Foundations of Furniture Finishing

with Mike Mascelli


Understand the wide array of hand-applied finishes and learn how to use them effectively.

Also, access to join Mike for a Live Zoom Q&A session on Tuesday, August 20, 2024 with the purchase of the course.

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Course Overview

You’ve spent dozens of painstaking hours building a piece of furniture—from lumber selection to perfect gap-free joinery. So don’t drop the ball on the one-yard line and slap on a few coats of whatever finish has been collecting dust on a forgotten shelf in your shop. The finish matters. How you apply it matters. Sadly, because it’s hard to tell the different finishes apart and figure out what you should use and how, it’s tempting to take the easy road. We get it, but we’re here to help.


In this course, Mike Mascelli breaks down the foundational elements of commonly used products and techniques found in the shops of passionate woodworkers the world over. Mike will show you how to distill the widely misunderstood (and misrepresented) information found on finishing products, giving you a true understanding of the products to use and why.

Covered In This Course

  • Using and understanding different types of finishes
    • Soft waxes and linseed oils
    • Hard-wax oil finishes
    • Shellac
    • Oil-based and waterborne varnishes
    • Lacquer
    • “High-performance” finishes
  • Pore filling ring-porous woods
  • Proper surface preparation before finishing
  • Defining the film thickness and sheen of a finish
  • Rubbing out a finish to your desired sheen
  • Commonly found solvents in a finisher’s arsenal


Born, raised, and still living in Latham, N.Y., Michael Mascelli teaches finishing and upholstery at schools and guilds across the country. He is the director of the Professional Refinisher’s Group and says, “These folks are the true experts in restoration and conservation, so my teaching is just a re-packaging of what I have learned from the pros for over 20 years.” His approach to his work is to respect the piece in front of him and the life it had before it came.


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