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Woodworking Painting 101

Anyone can paint a piece of woodwork. Very few, however, know how to accomplish this task with a professional quality outcome. This quick guide will detail the steps required to paint any piece of the woodwork the right way.
The golden rule of painting is that quality counts. In other words, you get what you pay for. Make sure that the paint you use is of high quality and that the wood is undercoated with a good sealer before you begin.

The Four Steps to Painting Woodwork

Step 1

Both old and new wood needs to be sanded before you begin to paint it. If it’s been painted before this will clean the older paint away and smooth any rough edges or blemishes. If the wood has yet to be painted the sand will prep the wood to accept an undercoat or primer. You can accomplish this task with a sanding block or hand sander to make quick work of it.

Step 2

Once the item is sanded, the dust and debris will need to be cleared away using a shop rag. Make sure the project area is completely clean and then seal or undercoat the project. You will seal the project if the wood is new and undercoat it if you are using rescued material.

Step 3

Tape off the areas in which you desire to go unpainted and lay down your first level of paint. Different projects work best with differing methods, but a roller is an easy go-to fix-all when looking for an even coat. Some people will prefer spray painting the project to achieve the perfect coat. Remember, if this is the method you choose, make sure you keep the can or spray gun steady and at a level distance from your project for the entire job.

Step 4

After the first coat of paint goes down and has dried you are going to want to lightly sand the entire project a second time. Don’t strip the paint from the project just clear out any bubbles, ridges, or streaks formed from the first layer. Once you’ve cleaned off the debris repeat step 3 to finish the job.

Wood Trim Painting

If you are planning on painting your wood trim, here are some good suggestions to follow to help it look great.
If you are painting both the wall and woodwork I suggest you paint the wall first and then paint the woodwork. In my opinion, it is much harder to touch up paint on the woodwork and keep the finish looking good versus touching up the wall. Use a glossy paint to give your finish shine and help make dirt and fingerprint cleanup easy.

Make sure there are no loose materials on the trim. Painting the surface won’t hide imperfections like chips, cracks or peeling paint. Using a stiff putty knife, scrape off any loose paint. Check for nails that are sticking out and hammer them in using a nail set. This will sink the head below the trim surface. Using wood putty, fill in any small cracks or nail holes. Use wood filler for larger areas applying it with a flexible putty knife. This will help hide imperfections in the wood.

painting woodworking

Once the wood putty has dried it’s time to sand the trim. Use Extra Fine (280-320) sandpaper sand the trim with the grain to gain a smooth finish. This will also smooth out any areas where the wood putty is not flush with the trim. After you have done this wipe down the trim with a damp washcloth to remove any dust created from sanding and give it time to dry.

Now it’s time to tape off the wall of glass that your trim is attached to. Be sure to use painter’s tape that has low adhesion, otherwise, you may end up damaging the wall or door that you tried to protect. Regular masking tape can also be difficult to remove from the glass if left on too long.

You can expect to pay $10 to $20 for a good paintbrush, but it will be well worth your money. If you use a cheap brush you will have a difficult time keeping the finish smooth and glossy. Apply a good layer of paint on the trim by dipping the paintbrush often and applying it to the trim. Repeat this technique using a good amount of paint, but not too much that it starts to drip. Once you have completed applying a good coat of paint, take the brush and start at the top or side of the woodwork and in one smooth motion run the brush from one end to the other. Keep the brush at a 45-degree angle and apply light pressure. You will want to do this before the paint starts to dry.

This isn’t a job you should rush. If you want a high-quality finish you need to invest the proper amount of time and supplies into the job. Using good brushes, paint and wood fillers is critical. You’re saving money by doing it yourself; don’t redo the job because you saved money on supplies.

Furniture Painting

There are current preferences today towards retaining the natural wood tones in your furniture, rather than having your furniture painted. But something important to know is there are some types of furniture, along with some types of wood that actually will look better painted versus the natural wood look. The key to a great looking piece of furniture is to choose a good finishing product and then apply them correctly and carefully.

The least toxic paint such as latex-based paints are easier to clean up than the oil-based paints, most furniture makers still would prefer the oil-based paints. With enamel oil-based paints, it tends to dry and create a very hard protective surface. Enamel oil-based paint is also easier to create a smooth finish. But if you still prefer to work with latex paints, you can still get reasonably good results, but keep in mind as long as you use an enamel primer.

Woodworking Skills for Furniture Painting

Woods like birch and poplar, which has a narrow, tight grain, will work best for painting. A frequent choice of wood used for painted furniture is pine, it takes to the wood very well, and you don’t want to buy wood for its good quality to just turn around and cover it with paint.

The supplies you will need for painting furniture will include wood putty for filling voids, sandpaper, oil-based enamel paint, sealer/primer, nail and screw holes, a paint roller to use for the broad surfaces, and then a sponge brush for the smooth paint application.

Painting the Furniture

First, you will want to fill the nail holes or screw holes, knots and any other surface defect that are visible with paintable wood filler putty. Then apply the putty so that its surface is slightly higher than the rest of the surrounding wood surface when it is dry. Then sand the filled areas till smooth and level like the rest of the surrounding wood. After sanding, you can wipe the surface thoroughly with a damp cloth or you can use a tack cloth.

You will next apply a thin coat of sealer or primer; this helps the paint bond more evenly and provides a protective layer. Then scuff the primed surface of the wood lightly with sandpaper after the primer dries. Before you apply the first coat of paint, make sure to wipe the primed surface with a damp cloth or tack cloth.

Now you can apply an even, thin coat of enamel oil-based paint to all of the surfaces. Make sure not to apply too many thick layers, this is a common mistake that many make while painting. Make sure that you can still see the primer paint with the first coat. If you can’t, then you have probably applied to much paint. Before you apply the next coat of paint, allow the first coat of paint to dry overnight, a major reason why paint fails is the moisture trapped between the coats so you might want to protect it while painting sometimes. You then can apply additional coats, but be sure to scuff sanding lightly between the coats.

How To Protect The Woodwork While Painting

Painting walls takes a considerable amount of time and talent, and the ability it takes does not require artistic aptitude. What it takes is a little know-how and the desire to complete the job neatly, especially around woodwork. Slop up the woodwork, baseboards, ceiling, and flooring while painting walls and you will cheapen the overall look of the home. Consider the following easy ways to protect woodwork while painting, and achieve a professional look without spending a small fortune in the process.

protect woodwork while painting using tape

Use High-Quality Blue Painter’s Tape to Protect Trim

When trying to protect woodwork while painting trim, take the time to apply high-quality blue painter’s tape to the edges of all surfaces that come in contact with the painted walls. Applying the tape is often more time-consuming than painting, but it is well worth the effort. When carefully applied it will leave a clean edge, and the trim will be spared from rollers and over-brushing.

Protect the Woodwork with Citrus Oil

When applying painter’s tape is not an option for whatever reason, coat the edges of the woodwork with citrus oil to protect it from painting accidents. If the paint comes in contact with the woodwork, it will be easy to wipe away with a rag. Not only will the citrus oil protect the woodwork, but it will clean and condition it too. Just be sure to wipe it away with a soft, clean rag after the paint has fully dried.

Use a Straightedge Tool to Protect the Trim

A long straightedge painting tool provides another one of the best ways to protect woodwork while painting. To fully protect the trim from painting mishaps, apply citrus oil to the edges of the woodwork before getting started. Use the information above. Otherwise, simply position the straightedge next to the woodwork before applying the paint. Be certain the straightedge has not touched the paint before placing it against the trim or any other location that should be avoided.

Always Use High-Quality Paintbrushes

Cheap paintbrushes result in a cheap-looking paint job. Not only will the bristles end up going in every which direction, but they will also leave behind lines. When trying to do a good job and protect the trim while painting, consider the quality of the brushes. Spend a little more on high-quality materials for a professional look every time.

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