The ONLY Wood Finish I Need

The ONLY Wood Finish I Need

With about 15 years of woodworking experience under my belt, I’ve tinkered with a LOT of wood finishes. Over time I developed this finish, a shop-made blend of oils and urethanes that gives the protection of a film building finish but is as easy to use as an oil finish. It’s truly the only finish I need!

*Just to be clear, this is NOT food safe. Perhaps a video on my favorite food safe finish down the line? Let me know in the comments if you’d like to see that!

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Products I use in this video:
Minwax Polyurethane:
Liberon Finishing Oil:
Danish Oil (alternative):
Liberon Beeswax:
Mineral Spirits (alternative):


Items I keep on hand in the shop:
Titebond I Wood Glue:
Titebond III Wood Glue:
Titebond Quick and Thick:

Power Tools and Accessories:
Table Saw Blade – Woodworkers II:
My favorite trim router:
DeWalt Trim Router fence:
My Festool Router Setup:
Extra Fence:
1/2″ dia Router bit:
A Better Alternative (Spiral Up Cut):

Ohishi Waterstones:
1,000/8,000 Combo (great budget option):
Angle Setting Jig Plans:
Inexpensive Honing Guide:
Lie-Nieslen Honing Guide: guide
Sandpaper for Flattening:

My Finish Mix:
Minwax Polyurethane:
Liberon Finishing Oil:
Liberon Beeswax:

You can stay up to date with my work here:


  1. Tod E on July 20, 2023 at 2:28 pm

    This is a perfectly serviceable finish if you have the time and environment to use it.
    I’ll keep spraying 98% of the stuff I build because I’ve never been able to talk a customer into paying for the additional time.

  2. John Klimeck on July 20, 2023 at 2:28 pm

    I have a pretty good amount of experience finishing, guitars, tables, etc. I tried Rubio last week and I’ll tell you I don’t like it. It’s easily the worst I have ever used, in not going to even do a second coat application. What do you think about this poly mix / wax you do here, but on a maple coffee table? I have done your method on a walnut guitar, with thinned oil based poly. If it is thinned and has some additional oil to help distribute, it will not tack up quickly, and leave potential wiping marks or overlaps. Oil based poly is hard to get in CA, I’ll have to see if I still have some, and I have some Sutherland Wells catalyzed tung oil, with some thinner, I think that would be a nice wipe on finish. I find it has to dry several hours before you do additional coats. I would do this or I may use Royal Lac catalyzed shellac. This stuff is hard as car clear coat. Takes about 4-6 coats. The advantage here since it is alcohol based, it dries fast. One brush pass and it is dry to the touch. 2 hours to next coat. Of course this shellac finish is a building finish, but I have used this catalyzed Royal Lac, and it is the toughest thing out there and looks beautiful, several custom guitar shops are spraying it on bodies. I may just go this route, it dries fast, and much less smell, and zero oil rags….

  3. iron chef nakamura on July 20, 2023 at 2:30 pm

    It strikes me as odd to see quite a few younger woodworkers online who view finishes as some sort of esoteric secret (I am not trying to be the old guy dragging younger generations. Aside from being more of an idiot now than you will be at some arbitratry point in the future, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being young). Among all my friends as a child, I’d bet heavily everyone started out knowing how to do a proper French polish finish with shellac well before they were allowed to get near the table saw. Maybe because every household seemed to have at least one piece of furniture, or something like a piano, that was inevitably going to get dinged up and worn – who knows. Same with tool sharpening. I liked to watch my grandfather work in his shop. One day he gave me a couple of his beater chisels and told to go to the bench with all of his stones and put an edge on them. He never explained anything. He let me watch as he did his expensive chisels, and gave me hints along the way, but he otherwise just told me to figure it out. Figuring it out took months since I was usually only at his place on weekends, but feeling a burr across the entire edge was maybe the first time I felt proud. Still, with regards to raising kids, its probably a case of the old ways not exactly being the best ways. If I had dropped either, they could pontentially have taken part of my foot off. Anyway, the first tip I had was in regards to oily rags and spontaneous combustion. The one way my dad and grandfather dealt with them was to throw them in a bucket, take them outside along with a MAPP gas or propane torch, and subject them to some deliberate combustion. Assuming you don’t gaf about the environment. Second tip was if you can construct a box, or a birdhouse, or get one of those paint stirring sticks from HD and write/burn LIVE LOVE LAUGH on it, you can finish wood. Just go for it.

  4. Gabriel Simões on July 20, 2023 at 2:30 pm

    congratulations on your work, as for the finish, what is the proportion of wax, oil and thinner? I’m Brazilian and I admire your work from abroad!

  5. ChrisTerry on July 20, 2023 at 2:33 pm

    Hey- I’m new to this, what is your sanding process look like before your finish?

  6. Joy Knollenberg on July 20, 2023 at 2:39 pm

    Doesn’t the wax finish need to be renewed after a while?

  7. Jorge Gamas on July 20, 2023 at 2:40 pm

    I tried and failed miserably. I got a thick milky thing at the bottom, I suspect the problem is the oil I used 😂

  8. David W on July 20, 2023 at 2:42 pm

    I think the perfect finish was probably natural resin varnishes from fossil/semi-fossil tree resins. But there’s a true case with a discussion of finishes that first, it’s the job of the finisher to understand what they’re using and get the most out of it (gloss cheap minwax oil polyurethane can make a pretty good finish if done properly). Second, if someone is putting a matte finish on a harvest table and talking to another dude who is brushing finishes on guitars and then sanding the finish back to a gloss, the two never shall meet with any agreement.

    Here’s my contribution to the discussion – there are people way above me in terms of finishing, but this is a fossil copal varnish that I cooked (resin, linseed oil cooked very hot and bonded to each other, then thinned with turpentine). It is harder than canned urethanes, tougher than the hard can urethanes and completely indifferent to water, and tolerant of higher temperatures if you accidentally put something hot on them. You can see the depth imparted on lowly beech wood (ignore the black line – it divides two separate batches of varnish just to make sure that they don’t look different on wood). it is absolute fire on figured wood without any screwing around with dyes or any such thing. It can be rubbed or brushed, or for the brave, thinned and sprayed, and has a life-span of hundreds of years. The finish in the jar will not degrade over time and could be used 75 years from now as long as the dryers are mixed in the batch being applied and not the whole jar – it may actually be better with 75 years of aging than it is as cooked. And if driers aren’t desirable for health reasons, it will cure in a matter of hours in direct sunlight without the need to use them.

    The secret in it is very old resins that have done their aging and oxidizing in the past – they’re more stable than the phenol and urethane and alkyd resins in synthetic finishes.

  9. John Klimeck on July 20, 2023 at 2:44 pm

    Also, on this board, what did you sand to, 180?, 220?

  10. Jano Djano on July 20, 2023 at 2:44 pm

    Well I’m going to add that to what I do.

    But I would never give away my secrets, of how I make things look the way I do.

    Cheers and Enjoy what you do.

  11. Woodnote Studio on July 20, 2023 at 2:44 pm

    I would love to see a video on how you finish cutting boards. This was excellent and I will be using this going forward. Do you have a timeframe on how long this mix lasts after you make a batch?

  12. Mario Zeledon on July 20, 2023 at 2:45 pm

    as an interpreter it is of particular interest to me what; just what on Earth is shettoyance… shatoyance? I don’t even know how to write that down and I’m so confused

  13. Squiggly Line on July 20, 2023 at 2:49 pm

    I buy the wipe on poly because it’s thinned for you. Then I add an oil, usually Tung. The poly helps it dry faster too.

  14. Haku Woodworks on July 20, 2023 at 2:51 pm

    Was the 4/20 date on the bottle at the end an Easter egg as well?

  15. John Klimeck on July 20, 2023 at 2:52 pm

    I am getting rag drag marks. I will use a gray 3M pad to try to get them out….otherwise I think it’s sand off time and Royal Lac catalyzed shellac….

  16. David Druzisky on July 20, 2023 at 2:53 pm

    So can an aniline dye be added to the concoction?

  17. johnnyrojr13 on July 20, 2023 at 2:54 pm

    Does the type of poly matter? Does it have to be the fast dry?

  18. jjdawg on July 20, 2023 at 2:59 pm

    Oatey toilet bowl wax rings, turpentine, and lacquer thinner for me.

  19. Ryan Hoopes on July 20, 2023 at 2:59 pm

    Question? If you happen to come across this. with your first oil finish mixture, have you ever noticed the oils over soaked and needed to wait longer than 24 hours? I’m guessing you just have to play with the mixture to achieve a 24 hour re-coat time. What I’m trying to 100% achieve is a quicker re-coat time with oils before waxing.

  20. Jim Aspin II on July 20, 2023 at 3:00 pm

    Food safe finish video would be wonderful! Thanks for all you do!!!

  21. Tony Flaton on July 20, 2023 at 3:01 pm

    Thanks for the knowledge! How long can you keep the mix in the jar? In case you would use it for one project and the next project is later on the line.

  22. Justin Banks on July 20, 2023 at 3:01 pm

    Late to this, but will definitely have to give this a try.

    I would definitely like to see a similar video on what you ise for food safe finish. (I don’t see one after this video, apologize if i missed it)

  23. James Y on July 20, 2023 at 3:02 pm

    I’m pretty new to this so forgive me if it’s a dumb question, but how do I best clean the 3m sponge you’re using? Also, if I make your finish mixture and some of it spills, what’s the best way to safely clean it? Thank you!

  24. Brian Curtis on July 20, 2023 at 3:02 pm

    I love the fact you’re sanding while adding the next coat. Perfect!

  25. Liz Crawford Swift on July 20, 2023 at 3:03 pm

    Yes please! Food safe finish. I just found you!! Yay!

  26. Ernest Ramirez on July 20, 2023 at 3:03 pm

    Hello, I wanted to ask if I can use this finish for a coffee table? Thank you

  27. lordbyroni on July 20, 2023 at 3:04 pm

    I toss my oil rags in a- the burn barrel, or b- a bucket of water. Haven’t burned my shop down yet

  28. Blue Wren on July 20, 2023 at 3:04 pm

    I love this idea of an oil/wax finish aesthetic with a dose of poly durability! This is a must try.

  29. Christos Zografos on July 20, 2023 at 3:04 pm

    Nice simple video. Thanks for the tip. I’m making a kitchen island with butcher block top mixed with tiles. So, I’m definitely going to try the second part of the finish (waxing). Only difference is I’m using a water based polyurethane finish… Thanks again.

  30. german ruiz on July 20, 2023 at 3:06 pm

    Hello, thanks for your video. In my country there is no Liberon Finishing Oil product. Do you have any idea what alternative product I can use? Thank you and sorry, I don’t speak English. Translated text

  31. CLUTCHSHIFTRACE on July 20, 2023 at 3:07 pm

    This gives me ideas… could i get a similar outcome using a mixture of mineral spirits, wipe on poly, and some stain? Would it allow the stain to absorb more “buttery” in color and feel? Most of builds right now are pine so i try to add a little color without over saturating it, just dont like how dark it makes it. I nailed it once, but didn’t pay attention to my process and cannot repeat it 😮. I’ve saved the items to try this the next time I’m shopping. Thank you! Forgive the long winded comment.

  32. Gerald Evans on July 20, 2023 at 3:08 pm

    Amazing work ,makes me envious .🤙

  33. Keith Peterson on July 20, 2023 at 3:09 pm

    I like the simplicity of your method which tight-pored woods like hard maple look beautiful. Years ago I built a period-correct longrifle out of a red maple stock blank with a beautiful curl. I used the period-correct stain of a dangerous combination of 18-molar nitric acid, water and a ball of steel wool. My mixture was 4 parts water to one part acid AND ALWAYS POUR THE ACID INTO THE WATER! Wearing both safety googles and a face shield I added the water. Taking the mixture outside and pointing away from my face, I put the entire steel wool ball in the solution.

    It flashed off instantly and left me a beautiful reddish-brown stain. The process requires all smoothing prior to application of the stain – NO STEEL WOOL, or the acid and steel fibers will make "freckles" in the finish. After drying overnight, I flashed off the stain with a propane torch with low flame and light passes. Funny, it looked like a rusty rifle, LOL. Then was the time for steel wool and final smoothing. After a once-over with a tack cloth, I began applying boiled linseed oil. I applied 20 coats, rubbing vigorously after each coat was dry. The end result was deep-rubbed luster and prominent display of the wood’s curl. Beautiful.

  34. Thomas Schäfer on July 20, 2023 at 3:09 pm

    I use Arbeitsplattenöl from zweihorn. If the oil is gone you start again. 👍👍🇩🇪

  35. A A on July 20, 2023 at 3:09 pm

    "Can you see any defect on the underside of this lid?" *flips up a big smeared shiny mess of waxy globs* Uhhh…. I can’t see anything anymore, not even wood! *LOL*
    On a more serious note, thank-you for sharing your technique for a beautiful wood finish. 🙂

  36. Joseph Green on July 20, 2023 at 3:09 pm

    how can you make this a food-safe product?

  37. Ernest Ramirez on July 20, 2023 at 3:09 pm

    Just wanted to ask, if someone places a wet glass on your table will it leave a water ring

  38. Intelligent Gluteus-Maximus on July 20, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    Can mineral spirits be substituted for the turpentine?

  39. Angie Williams on July 20, 2023 at 3:12 pm

    Seems like a great finish to try. It looks amazing. Curious about how durable it is? For say… a table top.

  40. Alex Lopez on July 20, 2023 at 3:18 pm

    As a luthier, I’m always concerned about the durability of a guitar finish that can withstand sweat while being as thin as possible. How would you modify this finish for an electric or acoustic guitar?

  41. Amy Holderness on July 20, 2023 at 3:19 pm

    I want to try this method of finishing. Question: I assume (we all know what that means) that the poly you use is oil based but the can says "fast drying." Is it acrylic or oil based poly. Just wanted to check first. Thanks for another great video.

  42. DIY Home & Garden Projects on July 20, 2023 at 3:19 pm

    What no mug? Where is your favorite mug?

  43. Thomas Clarke on July 20, 2023 at 3:20 pm

    Far out (as we used to say)

  44. DMC and Me on July 20, 2023 at 3:21 pm

    Nice process. I’m a DIY’er. Have to admit that I had to Google chatoyancy 😂

  45. Marvin Nelson on July 20, 2023 at 3:22 pm

    Nice to hear it is easy to repair. Would you consider doing a short video showing how?

  46. Rick Bennett on July 20, 2023 at 3:23 pm

    I just tried using this finishing method for the first time on a build for a client. I have to say, I love it!! Thanks for the info. How do you find this stands up for you?

  47. Redthumb45 on July 20, 2023 at 3:25 pm

    Thanks for this!! I’m trying it this week as I have a few bowls that I’m finishing. The only thing about this that is a problem for me is the curing time. As a bowl turner I’m always looking for the 20 min. finish. Can the wax layer be brought to a higher gloss, that is without burning the finish trying to buff on the lathe.

  48. argonaut3001 on July 20, 2023 at 3:25 pm

    Beautiful. I’m used to fine steel wool/Danish oil in 3 or 4 layers rubbing along the grain. Now I’m thinking about those scotchbrite type discs on an angle grinder with your mix. Hopefully not abrasive enough to mess with the grain but quicker?

  49. FiscalWoofer on July 20, 2023 at 3:25 pm

    Well that is exactly what I’ve been looking for to compare with my normal method – this wins hands down! It is fairly time consuming for larger items like desks though! Super video, I love the easy repair aspect, as clients always do something to the finish that needs a small touch up in a few years.

  50. Robert Dailey - Dailey Woodworks on July 20, 2023 at 3:27 pm

    I like it. I’ve been spraying pre-cat lacquer for years and wanting to find something safer yet easy to apply.

    I tried Rubio but have a pretty bad allergic reaction to it. I love BLO but need something more durable.

    My only "negative" would be dry time. With Pre-Cat (and $$$$ of equipment) I can do three full coats in 1/2 a day and deliver it the next. Hard to make the switch in a time is money environment.

    However, I like the simplicity and the lower toxicity of this.

    How do you like this finish on higher use items like tables?