How to Choose the Best Wood Finish for Your Projects

When it comes to woodworking projects, choosing the right wood finish can make all the difference. With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to decide which one is best for your project. But fear not, we're here to help guide you through the process!

What Type of Wood Are You Working With?

The type of wood you are working with will play a big role in determining the best finish for your project. For example, if you are working with a softwood like pine, you may want to consider a penetrating oil finish to enhance the natural beauty of the wood. On the other hand, hardwoods like oak or cherry may benefit from a film-forming finish like polyurethane for added protection.

At Ewart Woods, we understand the importance of selecting the right finish for each wood type. For instance, our sofa arm trays are meticulously stained to not only highlight the wood's natural grain but also to achieve a rich and elegant look that complements any decor. This staining process helps to bring out the unique characteristics of the wood, making each piece truly one-of-a-kind.

What is the Intended Use of the Project?

Consider how the finished project will be used. If it will be exposed to water or high traffic, a durable finish like varnish or lacquer may be the best choice. For projects that will not be heavily used, a simple wax finish can provide a beautiful, natural look.

To ensure longevity and durability, we use lacquer for our wooden floating wall shelves. This protective layer shields the shelves from potential damage, such as scratches and moisture, ensuring they remain in pristine condition even in high-use areas.

Do You Want to Change the Color of the Wood?

If you are looking to change the color of the wood, consider using a stain or dye in addition to your finish. Stains come in a variety of colors and can help you achieve the look you desire. Just be sure to test the color on a scrap piece of wood before applying it to your project.

For example, here at EWART WOODS we use different dyes to see how the wood can change and what each color offers to the interior. Our wooden toilet paper holders are available in different colors to be flexible and complement any interior. 

Special Instructions: Add More Examples of the Finish Types in Each Situation

For softwoods, in addition to penetrating oil finishes, you may also consider shellac or Danish oil. These finishes penetrate deeply, enhancing the wood’s natural beauty and providing a protective layer. For hardwoods, besides polyurethane, you could explore options like tung oil or water-based finishes, which offer excellent protection and maintain the wood’s natural appearance.

Experimenting with different finishes on sample pieces can help you determine the best choice for your project. For example, try applying Danish oil on a small section of pine to see how it enhances the wood grain, or test tung oil on oak to appreciate its durability and finish.


By considering the type of wood, the intended use of the project, and whether you want to change the color, you can confidently choose the best wood finish for your projects. Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, so don't be afraid to experiment and find what works best for you!

At Ewart Woods, we pride ourselves on our craftsmanship and attention to detail, ensuring that every piece not only looks beautiful but is also built to last. Explore our range of products and finishes to find the perfect addition to your home here

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