Molding 6 - Finishing Touches


Molding should require only a light sanding. The surface must be clean (make certain all glue has been removed) when the finish or paint is applied. A medium sanding may be required for certain woods or when applying stains or gilt. Sandpaper is graded as medium, or numbers 60, 80, and 100. Fine sandpaper numbers are 150, 180, and very fine 220, 240, and 280. Medium is usually used for the first sanding, fine for smoother results and very fine for smoothing finishes between coats. Sandpaper can be used wet for some finishes. When it is time to paint, or apply the stain, gilt etc., vacuum the room and let the remaining dust settle for at least 24 hours.

Applying the Finish

Your handcrafted picture frames and molding are a personal source of pride and you will want to select a finish which shows it off to its best advantage. Here are some suggestions to consider when you choose your finish.

  1. Appearance: Do you want a clear finish and do you want a stain to blend with the other pieces in your home? Do you prefer a high gloss or satin look? Will paint provide the extra spark of color you need? Perhaps an antique finish or gilt will add to the atmosphere you are trying to create.
  2. Texture: Do you want the frame and molding to appear smooth and slick or do you want to feel the wood's grain?
  3. Durability and protection: How is this piece going to be used? Is the Molding in a high traffic area? Maybe a smudge proof paint that is easy to wash would be best? Do you need minimum protection from water marks and scratches?
  4. Ease of application: How do you want to apply the finish? Will you be using a rag, brush, or spray? Why not visit an unfinished furniture store and talk to the staff about your needs. Look at their finishes and don't hesitate to bring a part of your project or a sample of a finish you may be trying to match. Try any finish you are considering on a scrap piece of wood that has been smoothed down to your molding or frame's finish. You can save a lot of heartache by taking this time to check before applying a finish that doesn't work. Apply your finish in a well ventilated space with lots of room. Cover the floor in the area that you will applying the finish so that if a spill occurs it will not leave a permanent stain. Follow the manufacturer's instructions. The finish is the first thing you and your friends will notice, so take your time. Some refinishers use a sanding sealer, to seal the pores of woods. This allows a more even application of stain. Test to make sure that a sealer will not adversely affect the finish by applying it to a scrap piece of wood and then applying the stain to see if it goes on smoothly.
  5. Check the varnish to see if a certain stain is called for. Read the label for drying times and how many coats to apply. Apply two, preferably three coats of urethane varnish using a good quality natural bristle brush. Between coats wet sand the finish. Rub the surface till it feels smooth. Wipe off any residue and then apply the next coat. To get the best finish, rub with fine pumice or mineral oil.
  6. Be careful at the edges that varnish doesn't drip or run down the sides of the frame or molding. For the final touch, rub down the frame or molding using a thin paste of roftenstone. Let the finish dry for a week before buffing with a hard paste wax or lambswool pad.
  7. Completing this project gives you a beautiful addition to your home. It is an expression of craftsmanship you and your family will be proud of.


Molding is created for the trim in the house exactly as we have shown for picture frames. The joints are also the same, using 45 degree miters. The trim can be used around windows and doors, for baseboards, crown moldings, and chair rails.