Highland Woodworking Wood News Online, No. 164 April 2019 Welcome to Highland Woodworking - Fine Tools & Education Learn more about Highland Woodworking View our current woodworking classes and seminars Woodworking articles and solutions Subscribe to Wood News
Fixing Tear Out with Finish
By Alan Noel
Professional Wood Finisher

Imagine you're working on a project and you're running your lumber through the planer one last time to make it just the right thickness. You're getting excited because you can finally get this project going. You look through your pieces and start to notice there is some tear out that you didn't catch on the final pass, and all has been planed to the correct thickness, so there is no more room to plane again. What to do?

I had to figure out a way to make this problem as unnoticeable as possible. Since I had no more wood, sanding it out was out of the question; that would look even worse. Wood putty would look bad, not to mention having to faux the grain back in on the filler. After much thought and several cups of coffee I decided to try mixing just a little saw dust from the wood with some hide glue. In the first few strokes I soon realized that the wood dust wasn't a good idea, and switched to just glue. I brushed in the glue several times over a couple of days, letting it dry overnight. Once the glue was proud of the surface, I sanded it smooth to the level of the surrounding surface.

After I applied the first coat of lacquer sealer I was very happy to see that the tear out was much less noticeable. I then applied pour filler to the rest of the surface in order to create a polished mirror finish as the end result. After the finish was completed and polished, the tear out imperfections were virtually unnoticeable.

As for finishes where the grain is not going to be filled, the grain pattern can be "pressed" into the glue while it is still just a little soft. I've used needles, straight pins, chisels, pocket knives, etc. to mimic pores. A little practice here goes a long way!

Click here to visit the Highland Woodworking Finishing Department

Alan can be reached directly via email c/o Alan Noel Furniture Refinishing at anoelfurniturere@bellsouth.net .

Visiting Atlanta? Attend one of Alan's upcoming highly informative Highland Woodworking wood finishing seminars:

April 27, 2019  Finishing 101
May 15, 2019  Finishing the Finish
May 18, 2019  Finishing 101
June 12, 2019  French Polish Workshop
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