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Wood Refinishing Glossary

Ambering – The tendency of a clear protective finish to take on a warm, yellow appearance as it ages.

Brush marks – Parallel ridges left by a brush in a brushed-on coating..

Gloss – A surface finish or sheen, exterior choices are satin to semi-gloss to high gloss.

Hardwood – Wood that comes from broad-leafed trees, such as oak, walnut and maple.

Knot – The hard cross-grained mass of wood that forms where a tree branch meets the trunk. In a sawn board, it is darker and harder and will not take stain color.

Lacquer – An interior hard, fast-drying, clear protective coating, that dries by evaporation, forming a solid film.

Leveling – The “smoothing out” of an applied finish, where brush marks disappear.

Mineral Spirits – A petroleum based solvents used in solvent based coatings.

Oil-Based – A stain or clear finish comprised of a solvent material cleaned with mineral spirits.

Overspray – Small droplets that miss the intended area and hits an area outside the target.

Polyurethane – A resin used to create durable varnishes.

Softwood – Wood that comes from trees that bear needles such as pine and fir.

Solvent – A liquid used to soften oil-based substances when wet.

Spar Urethane – A durable varnish formulated for exterior use; it remains slightly softer and more flexible than interior varnish allowing it to expand and contract with changing weather conditions.

Stain – A semi-transparent liquid applied to wood to give a color.

Stripper – A removal product using chemicals or solvents to soften an old finish for removal.

Topcoat – A “clear” protective finish, such as spar urethane applied over bare or stained wood.

Varnish – A transparent finish coating for wood surfaces, consisting of resins dissolved in oil, denatured alcohol or water.

Water-Based – A stain or clear protective finish comprised of resins in water.

Wood Conditioner – A liquid applied to soft woods before staining to obtain even stain penetration and uniform color.

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