• MarkBuildsIt

Finishing... the Anti-Climax.

There are woodworkers among us who enjoy finishing. I am not one of them.


I've never been able to get excited about the process of taking the things I build and either soaking or coating them in some sort of oil or film.


There is, of course, that moment when the first coat of clear goes on. The grain of the wood (or the color of the paint) is completely transformed. That's pretty cool. But the rest is just drudgery.


Maybe its because of the smell. Some finishes don't smell all that much, but most of them do. And most of those smells are bad for your health.


It could be that the process is merely a series of incremental changes. You repeat the steps over and over again with little to no noticeable effect.


Mostly, I think it's because of the let down after the final assembly. I've spent hours or days working on this project. It might have even been weeks or months. Then I have that moment, when I put everything together for the first time, and the project takes its final form.


I did it!


(Ummm, sorry. No. Not just yet.)


It would feel a little like finishing my first Half Ironman. If, instead of being welcomed by my friends and congratulated by Chrissie Wellington (who had won the race hours earlier and graciously returned to hand out hugs and finisher's medals), I'm politely informed that my car was moved during the race, and is now a 5 mile walk away.


Finishing happens after the point when I feel like I should be done. I've got to take everything apart, meticulously inspect it and prepare it for finish. Sand. Inspect. Sand some more. It's kind of demoralizing.


But finishing is a form of insurance. It protects the work. It can add color and character. And the way the finish wears, as the piece ages, helps the piece tell it's story. Each scuff and scrape a tale about how this thing, the result of my labor, has been cherished as it is (hopefully) passed from generation to generation.


I don't like doing it, but I do enjoy having it done. So I guess it's time to get back out into the shop.


So I can put another coat of finish on this desk.

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