel like an idiot if I didn’t try his recipe on my next project.



  35. Mike Rouch on January 6, 2023 at 2:46 am

    Takes days for tung oil to dry enough to apply another coat. Probably the same with the wax and linseed.



  36. Morgan s on January 6, 2023 at 2:46 am

    I’m surprised shellac didn’t really get mentioned



  37. mbfarms1 on January 6, 2023 at 2:48 am

    What would you guess the re-coat times would be in 70 degree low humidity shop. I’m assuming the Tung oil is slow to absorb, but didn’t know if the Spar added would change it for the final coats.



  38. Kebekwoodcraft on January 6, 2023 at 2:48 am

    Very interesting and great information , one thing I will add is how easy to repair ? 😊
    I am in the tung oil easy to apply and repair plus the dust in the air don’t matter !😊



  39. Stephen White on January 6, 2023 at 2:48 am

    This is an amazing master class on finishes! Thank you!!!



  40. Remote-Controled-Nate on January 6, 2023 at 2:49 am

    This video is ridiculously good. Thank you so very much for all of your time, effort, and expertise!



  41. Sandra Maher on January 6, 2023 at 2:49 am

    You are a wonderful and very interesting teacher, thank you so much for sharing your invaluable information.



  42. able724 on January 6, 2023 at 2:49 am

    Love the presentation. Love the thoroughness of the information provided. This is, simply awesome. His presentation reminds me so much of the old wood working shows I used to watch on PBS. It’s awesome.



  43. Trish McElderry on January 6, 2023 at 2:52 am

    Thank you so much for your terrific channel. 😊



  44. Shu Doo on January 6, 2023 at 2:54 am

    Wish I could be a student in his workshop. Of course just grateful that he shares his valuable knowledge through YouTube.



  45. Swarm509 on January 6, 2023 at 2:56 am

    0:00 Intro
    1:58 Why Apply a Finish?
    4:11 Coating Chemistry
    5:32 Coating Processes & Applications
    8:52 Spray-on Coating Application
    9:35 Brush-on Coating Application
    10:00 Wipe-on Coating Application
    11:24 Surveying the Available Finishes
    13:00 Tested Finishes
    14:44 Finish on Glass Test Discussion
    15:14 Food Safe Finish Discussion
    16:47 Testing the Finishes (Method discussion)
    21:08 Hope’s Tung Oil Results
    21:33 Tried & True Original Linseed Results
    22:12 Minwax Tung Oil Finish Results
    22:50 General Finishes Wood Bowl Finish Results
    23:20 Minwax Antique Oil Finish Results
    23:43 Minwax Wipe on Poly Results
    24:17 General Finishes Arm-R-Seal Gloss Results
    24:46 Baloney-IMHO disclaimer!
    25:20 Rudy’s Original Wipe-On Finish Formula



  46. Todd Desylva on January 6, 2023 at 2:56 am

    Hey Nick thank you for your wisdom on the matter of finishes sir you are a character 🙂. I was wondering if Rudy’s blend would work good on western red cedar because I’m going to be putting a live edge piece on French cleats in the kitchen on the wall. 9ft long I’m wondering if I should just keep using cabots deck and siding sealer all natural or try Rudys blend or if you have a different suggestion for cedar?



  47. PanamaSticks on January 6, 2023 at 2:57 am

    According to your (subjective) test results, the Minwax Antique Oil Finish scored very highly. Curious why you didn’t test Rudi’s finish and compare it with the others.



  48. Timothy Mossholder on January 6, 2023 at 2:57 am

    Great video, this is wonderful advice! I have also had good results with UV cure products from Solarez, very easy to work with as a wipe on, 100% solids product that builds very quickly.



  49. Chris on January 6, 2023 at 3:00 am

    Wow, excellent presentation and attention to detail. Thank you for sharing your work.



  50. Mauro Baiardi Twerd on January 6, 2023 at 3:00 am

    Amazing video 100% gold information. Watched and took notes from the start, subscribed and liked.