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A Million Dollar Finish At A Fraction of The Cost
By Joe Johns



The first thing you must understand is what you're about to read here is not the type of finish where you follow the instructions on some can, believe it to be the gospel according to Jeff Jewitt and apply a measly coat then walk away believing you're done.


Far from it.


The second thing you need to know is that this procedure is solely meant for table type surfaces.  Tables of all sorts, counter tops, workbenches and even wall panels (assuming you install them afterward).  In short, because of the obvious reason you're about to discover, this process must be performed on flat surfaces.   


The last thing you definitely must fathom is if you embark on this procedure it may take upwards of 10 days to complete.  However, I can guarantee you that if follow these steps precisely, you will end up with a deep and rich sheen you can almost see yourself in and all of it with absolutely no spraying, no fancy mixing or brushing required.

You will need:


  • Clothing you don't care much for

  • Rubber gloves

  • 100-grit, 180-grit, 220-grit and 320-grit open coat sandpaper (cut the sheets in half long ways

  • 100% Mineral Spirits (not the California you'll-die-tomorrow-if-you-use-the-real-stuff)

  • Johnson's Paste Wax or Trewax - both are meant for wood floors but Trewax is Carnauba based (preferred)

  • A 3/4" x 3 1/2" x 10" wood sanding block

  • Lots of rags (Fire Danger! Do not leave rags balled up or leave them in the shop.  Take them outside and spread them out on something elevated off the ground until they're hard - from this point on you will consider all of these rags to be collateral damage so don't even think about using them on subsequent coats)

  • Desired color of Watco Danish Oil (No, I have not used other brands.  Will they work?  Beats the hell out of me, you'll have to try it.  I don't cotton with arguing against success.)

  • Quite a lot of elbow grease

  • Time...lots of time


Step 1:

Sand the surface with 100-grit paper until you feel the whole surface has been properly addressed then use a brush or vacuum to remove the resulting dust.


You're now done with the 100-grit paper.

Step 2:

Pick up your can of Watco Danish Oil and shake it until you're tired then shake it some more.  Do not thin or add anything other than another color of Watco (you can mix them to achieve the proper hue).  If it's a brand new can pour a pint out so you have shaking room.

Step 3:

Take a look at the clock and note the time - for this step you'll need about 45-minutes so turn off your cell phone, plant the checkbook in the wife's hand and send the kids out to play in the street because you definitely don't want to be bothered during these critical opening moments.

Literally pour a lake of oil on the surface and spread it around with your hands. Let it sit - after 10-minutes it should start to look somewhat blotchy. If so, pour on more oil and spread it around.


Outfit the sanding block with the 180-grit paper.

What you're doing here is creating a slurry; a mixture of the oil and the resulting "dust" to fill the pores. Sand in a circular motion but also with the grain, being sure to go over the entire surface (put a new sheet on the block whenever you feel it sliding more easily). Go over the surface in this manner three times (adding more oil if necessary - it's important that you keep the surface very wet with the oil finish).

Now sand in a straight linear fashion (no circular motion) for three times. At this stage you've gone through a lot of sandpaper and your arms feel like 20-lb weights are hanging from them.  Don't worry...that's a good thing - take the pain!


You're now done with the 180-grit paper.

Using your rags, wipe down the surface AGAINST THE GRAIN to remove the oil slurry (put the rags outside!).

Pour another coat of oil on the surface (only this time not quite a lake), spread it around with your hands.  Leave it alone for 8 hours.

Step 4:

Good morning!  Do your arms feel like elephants were pulling on them?  Fear not...tomorrow you'll think whales have been pole dancing on them.

Pour on a coat of oil and spread it around on the entire surface.  Outfit the sanding block with 220-grit paper and sand strictly with the grain. There's no slurry involved here, all you're doing is working down the previous coat of oil.  Change paper frequently, keep the surface wet with oil. Go over the surface three times (adding oil when necessary).

Completely wipe off the surface with rags (put the rags outside!).

Apply another coat of oil being sure the surface is fairly wet with oil. Let it set for another 8 hours.


You're now done with the 220-grit paper.

Step 5:

Repeat step 4 - but from now on you'll only be using 320-grit paper.

Step 6:

It's now 8 hours later and by now you should notice that the splotches have diminished in that they are smaller in size and fewer in number - this means you're getting close.

Pour on a light coat of oil, spread it around and sand as before (going over it three times) but only sanding with light pressure and a fine hand.


Completely wipe off the surface with rags (put the rags outside!).


Apply a light coat of oil. Let it sit for another 8 hours.

Repeat step 6 two more times.

Step 7:

Wipe down the surface with yet another set of rags but this time dampen
them with mineral spirits.

Allow 4 - 6 hours for the mineral spirits to flash off

Step 8:

Apply the wax in circular motions, let it haze over then buff.


Repeat step 8 three times.

And you're done.


You may now unscrew your arms, stand them up in the corner and use them as hat racks.