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Furniture Finisher  What They Do

Just the Facts


Shapes, finishes, and refinishes damaged, worn, or used furniture or new high-grade furniture to specified color or finish.

This career is part of the Manufacturing cluster Maintenance, Installation and Repair pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Mixes finish ingredients to obtain desired colors or shades.
  • Brushes, sprays, or hand-rubs finishing ingredients, such as paint, oil, stain, or wax, onto and into wood grain and applies lacquer or other sealers.
  • Smooths, shapes, and touches up surfaces to prepare them for finishing, using sandpaper, pumice stones, steel wool, chisels, sanders, or grinders.
  • Selects appropriate finishing ingredients such as paint, stain, lacquer, shellac, or varnish, depending on factors such as wood hardness and surface type.
  • Fills and smooths cracks or depressions, removes marks and imperfections, and repairs broken parts, using plastic or wood putty, glue, nails, or screws.
  • Distresses surfaces with woodworking tools or abrasives before staining to create an antique appearance, or rub surfaces to bring out highlights and shadings.
  • Examines furniture to determine the extent of damage or deterioration, and to decide on the best method for repair or restoration.
  • Paints metal surfaces electrostatically, or by using a spray gun or other painting equipment.
  • Recommends woods, colors, finishes, and furniture styles, using knowledge of wood products, fashions, and styles.
  • Removes old finishes and damaged or deteriorated parts, using hand tools, stripping tools, sandpaper, steel wool, abrasives, solvents, or dip baths.

Insider Info

Dig into the details and check out what people in this job have to say about their work.



Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Work in this occupation involves bending or twisting your body more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Exposure to pollutants, gases, dust, fumes, odors, poor ventilation, etc.
  • Requires getting into awkward positions
  • Lighting is either extremely bright or inadequate
  • Conditions are very hot (above 90 F) or very cold (under 32 F)
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Exposed to conditions such as high voltage electricity, combustibles, explosives, and chemicals more than once a month
  • Exposed to hazardous equipment such as saws, machinery, or vehicular traffic more than once a month
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves use of special protective items such as a breathing apparatus, safety harness, full protection suit, or radiation protection
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Picking out a particular sound in the presence of other sounds
  • Identifying color and seeing differences in color, including shades and brightness
  • Using muscles repeatedly or over time without tiring
  • Bending, stretching, twisting, or reaching
  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Exerting oneself physically over long periods of time without getting out of breath
  • Lifting, pushing, pulling, or carrying objects
  • Using abdominal and lower back muscles repeatedly or over time without tiring

Work Hours and Travel

  • Regular working hours and limited travel

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Antique Finisher --
  • Hardwood Finisher --
  • Lacquer Sprayer --
  • Piano Refinisher --