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Bob’s Miracle DIY Finish for Wood

February 26, 2015 by Scott - Saws on Skates

Hey friends! Have you had it with fussy finishes? Then I have the finish for you! It’s easy to apply and it looks great every time! Today I’m sharing the wood finish I use on nearly every furniture project I build… Bob’s DIY Miracle Finish for Wood!

This DIY finish for wood is easy to make and way easier than polyurethane to apply. It just wipes on!

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I’m impatient when it comes to applying a finish to my furniture projects. I don’t like fussy finishes like polyurethane. “Don’t brush it too much.” “Don’t create bubbles because because they’ll get trapped in the finish.” “Don’t let dust fall on it while it’s drying.” “Sand and reapply.” Blah, blah, blah – that sounds like work and I want to start using my new piece of furniture right away! Plus, polyurethane always looks like plastic to me.

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A few years ago while taking a woodworking class, the instructor (Bob) shared with the class the finish he uses on his projects. The finish was simple, easy and nearly fool proof. I swear I heard angels signing! I’ve used this finish ever since. There is probably a technical name for it, but I’ve always called it Bob’s DIY Miracle Finish for Wood. It’s really easy to make. Here’s the recipe:

Bob’s Miracle DIY Finish for Wood

1 part Gloss Spar Varnish
1 part Boiled Linseed Oil
1 part Paint Thinner

Mix them together (I like to use a mason jar).

Apply the finish using gloves and a rag. Let it penetrate for a few minutes and remove excess with a clean rag. Allow to dry 24 hours before reapplying. I usually do three applications. The end result is a satin finish (despite the gloss varnish) that resembles an old school hand rub finish without the need to worry about brush strokes or sanding in between applications. It truly is a miracle.

Try it and let me know what you think of it.


Looking for great wood finish ideas? This tutorial shows how to make an easy DIY three ingredient wipe on top coat finish. It's a


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13 thoughts on “Bob’s Miracle DIY Finish for Wood

  1. Joe says:

    Does this work best with a lacquer or a urethane or something else as the varnish? I am intrigued, usually I spray polyurethane with a spray gun but am always looking for different easy finishes.

    • Hi Joe – It definitely sounds like you have more experience with finishes than I do. I just checked and for my last batch I used Cabot High Gloss Spar Varnish. The finish is great because unlike poly, you can always coat it again. And even if there is dust on your piece, it won’t get trapped like it would with poly. I would suggest making a batch and trying it on some scrap to see if you like it before trying it on a completed project. Good luck!

  2. Hi. Would this finish be good for tabletops? I’m repurposing a kitchen table and need something that would stand the punishment from 3 granddaughters ?. Thanks.

  3. Guy says:

    What product smelling better could replace paint thinner?

    • Scott - Saws on Skates says:

      Odorless mineral spirits should work. I would test it by mixing up a small batch and giving it a try.

  4. Terry says:

    Will this work on painted finishes too?

  5. Jack says:

    I always use tung oil on my projects, but I am going to try this! Thanks!

  6. Richard says:

    The photos of related products shows a urethane spar varnish. I would assume that that is not good for this recipe?

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