Fine Wooden Rocking Chairs Require a Fine Coat of Finish.

The best wooden rocking chairs are beautified and protected from the elements by the right kind of finish.

One kind of finish does not satisfy all requirements. Here are a few things to think about when it comes to selecting the right finish.

  • What kind of finish should I get for my custom rocking chair?

    That's the 64,000 dollar question! The best way to answer this is to ask yourself how and where the chair will be used.

    A chair that gets a lot of use needs a finish that can handle a lot of wear and tear but still look beautiful after years of use.

    On the other hand, if your rocker is expected to get light use, a different type of finish could work well. Different finishes are also needed for indoor and outdoor chairs, as you see in the photo below.

  • What's the difference between an indoor finish and an outdoor finish?

    A custom rocking chair that is used outside (exposed to unconditioned air and sunlight, but not rain) needs a tougher finish than one that is used in a living room. The finish must have a high resistance to ultraviolet light, as well as superb moisture protection.

    An indoor chair doesn't need as much protection from the sun and moisture, so a wider variety of finishes can be used. A favorite coating of mine is a wipe-on mix of linseed oil and beeswax.

    For custom wooden rocking chairs that are exposed to harsh conditions, like salt water spray at the beach house, I have two words for you:


    This stuff fully encapsulates the rocker in an impervious, thick coating that is as hard as a rock, looks attractive and lasts for years.

    If it's good enough for the best wooden boats, it's good enough for your beautiful rocker.

  • What's the best way to apply the finish?

    The best way to apply the finish really depends on the finish itself. I almost always wipe on or brush on urethanes and varnishes because that's the easiest way for me to control what happens.

    Lacquers and other quick-drying formulations are usually sprayed. However, spraying can create drips and runs on the various curved surfaces of wooden rocking chairs.

  • I apply several thin coats of finish. As each one dries, it fills the pores of the wood and gradually builds up.

    I sand with very fine paper between coats, and each successive layer creates a smoother and more attractive surface.

    The whole process, using 5 to 7 coats, takes a couple of weeks.

The main aim of the finishing process is to get the finish deep into the wood where it will bond with the fibers, protect your beautiful chair and make it look really nice.

Knowing what finish to put on your custom rocking chair is a very important thing. That's where my experience applying many different kinds of finishes can serve you best. Feel free to contact me; I'll be glad to help.

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