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Tips for Finishing and Maintaining Your Ash Wood Creations

Timber Knowledge Tips & Guides
18 July 2023 min read

Tips for Finishing and Maintaining Your Ash Wood Creations

Ash wood furniture or flooring can be a significant investment, especially considering the timber’s beauty and durability. 

However, the shine and lustre of wood can fade over time due to environmental factors, lack of maintenance, or simple wear and tear. It's disheartening to see your prized furniture or flooring become dull and look old, right?

Don’t worry; we've compiled a comprehensive list of tips for finishing and maintaining ash wood. With our guide highlighting the best wood finishes and smart maintenance tips, you can extend the life of your ash wood floors or furniture, helping them maintain their like-new appearance for many years.


Understanding Ash Wood's Unique Properties

In maintaining ash wood, it's useful to understand some of its unique properties. For instance, its porosity impacts how it absorbs finishes. While it’s more porous than some hardwoods, it's less so than others, leading to an even and consistent finish if properly applied.


Consider the Age of Ash Wood

The age of ash can also affect the finishing process. Older, drier wood tends to absorb finishes more quickly. Thus, you may need to apply additional coats to achieve the desired finish. The weather conditions during application can also impact the finish. Using a finish in humid conditions may result in a longer drying time.


Preparing Your Ash Wood

Before starting any project, preparing your ash wood is essential. This involves removing any rough patches, scratches, or blemishes. Start by sanding the surface of the wood with fine-grit sandpaper. This will help to smooth out the surface and remove any imperfections. Once the surface has been sanded, wipe it clean with a damp cloth and let it dry completely.


Using Wood Conditioners

Using a wood conditioner before staining can help achieve an even, blotch-free finish. Quality conditioners partially seal the wood's surface to control stain absorption, ensuring an even colour.


Choosing the Right Finish for Your Ash Wood Project

Sealing can protect the wood from moisture and help preserve the finish. Choosing the right finish for your ash wood project is crucial to achieving the desired look and maintaining the wood's natural beauty. There are several types of finishes to choose from, including oil-based, water-based, and lacquer-based.

Oil-based finishes are the most commonly used finish for ash wood projects. They penetrate the wood, providing a rich colour and smooth finish. They are also easy to apply and provide long-lasting protection. However, they take longer to dry and can emit strong odours during application.

Water-based finishes are becoming more popular due to their environmentally friendly qualities and low VOC emissions. They are easy to apply and can dry within a few hours. However, they tend to be less durable than oil-based finishes.

Lacquer-based finishes are the most durable for ash wood but can be challenging to work with. They provide a high-gloss finish and are commonly used for flooring and furniture projects. However, they take longer to dry and require a well-ventilated area during application.


Dealing with Ash Wood’s Grain

Ash's straight grain can sometimes have waves that add to its aesthetic appeal but may also lead to "raised grain" when finished. Raised grain happens when the wood absorbs water from a finish, causing the fibres to swell and stand up. To avoid this, a preliminary coat of finish can be applied, followed by light sanding to knock down the raised grain, resulting in a smoother finish.


Applying the Finish to Your Ash Wood

Once you have chosen the right finish for your ash wood project, it’s essential to apply it properly to achieve the desired effect. Start by applying a coat of the finish with a paintbrush or spray gun, following the instructions provided by the manufacturer. Be sure to use the finish in thin, even coats, and avoid applying too much at once, as this can cause runs and drips.

Also, let the first coat dry completely before applying the second coat. Depending on the type of finish, you may need to use several coats to achieve the desired effect. 

After applying the final coat, let it dry completely before lightly sanding the surface with fine-grit sandpaper to remove any rough patches or blemishes.


Maintaining Your Ash Wood

Proper maintenance is essential to keep your ash wood projects looking great for years. Start by regularly dusting the surface of your ash wood with a clean, dry cloth. This will help remove any dirt or debris accumulating over time.

Use a damp cloth to wipe the surface of your ash wood occasionally, but be sure to dry it thoroughly to avoid warping or discolouration. Avoid exposing the wood to direct sunlight or extreme temperatures, which can cause fading or cracking.

If your ash wood becomes scratched or damaged, you can repair it by sanding the surface lightly and applying a new coat of finish. Be sure to match the original finish type used to ensure a consistent look.


Re-coating Periodically

For maintained longevity, consider re-coating your finished ash wood creations every few years. This step is particularly crucial for items that receive heavy use or are exposed to the elements.


Inspect Regularly

Regular inspections are an important part of maintenance. Over time, the wood may develop small cracks or splits due to fluctuations in temperature and humidity. But don’t worry, you can sand and re-finish these areas, preventing further damage.


Exceptional Wood Solutions from Woodshop Direct

Ash wood is a beautiful and durable material used for centuries in woodworking projects.

Proper preparation, finishing, and maintenance are essential to achieve the desired effect and keep your ash wood projects looking great. These tips will help ensure that your ash wood creations remain durable and attractive for many years. By understanding the properties of ash wood and how to finish and maintain it properly, you can truly bring out the best in this remarkable material.

At Woodshop Direct, our dedication lies in delivering top-tier ash wood products. And our comprehensive collection ensures you find the perfect match for your needs.