Shaker dresser finishing touchesIn the final edition of this series, Tom McLaughlin finishes up the Shaker dresser by turning a knob, installing drawers, and applying a Danish oil finish.
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I prefer oil-based wiping varnishes when finishing cherry. They’re easy to apply and produce a pleasing richness as the patina deepens over time. I finish all exterior cherry surfaces and both sides of the top with two to three coats of Waterlox original sheen before adding a final topcoat of Waterlox satin sheen. For a traditional touch, I use a scrub plane to subtly scallop the outside faces of the back boards before installing them, leaving a tactile surprise whenever someone runs their hand there. All interior surfaces, the back boards, and the underside of the dresser are sealed and finished with two thin coats of clear shellac. (The interior is easy to finish with the rear dividers removed.) Drawer interiors and sides also get clear shellac, lightly sanded with 320-grit sandpaper, and buffed with paste wax.