Burnished Wood Finish for Furniture

There are lots of wood polishing techniques that carpenters often use. This time we will discuss the Burnished Wood Finish technique.

Burnishing wood is a technique for creating a mirror-like finish on a piece of wood. It’s a great way to bring out the natural beauty of a piece of wood.

It is also done to make wood look more antique and old-fashioned. This technique can make the surface smooth and shiny without adding any solvent.

What is a burnishing wood finish?

Every time, furniture made of wood has a color that can fade over time. You need to re-polish the wood surface to make it look attractive again.

To burnish wood, you rub it with a small ball-shaped or roller-shaped hand tool to make the surface smooth.

It is a handy finishing method that can make the surface of the workpiece smoother and harder.

Rub two wooden surfaces together for wood burnishing to create heat from the friction. The heat from the friction of the two wooden surfaces can help dry the wooden cells.

Depend on what material you want to burnish. In simple words, burnishing is rubbing the same material on another.

You can also use smooth pebble stone or anything similar to burnishing wood.

When the wood cells become drier, they will give a glossy finish. You no longer need to add another layer of finishing solvent to the wood surface.

This technique is similar to someone trying to sandpaper a wood surface to produce a smoother wood surface. It turns out that this technique does not require high skills, so ordinary people can do it.

It is best to learn how to apply Burnished Wood Finish properly. You don’t need a lot of equipment to do this activity either.

How is burnished wood different from polished wood?

When you burnish and polish, you get a smooth shine. But while polishing and burnishing are often used interchangeably, burnishing is usually a mechanical process done with a burnisher.

Polishing is a more general term that can be used for both hand and machine polishing.

Wood burnishing is a way to finish wood. It gives it a smooth, shiny look similar to what you get when using polyurethane or lacquer.

What is a burnishing tool for wood?

Burnishing tools are used to achieve a small finish on a part. Unlike other methods, like honing and grinding, burnishing doesn’t remove any wood from the surface.

Rather, burnishing reduces roughness and leaves behind a mirror-like, uniform surface finish.

Burnishing is a method that professionals often use when they don’t want to use chemicals on their work.


When hardwood is rubbed against a working piece of wood, the fibers are crushed, and the wood acquires a shining sheen. This makes the patterns you can see in the wood grain on the finished piece.

A wood burnishing tool can also be made from hardwood like oak or maple.

Use a medium-sized piece of wood to rub patterns of circles into the wood’s surface. Put on firm pressure and move in small circles.

Cloth or denim fabric

This is the common thing you will need to burnish wood. The denim is folded into a small pad and rubbed over the wood’s surface in an oval pattern. The finish will blend into the wood’s pores when the wood warms up.

There are burnishing creams and wax on the market today, but these are not used in traditional burnishing. The piece of wood needs to be sanded and cleaned to get rid of any dirt or dust.

Ultra-fine sandpaper

Over 1200 grit ultra-fine sandpaper is excellent at creating a rubbing effect rather than removing a substance from the board.

If you have sanding tools, you can use these to burnish your wooden pieces by attaching some extremely fine sandpaper to them.

Metal burnishing

Burnishing tools made of smooth metal perform well, and metal rods or metal balls can be utilized in these. You can impart pressure and heat to the wood you want to work on by swiftly rubbing these instruments against it.

Contrary to the numerous hardwood burnishing tools employed, smooth metal tools like metal rods and metal balls likewise don’t scratch easily.

Burnishing works best when done with tools made of smooth metal; contrary to the numerous hardwood burnishing tools employed, smooth metal tools like metal rods and metal balls likewise don’t scratch easily.

How to burnish wood?

Burnishing wood is a good way to get that nice finish on your wooden furniture. It is a great technique for finishing wood furniture, and it can be done with just a few simple tools.

A well-burnished wood looks great, but it takes effort to achieve that look. There are several techniques for burning wood, but the most common is using the wood itself.

Here we show you how to burnish wood with a wood burnisher and polishing cloth.

Put on the Mask and Gloves

You can put on masks and gloves before starting this work. Masks are useful for preventing small wood particles from entering the respiratory tract. These wood particles are dangerous if they accidentally enter the respiratory tract.

While gloves are useful for protecting hands, they are not easily injured when rubbing the wood with wood.

Wearing gloves can also prevent wood particles from sticking to your hands. Some carpenters even wear special glasses so that their eyes don’t get dust from wood particles easily.

Prepare the Necessary Equipment

Once you’ve finished learning about the theory, you can start preparing your equipment. Some equipment is denim fabric, hardwood, ultra-fine sandpaper, and metal burnishing tools.

However, the metal burnishing tools will not be used in this discussion.

Denim fabric is useful for cleaning the surface of small particles. The way to use this cloth is to make it into a small pad.

While hardwood is more useful for scrubbing furniture surfaces, most of the hardwood used is maple or oak.

When this part of the wood block is rubbed against another wood surface, it will compress the wood fibers, making the wood surface glossy.

Of course, you have to rub carefully because too strong friction will damage the wooden surface of the furniture.

Can you replace the scrubbing with sandpaper if you don’t have oak or maple wood?

You can also use Ultra-Fine Sandpaper to make compressed outermost wood cells. This is an alternative when you can’t find oak or maple blocks in a building store.

Purchase 1200 grit ultra-fine sandpaper. The heat from the friction between the sandpaper and the wood surface will produce the same glossy finish using a wooden block.

Clean the Furniture Surface

First of all, you need to make the surface of the furniture clean. Clean all the dust and dirt that sticks to the furniture’s surface.

The cleaning process can be done using a dry cloth or a vacuum cleaner. Then you can use another cloth with wood cleaning fluid. Do not clean the surface of the wood using tap water because it can damage the appearance of the wood.

The cleaned wood is left to dry. If the table’s surface is dry, you can start Burnished Wood Finish. Surfaces that are not yet dry will make this technique unsuccessful because the wood cleaning fluid absorbs the heat generated from friction.

Wipe Furniture With Denim Cloth

The next process will be done by rubbing the furniture’s surface using denim fabric. Use woven cloth from pants that are not used.

Friction on the furniture’s surface with sufficient pressure, we recommend that you use a circular motion during the rubbing process.

Do this process to the entire surface of the table you want to make shiny again.

Use Wood for Rubbing

After rubbing with denim cloth, you can start using oak or maple wood. Perform the rubbing process in the direction of the wood grain of the furniture.

Keep repeating until it overlaps with the first rubbed process. Gradually you will feel the surface of the furniture become warm.

That means the friction between the two blocks of wood has produced heat that can carry out the compression process.

Keep an eye on whether the surface becomes more glossy after you feel the emergence of heat on the surface.

Check Lamp Lighting

Whenever you use this technique, check the lighting of the lamps. Proper lighting is close to the surface being glossy. You can use the study table lamp or a regular flashlight. This step is useful for making a mark to know whether the desired glossy level is sufficient or not.

You can apply the next few steps if it is not glossy.

The lighting will improve when you do this activity until the afternoon. It is not recommended to do Burnished Wood Finish at night.

Back Rub with Denim Cloth

After scrubbing the furniture’s surface using a wooden block, you can rub it again using a denim cloth.

Wipe the cloth back and forth to unite the circular rubbing direction, and Burnished Wood Finish for Furniture.

The rubbing direction will produce a glossy and beautiful wood surface appearance when the rubbing direction is fused.

This scrubbing process does require energy and patience.

However, completing this technique does not take long compared to coating the surface using buffing shellac or other polishing liquids. Coating the furniture’s surface using certain liquids will require a long drying time.

Use Other Denim Fabrics

The wood cell compression process in this technique makes the denim fabric dirty.

There’s nothing wrong with changing to another, cleaner denim. Use a clean denim cloth to continue scrubbing the surface of the furniture.

The rubbing process can be combined with circular or straight movements. Guaranteed your wood surface will be shiny after this process is complete.

Final Thought

Burnishing wood creates a smooth and even finish on wood furniture and floors. Burnishing involves rubbing a flat piece of wood, and It was burnishing aims to achieve a uniform, high-gloss finish.

Burnishing wood is inexpensive but hard and needs extra effort to create a beautiful, durable finish on small wood furniture.

A burnisher should be used at a low speed with a light touch. If you rub the burnisher too hard, you will remove too much of the surface, and the wood will have a rough texture.

You can burnish wood furniture by hand or with the help of a machine.