My Finishing Process for Woodworking- Ask Matt #12

My Finishing Process for Woodworking- Ask Matt #12
Surface prep is as important as applying a finish well. If there are any defects in your workpiece, they will become painfully obvious once a finish is applied. A good surface prep regimen is essential for a great finish. My go to finish is Arm-r-Seal from General Finishes. It is a wiping varnish that I apply with a rag. I’ll typically apply 5 coats of finish. The first coat I apply heavily, allowing the finish to soak into the wood. I follow up each coat sanding with 600 grit sand paper.

This is the twelfth episode of my Ask Matt series where I answer broader topic questions. If you have an idea for a topic for a future episode, please let me know.

Products Used
General Finishes Arm-r-Seal Semi-Gloss:
Painter’s Pyramids:

Support What I Do:



The Secretary Doors:
Grain Patterns:
Sculpted Ladle:

My Finishing Process for Woodworking- Ask Matt #12

18 thoughts on “My Finishing Process for Woodworking- Ask Matt #12”

  1. Do you still prefer semi gloss for most of your projects? Never start with gloss then switch to semi or satin?

  2. What would you suggest for a coffee table? Looking for a non glossy finish but will stand up to wear and tear.

  3. Hey Matt, I just watch the video and headed down to the store to pick up mineral spirits. And to my surprise Riverside County does not allow the sale of mineral spirits without proper license. Are there alternatives to this? I did pick up turpentine pure gum spirits and a paint thinner substitute. Would either one of these work?

  4. Now to do this in reverse so your beard grows back from all the dry times lol

  5. Am I hallucinating, or is there a drip of black paint near the middle of the finish side??

  6. Did this panel warp? It looks like it might be a bit off right around the crotch figure (although that might just be some lens distortion), and it's rocking back and forth on a (presumably) flat work bench. Is that something we have to worry about in such figured wood?

  7. Great video! I noticed the disappearing hair as well. If you find a finish that makes hair appear, you would be on to something YUUUUGE!!! Lol.

    Idea for an ask Matt: how about addressing cutting board finishes. End grain vs face grain which is best for food use. Also any varnishes that would be food safe??


  8. HI Matt, hope your still responding to this video….how do know when the coats of arm r seal are dry?? Im doing a large plank table top and have chosen arm r seal for the top coat, do you think this is an appropriate finish?? do you think I need another type of top coat for a dining the way will not be used a whole lot just special occasions. Directions on the can say 3 coats, Ive also read that more than three does not give you any better result???

  9. My second coat went on thick and left some "goopy" dried spots that I could not remove with a 600 grit light sanding. don't want to create an uneven coat on the table top. Will applying another coat blend in or do I need to sand it down with the belt sander?! HELP!

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