The 7 Best Finishes for Bamboo Furniture


Best Finishes for Bamboo Furniture

Bamboo furniture is becoming more popular with interior decorators and those who love natural, boho styles because it is sleek but gives your home an earthy vibe. Because bamboo furniture can sometimes be pricey, those who own it may wonder what finishes they can apply to it so their furniture can look as good as new.

There are several different types of finish products that you can use on bamboo furniture, including oils, waxes, and polyurethane varnishes. The type of finish you use on your bamboo furniture will depend on its type of furniture and its purpose. 

Since bamboo is different from wood, it makes sense to have a proper introduction to what bamboo is, why it is popular as a material for furniture, and the need to know before beginning the process of finishing your bamboo furniture. This guide will direct you to the point where you use the best finish products for your bamboo furniture.

What Do You Use to Finish Bamboo Furniture?

Before you can apply finish to your bamboo furniture, you need to stain it. By using a coat of finishing material on top of the stain, you are applying an additional layer of protection to your bamboo furniture from the moisture in your environment. In this article, we have provided the instructions to prepare your bamboo furniture for later finishing.

What Do You Use to Finish Bamboo Furniture

The different types of materials you can use to finish bamboo furniture include:

  • Oils: Mineral oil, Raw Linseed oil, Tung oil, and Danish oil
  • Waxes: Minwax Paste finishing wax and Beeswax
  • Varnishes: Polyurethane wood varnishes

Now, let’s get into these different oils, waxes, and varnishes you can use to finish your bamboo furniture below.

Oils

One option you have for finishing your bamboo furniture is oils.

Before committing to finishing all your bamboo furniture with one type of oil, you should at least test these options with a piece of bamboo plywood to ensure that your furniture will look exactly the way you want it to. Once you are happy with the chosen oil’s outcome, you can continue finishing your bamboo furniture.

Below is a list of different finishing oils known to be applied to bamboo-made furniture.

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Last update on 2024-07-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Mineral Oil

The first type of oil we’ll be talking about is mineral oil.

Mineral oil is the most affordable oil option for finishing bamboo. It is also known to be blended with other finishing products that can improve the quality and texture of your bamboo furniture.

Mineral oils will easily coat your bamboo furniture just by using a cloth. Once your bamboo furniture is completely covered, wipe off the excess oil from the surface.

Note that you should use a high-quality cloth or rag, as cheaper ones have loose, tiny particles of fabric on them that can easily be sealed in with the oil, and it will be incredibly difficult to clean off. One way you can avoid this besides using a high-quality cloth or rag is to thoroughly wash your rag before using them to eliminate those particles.

Another important thing to note is not to use mineral oils on bamboo furniture designed as a surface for cooking, including prepping meat and vegetables. Preparing food on top of mineral oil-finished bamboo surfaces can cause food poisoning.

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Raw Linseed Oil

Another popular oil used on bamboo furniture is raw linseed oil made from crushed flax seeds. 

Popularly used on hard or close-grained wood, raw linseed oil takes a notoriously long time to set onto the surface of any bamboo or wooden material because it takes a while to seep into it. 

Its processed counterpart, boiled linseed oil, is known to set faster than raw linseed oil. However, it does not provide better protection than raw linseed oil; therefore, stick with the raw linseed oil for your bamboo furniture instead.

Additionally, raw linseed oil must be constantly re-applied for a mellow, patinated, and nice satin finish. 

Last update on 2024-07-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Tung Oil

Tung or China wood oil is a fundamental ingredient in many finish blends. 

Tung oil is a finishing oil acquired by pressing the seed from the nut of the tung tree or the china wood trees. It is one of the more popular options for bamboo furniture, as when it dries, it provides a nice, soft sheen and glossy coating effect.

Furthermore, tung oil is a flexible product; therefore, it can handle the flexible movement of bamboo without cracking, tearing, or checking. Some bamboo furniture is still flexible enough to bend and twist. How it works is that tung oil soaks into the pores of the bamboo. When this happens, it completely seals the moisture inside the bamboo.

Additionally, compared to other finishing products, tung oil is known to be water-resistant. However, a tung oil finish is also more difficult to apply. Just like the raw linseed oil, the tung oil requires several attempts of re-coating.

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  • Easy to Use - Tung oil is a natural oil recognized by craftsmen to offer the ultimate hand-rubbed finish for all fine woods; just wipe on and allow the oil to cure at room temperature
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Last update on 2024-07-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Danish Oil

Danish oil contains a more natural variation than its other finish counterparts. However, Danish oil is not absorbed quickly, and it may take at least a full day between coats when drying. 

Danish oil is not as popular as finishing oil because it is less durable than other oils. Danish oil’s level of durability is considered exceptionally low compared to other oils. Therefore, it does not have much resistance strength against tiny hard debris, dirt, as well as scratches by objects.

The more coats you add with the Danish oil, the better chances you can achieve the level of gloss you want. Additionally, you can utilize fine sandpaper, go over your bamboo furniture’s surface, and get a cleaner and much smoother surface finish.

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Last update on 2024-07-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Waxes

Another material you can use to finish bamboo furniture is wax. 

Here are a few examples of wax-finishing products commonly used by carpenters that can also be used on bamboo furniture.

Minwax Paste Finishing Wax

The first wax we’ll be talking about is Minwax paste finishing wax.

Minwax paste finishing wax works incredibly well on furniture and accessories that do not need a hard, protective coat of polyurethane. Minwax paste wax has been used for centuries and is safe for surfaces designed to contact food in the kitchen.

Although Minwax paste wax finishes are not commonly used as finishing oils, Minwax paste wax still works very well. Remember that when applying Minwax paste, wax requires a little bit of hard work and muscle when applying and polishing to get that perfect surface you want.

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Last update on 2024-07-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Beeswax 

Another popular option for both wood and bamboo is Beeswax.

Beeswax is considered a food-safe finish, so kitchen-based bamboo furniture is well suited, especially for a surface where food is placed and prepared. However, it should only be applied to indoor bamboo furniture due to its minimal protection.

Since the protection provided by Beeswax is minimal, it is not recommended that Beeswax is used as a protective finish on bamboo furniture that will be handled and exposed to daily wear and tear.

Note that beeswax finish comes in two blended formats: oil or paste. One of the most common ways to use beeswax paste is to use it as a final polish over an existing finish.

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Varnishes

The last material we will discuss for finishing bamboo furniture is varnishes. Let’s get into this below.

Polyurethane Wood Varnishes 

The one varnish we will discuss for finishing bamboo furniture is polyurethane wood varnish.

Polyurethane wood varnishes are one of the more popular finishes used in bamboo and wooden furniture. They are known to provide a beautiful and highly durable finish. Polyurethane wood varnishes will help seal in the moisture in your bamboo furniture. 

But apply it properly and carefully, as if done improperly, you may experience cracks, damages, or peeling on your bamboo furniture. You can avoid this by ensuring your bamboo furniture’s surface is clean before application. 

Wooden varnishes come in two forms, which are oil-based and water-based finishes. They can provide satin-smooth to shiny gloss finishes as well. Make sure that you apply the varnishes by using a high-quality brush. The higher quality of the brush, the better the result, as removing brush hairs from the varnishes before it dries up can be extremely meticulous.

You must remember to apply an equal number of coats to each piece of bamboo furniture’s surfaces. This will ensure an even absorption as well as loss of moisture on your bamboo furniture. Once you evenly apply each coating, polish it for the next coat.

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Preparing Your Bamboo Furniture for Finishing

There are several things you need to prepare before finishing your bamboo furniture. Let’s dive deeper into this below.

Preparing Your Bamboo Furniture for Finishing

Measure the Humidity & Temperature

The humidity and the area’s temperature can make or break your finishing process, as the bamboo furniture easily absorbs it from the surrounding area.

One of the first things you should do before beginning your finishing project on your bamboo furniture is get yourself a hygrometer, a device that measures humidity. When finishing your bamboo furniture, you must maintain a humidity level between 40 and 60 percent. 

Afterward, you need to set the thermostat in the room or area where you will be staining your bamboo furniture, and it should ideally be somewhere between 50 and 90 degrees (F). 

It would be best to let the bamboo furniture sit in this environment for at least several days before beginning your work to ensure that the material shares the same temperature as the environment. 

Set Up Your Workspace

Once you have set up your work area or workshop, you must prepare a surface to work on your bamboo furniture. First, lay out cloth or plastic sheets to protect the surrounding area from drips from the stain. 

Plus, it will be easier to clean at the end. Furthermore, this will help keep any dust and debris on the floor from getting blown around on top of your bamboo project and settling on the surface. It will be virtually impossible to completely clean when this happens, and you might have to start over from the beginning.

Choose a Stain

Choose a Stain

Staining your bamboo furniture will help improve your material’s overall quality. For bamboo furniture, you should choose an oil-based stain or water-based stain. Note that you should not use a pigment stain. A pigment stain on bamboo furniture can produce a spotty and discolored effect on its surfaces. 

Since wood will naturally absorb moisture, it can swell when exposed to excessive humidity. If this happens, then you will have to start from the beginning. Additionally, try and use a moisture-balancing stain as well. 

Prepare the Bamboo for Staining

Once you’ve chosen a high-quality wood stain with the color of your choice, there are a few other steps to follow. Staining is still technical work and more than just getting a brush, opening a can of stain, and brushing it on your bamboo furniture.

Here are the steps for preparing your bamboo furniture for staining:

  • Step 1: Lightly sand the surface of the bamboo with a sander. The sander should ideally be 100-150-grit. This will help remove any discolored spots and swells on the wood.
  • Step 2: Wipe the surface of the sanded bamboo with a rag to remove any dust and bits. Aside from rags, you can use a brush or even an air compressor.
  • Step 3: Apply a pre-stain product or high-quality wood conditioner. Reportedly, carpenters highly recommend applying these products to the bamboo furniture’s surface. 
  • Step 4: Once you have applied the pre-stain product, leave the bamboo for a period of time, allowing the product to dry on its surface.
  • Step 5: Gently buffer the bamboo’s surface by using extra-fine sandpaper. 
  • Step 6: Wipe and clean the dust and bits off the surface of the bamboo furniture. 

Once these steps are done, you are set to stain your bamboo furniture.

Apply the Stain

Apply the Stain

Apply the stain; using a brush is the easiest way. Other options include a rag. A rag will be super useful to wipe away the excess strain on the bamboo furniture’s surface after giving it some time to absorb the product. However, make sure to have a couple of rags on the side. 

Keep staining until you are satisfied with the intensity of the color of your bamboo furniture. If you have reached that point, you are finally done with the project! 

Let us say that you want the color of your bamboo furniture to be darker, and you can always apply a second finish coat to it. However, you can skip the sanding process between the first and second stains. 

Let the stain naturally set for up to 24 hours before being able to apply a finish of your choice to your bamboo furniture. Remember that you need to apply the stain toward the grain. This will ensure that your bamboo furniture still looks great.

Why Bamboo Furniture Is Popular

It’s easy to want popular furniture, but understanding why bamboo furniture is popular can help you realize why you should take the time to finish it and keep it looking nice.

Let’s get into each of these reasons below.

The Sustainability of Bamboo

Bamboo is becoming one of the most popular materials for constructive purposes. The first reason is the sustainability aspect of it. 

Technically, bamboos are not trees but grass. Once harvested, bamboo can quickly regrow, making them an eco-friendly alternative to other materials. On average, bamboo takes roughly four years to maturity, unlike trees, which take several decades.

The Durability of Bamboo 

The second reason bamboo is a popular material is its durability. 

Compared to other materials, bamboo has higher compressive and tensile strength while being flexible at the same time. This makes bamboo an exceptionally durable material that is perfect for construction use. 

Conclusion

The choice of finish oil for your bamboo furniture will depend on your furniture type and function. 

If your bamboo furniture is placed outdoors, and exposed to the outside environment, then the tung oil might be a perfect choice. Raw linseed or Danish oil might be better if you have a piece of cheaper bamboo furniture placed inside the household.

Either way, there are a lot of oils as well as other finish products to choose from. Play around with them and see which suits your style and preference best.

Alex

Hi there! I’m Alex, the one behind this website. I ran and operated a Local Furniture Store in Southern California. The store opened in 2010, during the “Great Recession,” It is still thriving today; however, I have dedicated my time to helping our online customer base. My primary focus is to help you with all your furniture & mattress questions.

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