The Perfect Finish

The Perfect Finish

Wood should be finished to the point where there are no visible marks left by the maker. This is a common thought amongst many woodworkers which I share, but there are exceptions as I will endeavour to explain.

Generally, I agree that tooling or sanding marks should be neither seen nor felt with the touch. During the process of shaping wood there is a gradual progression of refining the surface e.g. from chain saw, band saw, rough sawn, planed and sanded, each tool gradually eliminating the marks of the previous one. Even in sanding, the finer grits are used to eliminate the scratch marks of the previous courser grits. The wood is ready to be oiled/finished when the sanding marks are no longer visible to the eye. Leaving the wood with no marks really just shows the level of care andpride that one has taken.

Sometimes however, what is wrong with leaving the makers mark? Green woodworkers, tribal, ethnic and rustic furniture for example?

I guess it all comes down to intention.

So, if I I am sanding a 'bare' piece or area of wood either on a bowl or table for example, then my intention is to leave only the wood and grain visible with no tool or sanding marks. On the same piece, there might be areas that are carved, burnt or textured. Here, any tooling or even sanding marks are not only 'allowed', but they are intentional or at least they have my permission to be there... that is the difference between laziness and intentionality. The 'perfect finish' is what is 'intended'

Mike Rickword
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