Do It Yourself: Tips For Applying Wood Varnish Properly

Applying wood varnish is like applying paint, but there are some important differences. Here's how to do it correctly.

Varnish is a popular covering for many types of wood. You can find it most often on furniture, fancy woodworking, and baseboards. Varnish gives wood a shiny, protective covering that resists water, dirt, grease, and other contaminants.

To properly apply varnish to a wood surface, you must first prepare an acceptable work area. This area needs to be in a room that has plenty of fresh air circulating through it. The room must also be between sixty - five and seventy degrees Fahrenheit in order for the varnish to dry properly. And, here's another tip: don't place the wood in direct sunlight to work on it. The heat will cause the varnish to dry too fast.

If the wood has already been varnished, you will need to check its condition. If the varnish is old and discolored, chipped, or otherwise damaged, you will first need to remove it by using a good quality wood stripper. Be sure to read the manufacturer's instructions on the container in order to achieve the best results.



If, on the other hand, the wood you are going to varnish is bare, it needs to be clean, dry, and free from contaminants. Here's an important tip: bare wood needs to be smoothed down with a very fine grade of sandpaper. When you sand the wood, make sure that you sand with the grain of the wood. Never sand against the grain because that will scratch the wood.

The next step is to choose the right brush for the job. For brushing on varnish, you want a china bristle brush. The natural bristles are absorbent, and they will help to alleviate runs and lines in the finish. Always use a new, clean brush for applying varnish on wood.

Now it's time to open the can of varnish and prepare to seal the wood with the first coat. Be sure to read the manufacturer's instructions on the container in order to achieve the best results. However, here's a tip you need to know: the bare wood needs to be sealed first and foremost. The best sealer you can use is the varnish itself. But, in order to give the best performance, it will need to be thinned down before you use it. To do this, pour out a measured amount of the varnish into a clean container with a wide mouth. The amount depends on how big the entire wood surface is. Then, pour in the same amount of mineral spirits, and stir slowly, but thoroughly.

To use the varnish sealer, dip your china bristle brush into the container. Raise the brush up, and wait a few seconds for the excess solution to run back into the container. Then, brush the varnish onto the bare wood by using long, straight strokes. For the best results, be sure to brush with the grain of the wood, and brush the varnish on evenly.

You will need to allow this first coat to completely dry overnight before you proceed on to the next step. Once the wood is dry, you will need to use a fine sandpaper to lightly smooth the surface. Here's a tip to help you determine if the varnish is completely dry: if the sandpaper produces a dust when used, then the vanish is ready to sand. If, however, rubbing the sandpaper across the wood surface produces tiny balls of varnish, then it is not dry yet. After it is dry, then wipe the wood clean of the sanding dust with a soft, clean cloth. Then, repeat the sealing process with one or two more coats of thinned - down varnish.

Finally, you will apply the varnish in basically the same manner you used when you brushed the sealer on the wood. Pour some of the varnish out of the can into a clean container with a wide mouth. Here's a valuable tip: Never dip your brush directly into the original can of varnish. This can contaminate the entire can. Dip your china bristle brush into the container. Then raise the brush up, and wait a few seconds for the excess solution to run back into the container. Then, brush the varnish onto the bare wood by using long, straight strokes. For the best results, be sure to brush with the grain of the wood, and brush the varnish on evenly.

As each coat dries, be sure that you lightly sand each coat before applying the next one. Here's a tip about the sandpaper: as each sheet becomes worn down and soiled, replace it often with a new sheet.

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