Our Oil Finishing Schedule

Audra and Wiley finishing a rocking chair

These are the instructions that guide us through the finishing process on our rocking chairs, dining chairs, and table bases.

Hand Sanding

1. Hand sand with 320 and then 400 grit. Feel every surface with your hand to be sure that it is smooth.
2. While sanding, inspect for coarse sanding scratches and defects of any kind. Be sure that we have produced true lines, softened edges, accurate shapes, and correct profiles.
3. Use the vacuum to remove sanding dust from surfaces, joints, and inside corners.

Finishing Day One

1. Apply oil, rubbing it in. Experience will guide how much oil and how much rubbing.
2. When you think the chair is completely coated, continue rubbing and add oil as necessary to be sure the surface is fully and evenly coated. Leave it wet as long as you can before drying becomes too laborious.
3. Look for glue spots. Wet sand any spots with oil and 400 sandpaper until they disappear.
4. Dry the surface with a cloth previously used for drying.
5. Use compressed air to remove excess oil from the joints and intersections. Use plenty of air. Blow until no more oil will come out.
6. Dry with fresh cloth. Continue rubbing until every hint of drag is gone from every square inch of surface. Run a bare hand over the chair. Do not leave any excess.
7. Place the chair in the drying rack.
8. After one hour go over all surfaces with hand and cloth again. Look for any oil that has bled from pores or joints. Blow out any joint or intersection that has bled oil to the surface.
9. Dispose of spent wiping cloths in the water pail. Hang re-usable wiping cloths on rack.

Day Two

Chairs must dry at least 48 hours between coats. Allow 4 days for mesquite.

1. Hand sand and machine buff with 600 grit. Be sure to feel every surface with your hand.
2. While sanding, look for defects. Deal with them thus:
a. Glue spots or bleed out spots — wet sand with 400 until they disappear.
b. Sanding scratches or tool marks — sand out with finest grit that will remove the mark. Work
up through grits to 600.
3. Apply enough oil to wet the surface, but do not apply as liberally as day one. Rub and keep the chair wet for 10–20 minutes.
4–9. Follow corresponding steps for Day One.

Day Three

After another 48 hours.

1. Hand sand and buff very lightly with 1000. Feel every surface.
2. Look for defects while sanding. If it is necessary to sand with grit coarser than 600, work back up through the grits to 1500. (If we have to sand with a grit coarser than 600, the resulting area may be dull after the finish dries. Sanding on up through 1500 before oiling helps the sheen return.)
3–9. Follow corresponding steps for Day One.

Final Inspection

After at least 24 hours.

1. Inspect every surface in direct light.
2. Rub your hands over every surface.
3. Buff out any anomaly and lightly oil those areas. Wipe all excess oil immediately.