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Choosing A Brush
Caring For A Natural Finish

Tip #43
Finishing Touches
Part 3 of 6 - Applying A Natural Finish

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Mother Nature provides a variety of methods for protecting wood...beginning with the bark on a tree. Bark insulates the live wood from decay, disease, insects, people who like to carve their initials into them and other pests.

Once the tree has been sawn into lumber and the lumber transformed into a piece of fine woodworking, there are a number of natural finishes that can be used to pick up the job of protection where the bark left off. Three of the most important finishes in this category are shellac, lacquer and varnish.

Each of these are made from saps, resins or chemicals that have been extracted from living plants - in some cases, the trees themselves. Like the bark, they form a protective coating on the outside of the wood. This coating is fairly hard and transparent, and can be built up through the application of successive coats.

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