Here's a way that you can get that hand-rubbed finish without too much work and without years of training.
Sand & Clean
First things first, make sure the surface is free of any old finish and dirt, oil, or dust. Once you have sanded it smooth (I recommend 220 grit sandpaper) wipe off the surface with a tack rag dipped in mineral spirits to remove any remaining sanding dust or debris. Once that dries you are ready to finish.
Make Your Finish
I recommend using a mix of:
- 1 part Boiled Linseed Oil
- 1 part satin Polyurethane
- 1 part mineral spirits
The fantastic thing about this blend is that because of the boiled linseed oil it is a penetrating finish which means that unlike other finishes that sit on the surface of the wood this one will penetrate below the surface to protect and strengthen your project. Surface finishes like polyurethane or varnish can be scratched off and leave the wood vulnerable. This type of finish becomes a part of the wood.
The wood will absorb the finish depending on how porous it is so keep applying until it slows down. Then wait 30 mins and come back to wipe off the excess. Give the finish 24 hrs to dry depending on conditions and come back and add a second, third, and forth coat over the next few days in the same manner. Once the finish has built up enough use some 0000 steel wool to sand the surface as smooth as you'd like. Wipe it down with your tack rag again and after it dries apply a coat of finishing paste wax. Let the wax dry about 20 mins and then buff it off with a clean cloth. You're finished!
You've got a super smooth hand-rubbed finish like some people pay hundreds of dollars for and you can use this process on any type of wood imaginable.
Scott Sidler runs his own historic restoration company in Orlando, FL where he keeps busy saving as many of Florida's old homes as he can. When he's not on the job-site he is busy writing and teaching homeowners and preservation professionals all about how to repair and love these old houses on his blog, The Craftsman.
You can find his blog at: http://www.TheCraftsmanBlog.com
You can visit his company's website at: http://www.AustinHomeRestorations.com
Article Source: How To Give Wood Furniture a Hand-Rubbed Finish