George Vondriska

Finishing 2 Faces Made Easy

George Vondriska
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Duration:   4  mins

When it comes to finishing projects, there can be challenges. Let’s do everything we can to eliminate challenges, and make finishing as simple as possible. Here’s a trick that will help your finishing move along a little faster; finishing both faces of a project in one go.

I have to say that for a lot of years I would put finish on one face of a piece and let it thoroughly dry before flipping it over to finish the other face. I ended up with a job that required putting new finish on almost two dozen table tops. My friend Charlie has a bigger shop than mine, so I took the tables to his place.

When the time came to apply finish, I started following my standard procedure. With finish on one face I was ready to leave for the day. That’s when Charlie yelled at me, “Why not finish the finishing?” Charlie’s standard approach is to finish the back first, carefully flip the parts so the back surface is on finish points, and then finish the front. I don’t know why, but it never occurred to me that I could do this.

Potential downside?

When you flip the parts over and set the back on finish points, you might leave tiny marks in the finish. In many applications this doesn’t matter; the bottom face of table top, the back face of a cabinet back…there are many places you can get away with this. You can take a completely different approach when finishing both sides of a door.

Finishing can be a challenge
There’s no faster way to ruin a project than to mess up the finishing process. We know how intimidating finishing can be, so we’ve put together lots of wood finishing videos to help you out.

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6 Responses to “Finishing 2 Faces Made Easy”

  1. Rick Miller

    This is a great technique for spraying or maybe even brushing. If you are rubbing on a finish, there is a potential for marks or even dents on the top surface while finishing the back. I learned this when using rounded plastic pyramids while applying an oil finish. The rubbing motion moved the board around and left marks on the unfinished top.

  2. Gary

    This is essentially the same as when you look at furniture that was made before (say) 1930, if you look at the back, it's ugly! Saw marks, written instructions, poor joinery, you name it. The reason is obvious, the craftsmen at the time were also looking at the bottom line, getting the product out the door. They didn't need to make the back of a cabinet pretty, it was going against the wall, no one could see it anyway. so why spend time on making it pretty? My early furniture had very pretty backs. Once I realized this issue, my backs aren't so pretty now but I'm onto my next project earlier!

  3. Paul

    You could also attach or plan how a table top would be attached to the rest of the table, then use these screw holes to hold or support the top while the complete project is being finished. I have used the screw holes with screws similar to the final screws to hang a piece from a support while I finish the whole project at one sitting. Or you could use screws in these holes in place of painters triangles.

  4. Chris Ruhe

    What spray did you use?

  5. Tim

    I’ll have to watch this video again. Rather than listening to any of it, I spent the whole time wallowing in clamp envy.

  6. James Bullard

    You can make your own painter's points using bottle caps and sheetrock screws. Put the screw through the center of the bottle cap from the bottom so that the head is flush with the edge and the point extends above the top.

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