Home  |  Contact


Ask MitchPlease feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions about The Wood Finishing Program, would like to arrange a tour of our facilities, or would like information about careers in the wood finishing industry.


Mitch Kohanek

Phone: 651.423.8362
Email: mitchell.kohanek@dctc.edu

Wood 1012 Color Theory

We are into our third week of understanding color as artists. The terminology has been explained on the white board…….. bench work solidifies those terms. The goal now is to match all the color samples that I created. As a team we analyzed each sample that was brought forth so that we could discuss what we saw. It was so pleasing hearing the correct terms being used to analyze the colors to match:  Hue, chroma, value, shading, tinting.
This learning exercise will then set the stage for our next plunge into color……. repairing damage wood/coating in our Spot Repair I, and my Spot Repair II class.

Now the students learn to duplicate my color samples

2012-2013 Wood 1012 Color Theory

Welcome back to the NIWF blog for the 2012-2013 school year.

This is only our second day back and we are in the lab putting theory to practical application. Day one was introductions and then right into what is involved with the coloring of wood. My goal for this portion of the program is to help them understand how to mix colors together to achieve a one step coloring system on raw wood. Later on we will use this information to use multi-step coloring systems to create custom colors or to match the color of an object that is brought to us to match.

We have many weeks ahead full of intense learning and I will try and keep you up to-date on where we are at.

Carry on,


Creating color from scratch













Students creating colors from scratch

2011-2012 Blogs

Let it be known that the NIWF  blogs for 2011-1012  were the efforts of an extremely talented 2012 graduate, Michelle Veit. She was the wizard behind the curtain. I can’t thank her enough for her dedication to make sure you were able to monitor what we were doing at the DCTC National Institute of Wood Finishing. She kept up her quality benchwork, written tests and still make time for the blog. Her pleasant personality and constant smile kept us all in good spirits while she shed her sense of humor to the wonderful blogs she wrote. To you Michelle, many kudos from me and those who enjoyed your hard work.

Carry on,



The Wizard behind the curtain………..  Michelle Veit

The REAL End

Well I managed to get my hands on some graduation pictures so THIS is the end. Really!
















Because Wood Finishing starts with a “W” it 1) means we’re awesome but also 2) means that we’re last in line for graduation.  So we had to wait for just a bit. Like an hour. But that’s ok because we had Dave, Ben and Rick (three rule breakers who managed to get in the “graduates only space”) to chat with us.  Here’s your VIP access to backstage at graduation!

















































































Dave's face means this is the picture I leave you all with.














So now I really AM signing off.  It was a pleasure to be your blog master!  Goodbye!  Adios! Cheerio! Yavakh tsag bolchikhood baina! (That’s Mongolian – I thought I’d throw it in)

And my usual farewell parting to everyone:


The End

Well this is it. The end.

We had quite a year! Day one we all met each other – went around the room introducing ourselves and telling everyone why we were here.  Some of our stories have stayed the same and some have changed – only for the better though!

A HUGE thanks to Mitch for such a great school year.  His patience and willingness to share knowledge, and his dedication to our education and continued success knows no bounds.  His connections to places and people makes for such a unique and well rounded education.  Thank you, Mitch!

On the last day of class after everything is cleaned, everyone “signs the tube.”  “The tube” is actually a vent that, since 1989, classes have decorated and signed.  (I have pictures of early signings but they’re on my computer that’s packed in my car. Under baskets of clothes and furniture. So you’ll have to wait on that.)


Caroline just put the finishing "2012" touch on the tube. Now onto signing!
























A heart added for good measure.












































































































































The last signature.













A beautiful tube indeed!













The class of 2012!














Thanks to Mitch for letting me be the blog master!  I hope you’ve all enjoyed reading and experiencing what we’ve been doing the past 9 months.  Hopefully it’s shed some light into the awesome that is the Wood Finishing program, as well as bring back some memories for past grads and answer some questions for “wannabe” grads.  Good luck out there!

Final Projects

So as per my previous postings, you know that we’ve been working on our final projects.  As a reminder, this consists of:

1) A “maverick” chair ie. a chair that doesn’t need to match any other chair or table.  Abilities to pilot an F-14 with Goose is a plus.

2) A table and 4 – 6 chairs. All have to match.

Plus anything else we want to throw in.  For example, we have some guitars, desks, misc. tables, etc. being worked on around the shop.

You might also remember that instead of a normal 3 week long class, this last class is 6 weeks long.  WE HAVE 3 DAYS LEFT.  How crazy is that?

There’s not much to talk about as you have a jist of what we’re doing, so I thought I’d show a bit of what everyone is working on.  Although I didn’t get each person to pose next to their projects, I made sure to get a picture of (at least) one piece that each person is refinishing.  My only regret is that I didn’t get before pictures! So you’ll just have to imagine this furniture being scratched, missing pieces, showing previous repairs, missing veneer, having water stains…every bad thing you can think of.  Then be amazed at the finishes we’ve produced!

Some of these projects are still in progress. Get ready for lots of pictures!




















































































































































































































































































































































































Goodness! And that’s only some of the pieces. There’s even more that I didn’t show you.

Pretty good, right? We’ve certainly come a long way in 9 months.



A Visit From Mirka

The other day we had a short visit from Andy Sayre of Mirka Abrasives.  He came in to talk to and show us all about the newest Mirka products.  He also brought us a nice little sander that we all got the pleasure of trying ourselves.  As soon as we all got to play with the sander, we were off again to work on our final projects.
































































The sander also came out with an optional vacuum – it supports different power levels, additional hoses and other attachments. So naturally we have to inspect it thoroughly.











Afterwards we took a raking light and some stain to the freshly sanded board to see if it left any marks.  It came off pretty clean!


Applying the stain













And looking for marks!


A Visit from Dave Magnuson – Environmental Specialist

When you’re a finisher one of the things you have to be aware of  is proper hazardous waste management;  because  having Methylene Chloride in my drinking water doesn’t sound like a fun time.   Dave Magnuson, Environmental Specialist for Dakota County came to talk to us about just that.













He managed to give us a great amount of information in about an hour and a half…as opposed to the usual 5 hour lecture he gives.

Things that were covered included:

How to properly store and label hazardous waste (we got to see pictures of good and bad examples).

How to categorize your waste and then take care of it accordingly.

How you can transport hazardous waste.

Programs set up in Dakota County to help businesses with their hazardous waste.

Etc. We ended up asking a lots of questions too.

It was very informative and although some of us won’t be living in Dakota County, his slideshow gave us some great guidelines to follow.

Thanks for visiting, Dave!



What We’re Up to

We’ve all been pretty busy at work these past couple of weeks.  We have full access of the strip tanks and the spray booths, so people get their ideas and then get to it!  We still have furniture coming in and people are slowly (but surely!) getting things out.  It’s busy and sometimes hectic, but there’s always something to do.

Here’s some pictures of us doing our thing.














































































































As you can see from the pictures, we’re doing a variety of things.  Regluing, stripping finish, putting on new finish, sanding, making parts, color matching, spraying… All of those previous classes and assignments are coming together for a furniture finale!

dctc logo

A member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System.

DCTC is an affirmative action, equal opportunity, employer and educator.

1300 145th St. E., Rosemount, MN 55068 | Phone: 651-423-8301 | Toll-free: 877-937-3282

If you have any questions, concerns, or comments about the Web site please contact the Webmaster