Hand Tools

Re: Practical relevance of surface appearance

Bill Tindall, E.Tn.
How about figured woods or those that exhibit chatoyancy? Planing vs sanding has no effect if the wood is finished with a finish that builds a surface coating. The kind and thickness of finish however has a huge effect.

If you want to kill figure in wood, finish it with a finish that has a dulling agent added. Water based finishes appear substantially different from lacquer or shellac and varnish different from anything else. Varnishes differ in appearance depending on what they are formulated from. Best would be to do your own testing and come to your own conclusions.

However, if you need a place to store your socks don't waste time perfecting hand planed surfaces There is no benefit to be had in the final product. Don't let the elusive goal of the perfectly hand planed surface slow down the project completion, or even the start.

On the other hand, if you do woodworking for the joy of experiencing silky shavings peeling off a lustrous raw wood surface, have a grand time of it. Just don't try to claim this surface is an essential part of making fine furniture.

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