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Finish

Most of my work will get one of a handful of traditional finishes. My most commonly used finish is a century old recipe consisting of a mixture of tung oil, linseed oil and traditional spar varnish which is hand applied and then rubbed in for 5-10 coats. This finish has an exceptionally deep rich luster, is very durable, and is easy to touch up when damage eventually occurs (were talking over generations here). Additionally the deep penetrating oils seal and protect the wood far more effectively than spraying a thin plastic layer of modern finish onto its surface, and without all the toxic fumes.

Some traditional pieces, particularly 19th century American and European reproductions, will call for a shellac/resin finish or "French Polish", and thusly receive one. This demanding process produces a particularly beautiful finish and is judged to show off the depth and subtleties of fine wood better than any other method. Unfortunately it's both very labor intensive and a rather delicate finish which is sensitive to water and alcohol staining, so typically it's only used for accurate reproductions of period pieces.

Other pieces are simply waxed, or even scraped and presented raw. I typically don't use any pigment or stain on any of my pieces, rather opting to use naturally colored woods in shades appropriate to the design. Certain types of furniture such as Mission Style pieces made with vertical grain White Oak have historically been treated with chemical agents to mimic the ageing/darkening process. In this specific case ammonia gas is used to cause tannins in the oak to darken, producing a chocolate brown wood in hours, instead of the decades that the natural process of oxidation takes.