Finishing... Ideas to finish your scroll saw or woodwork project


There are quite a few opinions on how to finish your scroll saw or woodwork projects. If anyone has suggestions, or information you would like to share, please feel free to email me.

After cutting your item with the scroll saw, it should be sanded before any finish is applied.

Sandpaper comes in many 'grits' or degrees of roughness. 60 to 100 grit sandpaper should be used first to smooth out the imperfections caused by the saw. Once your wood is smooth, you can change to 150 to 200 grit sandpaper. This type of sandpaper is used to smooth and polish all areas of the wood. Many woodworkers will not go beyond this sanding for most of their projects.

If you desire a high polish finish, 250 to 400 grit sandpaper may be used. It will give the wood a shiny finish, and ultra smooth feel. Use a clean cloth to wipe away the dust caused by sanding.

Once your item is sanded, apply a protective finish such as Canola oil. It is one of the simplest finishes to apply, and is safe and nontoxic, so it may also be used for projects with small children 'helping.' Apply the Canola oil with a rag, let dry for a few minutes, then wipe excess oil away with a clean rag.

To give your wood color, use a stain. It can be applied with a rag, foam brush, or a regular paint brush. Stains come in water-based and oil-based varieties. Water-based stains are the easiest to clean up. Because stains do not seal the wood, many woodworkers cover the stain with varnish. If you prefer to paint your project, try using an acrylic paint. Acrylic paints are less toxic than many other types of paints, and are easier to clean up. Acrylic paint may be sprayed on, or applied with a brush. Applying a primer coat will help your finish last longer.

No matter what finish type you choose, follow the manufacturer instructions for use. Proper application, storage, and disposal of these products are important for the successful completion of your woodworking projects, and your overall safety.

Long tables are better to exhibit your items on than square card tables which take up more room. If you don't have long tables, most shows have tables available. Cover your tables with long cloths. Store your extra inventory under the table(s).

Make your display stand out from all the rest by displaying your items so they are appealing to the eye. Make sure your taller items are to the back, and that they are as secure as possible. It is hard to concentrate on a sale when you are fumbling with items trying to keep them from falling over, or off the table if someone bumps into your table.

Take plenty of items to sell. When you display your items to the public, make sure you have enough inventory to fill the space, and to replace items when they are sold. Depending on the type of items you have for sale, you can use boxes or crates to display some of your items at various heights. Build simple stands to make your displays more appealing, allowing people to give each of your products attention.

Use products to accentuate your products. Using your imagination, you will discover plenty of household items that will show the beauty and usefulness of your wood and leather creations.

Be friendly and courteous to your customers. You are more likely to make a sale and have repeat business. If you don't have exactly the product the customer is looking for, you may be able to suggest an alternative that the customer would like just a much or better.

Take a small wood or leather piece to work on when business is slow. Often people will stop near your display just to watch you work. You may even want to custom paint a piece to suit your customer's wishes.

Set out your business cards, and simple fliers for people to take with them. Give people a way to get a hold of you if they decide to purchase one of your items later. Sometimes people will take a card or flier when they see you are busy with other customers. You can make your own business cards and fliers fairly easily and inexpensively. There are lots of programs on the internet you can download and use, and many of them are free. Inexpensive business card stock can be purchased at your local business supply store, or even the discount department stores.

Take a cooler for drinks and sandwiches. If you are selling by yourself, it may be hard to leave your table to grab a snack or lunch. You'll also save money, and not eat up all your profits at the concession stand.

Note of caution: If you decide to sell at flea markets, keep in mind that most people going to flea markets are looking for bargains, and many will want to buy your products at cheap prices, not for what they are worth. Remember, the time spent working on a project is valuable. Don't lower your prices just to make a sale.