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How to choose the finishing for furniture.

Finishing process is quite difficult and complex job. Finishing work requires energy, time and sometimes the special equipment and facilities that could be expensive. Therefore when we do finishing process we always want the optimum results comparable to the effort that we spend. For that purpose we should be able to choose the most appropriate finishing for the furniture products. We can do the finishing process ourselves, or we can bring the product to the finishing shop for the finishing process, but we have to choose the right finishing.

cabinet with antique finishing
  • The function of the product.
The finishing layer is the outermost layer that serves to provide protection to the product. Therefore he must be strong enough to protect the underneath surface. The protection required by a furniture product may be different depending on the functions of the furniture products. The exterior furniture products require a finishing layer that is strong enough to protect them from the sunlight, rain, heat and other outdoor weather. The outdoor furniture needs special finish for outdoor (exterior finish). There are some types of finishing that is suitable for exterior uses, the most used are: PU exterior, spar varnish, and exterior water based. These materials are designed for outdoor use. They are strong, durable to withstand to the outdoor uses. But usually the outdoor finishing materials are more difficult to be handled. Mostly they are having longer drying time, and make the application take long time.
For indoor furniture then we have more choices.  There are many finishing materials that can be used for indoor finish with very good result. The NC (lacquer), Precatalyzed, PU, ​​Catalyzed lacquer, furniture varnish, floor varnish, shellac, wax, oil, etc. Almost all materials are wood finishing material for indoor furniture finish. In general, materials for indoor finishing is more flexible, dry faster, cheaper and easier to be handled with more color choices and finishing effects than the finishing materials for outdoor.
NC finish is the simple and easy finishing materials in term of handling and application. It can be used to make almost all special effect and color. It is the material that was used to replace the shellac, varnish, oil finish and other traditional finishing material. The NC is also available in the paint or opaque color with many color choices as well as wood transparent color.  The NC finish theoretically can make all finishing looked and color that is made by the traditional finish material.
The NC finishing materials sometimes is used together with latex paint or PU or Acid curing types to make special finish. The NC finish is the best material to do the finish for the bed room set, armoire, book case, hand craft, picture frame, sofa, chair and other product when the maximum aesthetic value is needed.  But the NC finish will not be able to produce a strong enough film finish layer as the PU or catalyzed lacquer. Therefore the NC finish is not suitable to finish the products that will receive lot of physical activity such as; dinning table, furniture for hotel and restaurant, etc. NC coating is not resistant to scratches, heat, or exposure to solvents and chemicals.
The PU and Acid Curing are more suitable for the furniture that need more strong layer such as the dining table, the kitchen cabinets, the bar furniture, and even the wood flooring. The hardest and strongest finishing material is the UV coating; it is the best material for the wood flooring.
Varnish, or shellac finish are the simpler finish and can be applied with a cloth or brush so that it can be an attractive option when finishing facilities spray is not available, but it  is has limited choice in color and looked. It has similar strength as NC, it does not have resistant to the heat, chemical and solvent. 
The water based coating is almost like NC in the term strength and color. It has better resistant to the heat, and physical abuses then the NC, but it has low resistant to the solvent and chemical such as the NC finish. It is now been developed to get more spectrum in the wood finishing. But now it is still rather difficult in application compared with NC finish. The water based coating are also can be used in combination with the NC finish to make some special finish effect. 

 PU for high gloss finish
  • The finishing appearance and color.
Finishing process is always associated with the color and appearance. The purpose of the finishing process is to develop a special color and looked. We need to understand the finishing materials properties to be able to make the finishing looked we need.
The NC is finishing materials that can provide a wide range of colors and finishing effects. The NC lacquer also will give you the best clarity and natural wood looked. But the NC is not suitable to make finishing with thick film layer.
The finish that requires thick film is better made with the PU or acid curing or even the water based. The PU and acid curing is the best option to make the wood color finish with thick film. It can build the thick film finish with quite good clarity. The water base clear coating tends to make a cloudy looked finish if it is applied in a thick layer.
The water based paint (latex paint) is still good choices to make the paint finish color. It can make the thick paint finish with thick film and available in wide range color. It can be used in combinations with the NC or PU finish to make the paint finish with some special effects.
  • The furniture substrate.
Modern furniture now can be made from various materials. Wood is not the only substrates for making furniture.  The synthetics material such as plastic, resin, vinyl area also used to make some furniture. The metal, aluminum and even composite material are also introduced to make furniture. While the wood has many types and the other natural substrates such as rattan, pandanus may have some special characteristic that need special finishing material. If we want to make some special color, then usually the NC finish can be used, but usually we need special paint layer as the first layer to build the good adhesion of the finish layer.

3 comments for "How to choose the finishing for furniture."

  1. I think the house's design plays a huge part in a homeowner's decision in choosing wood finishing. My dream house is white with a little touch of old wood brown. I think glossy wood finishing would be the perfect match.

  2. I agree with Djonni. Your house design plan has to be coherent with your choice of wood finishing. You should probably have a pep talk first with your luxury home builders before making a choice.

  3. Yes it is.

    Thanks for visiting me.

    God Bless You