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Mckinnon woods and finishes


Wood is good. Not only is wood one of the most popular materials for furniture, it's also one of the most environmentally responsible. At McKinnon, we know a lot about wood. For answers to some interesting wood questions, please click below.

  1. Why choose wood as a material for fine furniture?
  2. What are the environmental benefits of using wood?
  3. What are the differences between softwoods and hardwoods?
  4. What are the advantages of solid hardwood?
  5. What are the different characteristics of the hardwoods you offer?
  6. Why does my wood furniture look different than what you have in the showroom?
  7. How do you select the woods for your furniture?
  8. What is plywood veneer and do you use it in your furniture?

Your McKinnon furniture has been finished with a hand rubbed oil finish and top coated with a hand rubbed polyurethane. The oil finish is absorbed into the wood, and will become part of the wood. Dining table tops are coated with a catalyzed conversion varnish, which forms a very hard and durable coating. (See Dining Tables Section Below).

Water and heat can be damaging to the finish and the wood. Take care to protect your furniture by using coasters, trivets, place mats, and hot pads at all times. Wipe up any spills immediately.

To care for your furniture, dust regularly with a clean cloth. If your furniture begins to look dry, you may use our furniture polish to refresh the finish. Each small bottle may be purchased in the showroom for $4. If the bottle needs to be shipped, the cost will be $12/each due to it's flammability. This polish may be wiped on with a cotton cloth, and then completely wiped dry. You do not need to polish the furniture on a regular basis. Please do not use commercially available lemon oil or orange oil, as these may harm the finish.

The McKinnon furniture polish may take care of minor scratches and marks. If your furniture becomes damaged, we will be happy to talk to you about the best way to repair the damage.
McKinnon Furniture offers an in-home oil service. For a small fee, our craftspeople will come to your home to refresh the finish on your furniture. Please call the woodshop at (253) 852-0274 with any questions about our finish, or to arrange for an in-home oil service.

Special Finish for Dining Tables
At the request of our customers, McKinnon Furniture had been searching for a more durable finish for our dining table tops. While we have always liked the silky smooth feel of a hand rubbed oil finish, it doesn’t always offer enough protection against damage caused by the kind of use most dining tables receive.

At last we have found a finish that will provide more protection, but will still have a smooth feel and still allow the wood to age naturally. It is a Sherwin Williams product called KemVar, a conversion varnish that is catalyzed for a harder finish. The finish is sprayed on and has a lustrous sheen. It is resistant to moisture, chemicals and organic solvents, and creates a much harder surface finish.

We performed some informal tests at our wood shop and found the KemVar to be quite durable. It seems to be impervious to hot tea, coffee, cola, and water left on the surface for several hours. We have put hot plates directly on the surface, and spilled food on it without apparent damage. We do not recommend this kind of abuse, of course, but it does persuade us that KemVar will be what our customers have asked for: a more lasting finish for everyday use of dining tables.

Effective June 27, 2005, the KemVar finish became the standard finish on all of our dining tables. If you would prefer an oil finish, please specify when ordering. The oil finish will add 10% to the price and 3 weeks to the lead-time.

If you have a McKinnon dining table with an oil finish and would like the KemVar added, please let us know. The cost will range $500 to $900 depending upon the size of the table and whether it's a non-extension or extension table. Pick-up and delivery charges are additional. Please plan to be without your table for two to three weeks. To make arrangements, please contact the showroom (206) 622-6474 or e-mail us at

We are continually trying to improve our products and processes. We appreciate the feedback we receive from customers and hope you will continue to let us know how we can make our furniture work better for you.

Eastern Maple   Cherry   Mahogany    
Quarter-Sawn White Oak   Walnut        





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