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Sam Maloof's Finishing Technique

Stanley No 55
Stanley No 55

This wonderful description of Sam Maloof's wood finishing technique was published in Woodshop News.

I've used a variant of this finish for 50 years, one my grandfather used, a mixture of one third varnish, one third linseed oil and one third turpentine, wiping on three or more coats. While it has been fairly satisfactory I think Maloof's formula should be more resistant to cleaning and normal wear and tear.

Quoted from an article on Sam Maloof in Woodshop News, September 2005:

Maloof's employees sand to 400 grit, then use 00000 steel wool to create a very fine surface. Then they take a very soft rag - a sort of toweling - and run it over fery carefully.

"Then we use my own finish that Rockler sells - one third glossy varnish, one third boiled linseed oil, one third tung oil. I use that on everything, tabletops and all," he said. For case goods, he uses one-half boiled linseed oil and one-half tung oil with beeswax.

"For rosewood and ziricote, I just use wax because it won't soak in. It looks great, then it dries out and then I go, 'Oh my God, what have I done to this?' "

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