7 Types Of Wood Finishes & Their Techniques

Wood finishing is the basic technique to add more grace to your woodworking tasks. It gives your project perfect grace and protects the wood from environmental damages and prolongs its life span. 

There are different types of wood Finishes available in the market. You might be confused about which one is perfect for you to get your hands on. But after going through this article, you’ll have a better understanding of wood finishes types and applications. 

Types of wood finishes
Types of wood finishes

What Is a Wood Finish

Wood finish acts as a protective layer on the wood surface. It safeguards your wood projects and furniture to ensure that humid and harsh weather conditions don’t deteriorate the wood.

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Moreover, it adds more to the sheer and flawless appeal of the wood. It leaves the surface more sleek and presentable. If you’re a carpenter, these wood finishes can make your woodworking projects more worthy, captivating, and winsome.

Types of Wood Finishes

There are two main types of wood finishes depending on the formula and application. There are myriad wood finishes available in the market for each type of formula.

Surface Finishing

This type of finishing stays on the surface of the wood leaving a gloss on the wood. This gives a natural look to the wood along with the protection of the wood material.

Penetrating Finishing

Penetrating finishing is a type of finishing in which finishes penetrating the woo surface giving it a bold and natural look. Tung oil, Linseed, and Danish are some of the penetrating finishes.   

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Varnish is most commonly used to add smoothness and sheer to the wood. It is made up of solvents, oil, and resins. It is transparent and leaves no stain but a protective layer on the wood surface. The UV protection layer acts as a shield to preserve the wood from extreme weather conditions. 

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Its application requires some skills in order to achieve perfect and flawless results. You can apply multiple coats of varnish to the wood until the surface gets smooth.  It takes some time to get dried and create a firm and transparent layer. 

Rub-In Oil

You can use rub-in oils as well to add finishing to the wood. There are two types of oils that can be used for this purpose. BLO (boiled linseed oil) and Tung oil. The consistency of raw linseed oil is thick and is hard to apply. But you can oil it and use it with a combination of monikers. 

When you apply the oil, it seeps down directly to the wood surface and adds a sort of transparency to it. 

There are further two types of oil, drying, and non-drying. The drying oil creates a solid appearance on the wood. Non-drying oil stays in its liquid state and is more preferred for finishing.

Varnish Blends

Oil-varnish is another commonly used varnish for wood finishes. This extra resigns added varnish is easily applicable and more durable. 

 This varnish is a blend of different dyes and pigments that creates various textures and colors. All you need is to be cautious while applying it, the reason is that you aren’t aware of the origin of blends. 

It will work for you in some cases and will not in some other cases. It’s wise that you perform a patch test before going to use it on your furniture. 

Wood Stain

Wood stain is another finish from the common types of wood finishes. This finish, when applied to the wood surface, enhances its color. Wood stain is prepared by blending opaque and insoluble particles with water and oils. 

You need to be very vigilant and highly skilled when dealing with wood stains. If you do not deal properly with the mixing and application, it may destroy the real pigment of the wood.


Wood dye is made after mixing a shade with a solvent. You need to add your desired color to a solvent such as alcohol or water to prepare the solution. It overshadows the existing color of the wood. Wood dyes come in both oil-based and water-based solvents. 

Wood dye overshadows the existing shade of the wood. So you need to be a bit cautious of selecting the right shade. The dye consists of a small molecule that allows the transference of light through it. This keeps the visibility of wood grains intact and the texture remains visible somehow. 

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Wood Wax

Unlike other types Of wood finishes, wax is a kind of temporary wood finish. Its application is very easy and smooth. It can be easily rinsed off and provides very minimal coverage. Wax can be used over already wood finishes as well. So if you want to apply it on an already varnished floor, it won’t go wrong. 

Wood wax helps to conceal the scratches and imperfections from your old furniture. It is available in liquid, solid, and paste form. You can get your hands on whichever form is easy to use for you. 

You can get the wax in different colors. Although wood wax is not that versatile in its usage it’s a good option that you can carry along for the finishing of your woodworking projects.

Wood Preservers

A wood preserver is a type of wood finish that is used to protect the wood from decay. It doesn’t add much to the fine loom of wood but defends it from harsh weather conditions, termite attacks, and woodworm. 

types of wood finishes

There are different types of wood perseverance available out there depending upon their indoor and outdoor wood applications.

Guidelines For Selecting Best Type of Wood Finish

If you’re new to this finishing thing, there are some guidelines that you can follow to make your dream projects to new heights. 

  1. The penetrating finishes are ideal to be applied on virgin wood. If you use it on a surface that already has some coating of finishing applied, it’s more like you’re wasting the coat. The reason because the already applied finish will obstruct the new material to penetrate the wood surface. And above all, if the chemicals of both the finishes aren’t compatible, they can leave stains on the wood. 
  1. Another thing to consider is to use the right finishing product according to the type of wood material. Some products can easily penetrate into the planks, some take time to get absorbed. Some finishes are temporary such as wood wax, while some need some special skills for the mixing of solvents and insoluble for instance wood dye. So try not to go for the finishes of wood that you aren’t specialized in or can’t handle. 

Final Words On Wood Finish Types

After diving deep into the article, we hope you now have a better idea about the types of wood finishes. You’re now good to go to do the finishing of your wood projects. Try not to leave your furniture unfinished. Finish them to ensure their extended life span and their appealing appearance as well. 

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Last but not the least, some wood finishes can change the entire look of your slabs, so try to find a perfect colored match for your furniture in that case. A perfectly chosen finishing material can double the worth of woodworking projects. 


1.How to finish live edge wood?

In order to finish the live edge sab, start with filling voids with 2 parts ethoxy and one part tint of your choice. Spread the material to all the visible voids to leave the surface smooth. Now start the surface preps and sanding with a suitable sander. Once you’ve finished the surface to 120 grit, start applying the finish. 

2. How to repair damaged wood finish?

First of all, start scratching the old finishing smoothly with 600 grit paper. Now choose a wax stick that perfectly matches the shade of your furniture. You can also mix two colors to achieve your desired shade. Lastly, scrap the excessive wax carefully after the gouges are filled. Apply the paste wax on the furniture and you’re good to go!

3. How to get a high gloss finish on wood?

To start the work, sand the wood curves as smoothly as possible. Apply the grain filler on void spaces to fill the extra grains left and to balance the surface. Now apply the varnish or lacquer and after that go for wet sanding once the varnish is dry. In the end, do some buffing to ensure the sleek and glossy look of wood.

We hope you had a great time reading the article, if you like to know more about woodworking keep reading our blog.

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