The more I use soap finish, the happier I am with it. But many woodworkers are skeptical. And I applaud that. For too long companies have tried to sell us this, that or the other as the “miracle” finish that is easy to apply and will leave furniture looking like glass.
Well I don’t want my furniture looking like glass. I want it to be subtle and understated.
That’s where soap comes in. It leaves a flat-sheen surface that is soft to the touch. And it’s easily maintained. Today I noticed the top of this 48” x 48” worktable was getting a little scruffy. I whipped out the jar of soap and rubbed some on. Five minutes later I wiped off the excess and the top looked like new again.
Plus my hands were cleaner than when I started.
All the details on a soap finish are in “The Anarchist’s Design Book,” or you can find plenty of recipes online.
— Christopher Schwarz