Lather Up: Soap-Flake Finish
Pure soap flakes produce a beautiful finish.
Synopsis: A traditional finish on Danish furniture, soap has a low sheen, in-the-grain quality that enhances the natural look of wood. It’s also very easy to use. All you need is a handful of pure soap flakes and 1/2 cup of hot water. This bright, light finish is ideal for lighter-toned woods like white oak, ash, maple, and beech.
I first learned of using soap flakes as a wood finish from a Danish furniture maker who said it was traditionally used in Denmark on everything from chairs and tables to case goods and floors. I was skeptical, but when I saw it on a cabinet he’d made I had to try it. Four years later, it’s my finish of choice. With its low sheen, this in-the-grain finish has a muted beauty that enhances the look of wood being wood. And it’s smoother to the touch than any finish I’ve encountered.