Stools are extremely solid, nothing to assemble! Finish is matte and it is 'vintage" meaning there are some scuffs to make it look timeworn. If you are looking for a perfect finish these stools may not be for you. I love the character they add and also don't have to worry about keeping them perfect. Got them with a coupon and even at regular price they are much less expensive than what I had found at other retailers.