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View Rocket62's profile

Finishing Walnut, a first for me

by Rocket62
posted 01-29-2018 06:42 PM


21 replies so far

View Jon Hobbs's profile

Jon Hobbs

147 posts in 851 days


#1 posted 01-29-2018 06:46 PM

Hey Rocket,

I don’t think you want to wet-sand wood of any species. The purpose of sanding is to smooth the surface. Water will raise the grain making the surface rough. So you’re kind of working in opposition to yourself there. Wood reacts to water differently than other materials that are typically wet-sanded.

I’ve not worked much with walnut myself, but I’ve seen and heard tons of recommendations for Waterlox on walnut. that might be worth looking at.

-- Jon -- Just a Minnesota kid hanging out in Kansas

View Vindex's profile

Vindex

93 posts in 968 days


#2 posted 01-29-2018 07:50 PM

I recently finished a walnut table, and I tried ebony and walnut filler on knots in test pieces to see what looked better. I liked the walnut finish better, but it probably depends on how dark the knots look.

Also, if you want a smooth, glossy finish with walnut, you need to fill the wood grain (not just the knots) or your finish will become uneven as it cures (the finish will shrink more into the wood’s pores). I used Wunderfil (http://www.rockler.com/wunderfil-wood-filler-8-oz-colors). You can get a satin or matte finish without filling the pores, but not a gloss or semi-gloss finish.

Unfortunately, I don’t think BLO and shellac will give you the kind of protection you need for a bath tub caddy. I’m not sure what the best top coat is in this case, but you would probably want better water and alcohol resistance. I would think that a wiping varnish would be good here, but I am not very experienced in finishing, so I don’t want to give you a definitive recommendation for the topcoat.

View Rocket62's profile

Rocket62

5 posts in 376 days


#3 posted 01-29-2018 08:12 PM

Thanks for the filler tip I will check into that. I’ve seen some ancient threads that dealt with that but nothing of recent date

I may get some brown or walnut Timbermate and do a test but the knots I’m working with are very dark

Great point on the tub caddy, I should have thought of that. Maybe shellac between BLO and a poly or varnish topcoat? I’ve read that shellac sticks to anything and is the universal ‘between coat’ ...

-- When I die I don't wanna go quietly in the night. I wanna slide in sideways kickin and screamin ... Life is good, soak it up while you can

View d38's profile

d38

106 posts in 408 days


#4 posted 01-29-2018 08:15 PM

Growing up, my Dad made several things from black walnut because my Grandpa procured a lot of farmstead walnut trees from the area. Free black walnut was great!
He stained with Minwax walnut stain it to bring out the grain pattern, then Watco Danish oil.
I’ve used Watco Finishing Wax to add some shine on oak, but Danish oil and Finishing Wax won’t fill the grain.
So I’d suggest a brown stain to reduce the purple effect, and use other’s inputs for top coat.

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

1866 posts in 2136 days


#5 posted 01-29-2018 08:16 PM

I typically use dyes to address color issues, be it the purple tint or lighter sapwood. Im not sure plain blo or a varnish will alone will get the color you want. For wipe on finishing, read this.

Depending on how the bath caddy will be used, a standard varnish may not work. If it is behind the shower curtain and the tub used for showers use marine varnish or better yet teak wood.

View bbasiaga's profile

bbasiaga

1240 posts in 2141 days


#6 posted 01-29-2018 08:18 PM

Wet sanding unfinished wood is not something I have heard of before. Maybe it works?

For water proof, I would do a couple coats of dewaxed shellac to seal off the grain, and then go with a gloss water based top coat or even a gloss poly over that.

But you will getting of ideas, and there are probably lots of ‘right” ways to do it.

I don’t think the shellac on top us a good idea. I think it will for up as it is definitely permeable.

Brian

-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View Vindex's profile

Vindex

93 posts in 968 days


#7 posted 01-29-2018 08:20 PM


Maybe shellac between BLO and a poly or varnish topcoat? I ve read that shellac sticks to anything and is the universal between coat ...

- Rocket62

That sounds right to me, but you probably want to get confirmation from some others.

On my kitchen table, I used danish oil (natural tint) to warm up the color, shellec, and then varnish. It worked for me.

View Vindex's profile

Vindex

93 posts in 968 days


#8 posted 01-29-2018 08:21 PM

edit: double post

View Rocket62's profile

Rocket62

5 posts in 376 days


#9 posted 01-29-2018 08:26 PM

I got the bare wood wet sanding idea from a guy that makes guitars. I’ve tried it and it works wonderfully once you get to the 300+ grid paper

Gotcha on not using shellac on top. I’m thinking I will still use it for a ‘between coat’ so that I can put another kind of top coat on it. Maybe poly or varnish for the top?

I’ve did a comparison test last night on a scrap piece … Tung Oil vs BLO … It should be dry this evening but last night it appeared that BLO was going to be a really good choice for popping the grain. Not sure I want Tung Oil anyway since it takes forever to cure (I hear).

I also tried an experiment with BLO mixed with ebony stain. It did a good job of tempering the purple tint but it was blotchy … kind of like staining pine

-- When I die I don't wanna go quietly in the night. I wanna slide in sideways kickin and screamin ... Life is good, soak it up while you can

View Vindex's profile

Vindex

93 posts in 968 days


#10 posted 01-29-2018 08:28 PM

The tinted grain filler will also change the color of the wood. I found that the Walnut grain filler followed by Watco Natural Danish Oil did the trick for me.

View tomsteve's profile

tomsteve

828 posts in 1365 days


#11 posted 01-29-2018 11:44 PM

would wet sadning with 300+ grit show a difference over stopping at 220?
i know going too fine can close the grain.
also never heard of wiping down with MS between grits. blow/brush off between grits?yes.

when i got into woodworking, i went crazy on the sanding part. then read a couple good articles that said im wasting my time- wasting it using every grit and going past 220. now i skip grit and stop at 220.

BLO is something that is to soak into the wood.

want to pop the grain?
BLO then 2-3 coats of varnish. KISS

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

12369 posts in 2526 days


#12 posted 01-30-2018 12:25 AM

I’m guessing the wet Sanding, I assume with oil not water, is to fill the grain and make a smoother finish.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View Rocket62's profile

Rocket62

5 posts in 376 days


#13 posted 01-30-2018 01:38 AM

The wet sanding is with water makes the grain stand up and lubricates the sanding

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQKgzNyonq8&t=142s&list=PL_3byXRLIgBVGEv6OoVU70K5aNyDulYUV&index=4

-- When I die I don't wanna go quietly in the night. I wanna slide in sideways kickin and screamin ... Life is good, soak it up while you can

View Don's profile

Don

5 posts in 1209 days


#14 posted 01-30-2018 03:58 AM

Assuming the knots have cavities I use dried coffee grounds and CA glue. Just fill the cavity with grounds and put the CA glue on top then spray with activator. Always test first.

-- Don in Murfreesboro, TN.

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

12369 posts in 2526 days


#15 posted 01-30-2018 05:42 AM



The wet sanding is with water makes the grain stand up and lubricates the sanding

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQKgzNyonq8&t=142s&list=PL_3byXRLIgBVGEv6OoVU70K5aNyDulYUV&index=4
- Rocket62

Thanks for the link. I personally wouldn’t bother with raising the grain if not using a waterbase stain or finish but it won’t hurt anything. Shellac will raise the grain a little but I sand the first coat back to smooth anyway so it’s irrelevant. Oil and oil base varnish will not raise the grain so there isn’t any need to pre-raise it. Keep in mind, the finer you sand, the less stain it will absorb (not sure if you going ahead with the stain or not). The oil is just for looks so one wipe on coat is plenty, additional coats will only delay the finishing process.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View JohnDi's profile

JohnDi

54 posts in 1580 days


#16 posted 01-30-2018 11:35 AM

I have never been disappointed using armor seal on walnut.

View EarlS's profile

EarlS

1623 posts in 2494 days


#17 posted 01-30-2018 12:43 PM

Walnut is one of my favorite woods. I use it for desk tops, accents, chairs, you name it.

My experience with BLO is that it takes 24-48 hours to dry out between coats. If you put another layer on before the first one is dry you will get a tacky, sticky finish that never really dries.

As others said, you probably should fill the pores in the bath caddy since you want to use it in a wet environment. Personally, I wouldn’t worry about the pores on the entertainment center. I usually use a sander sealer to seal the wood then lay down 3-4 coats of General Finishes Arm-R-Seal semi-gloss. General finishes bring out a rich, deep luster in the wood. I think they also make waterproof finishes.

I’m not sure why you want to start with 80 grit paper. You will sand off a lot of wood, use a lot of sandpaper and spend a enormous amount of time going through that list of grits. Start with 180 grit, then 220 and maybe 320, all dry. If you want to raise the grain, wet the piece between sanding.

I’d fill the holes with an epoxy, sand everything smooth to 220 grit before applying stain. Keep in mind, you should be finished with your heavy duty sanding before you stain or you will simply sand it back off. Lightly sand off the nubs after the stain dries and then apply the finish. Wait at least 24 hours between coats for it to dry thoroughly. Lightly sand with 600 grit paper between coats.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View laterthanuthink's profile

laterthanuthink

23 posts in 276 days


#18 posted 01-30-2018 12:53 PM

I’ve had good luck on walnut with multiple coats of waterlox https://www.amazon.com/dp/B009LKWLJI

View rwe2156's profile

rwe2156

3092 posts in 1627 days


#19 posted 01-30-2018 04:08 PM

You can use dyes to even out woods like cherry and walnut.

Like all things finishing, test it out on some scrap or the back of the board first.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View tomsteve's profile

tomsteve

828 posts in 1365 days


#20 posted 01-30-2018 05:17 PM



I m guessing the wet Sanding, I assume with oil not water, is to fill the grain and make a smoother finish.

- Rick_M

now thats something ive done using BLO. but water- i personally wouldnt put water on wood when im finish sanding. too many complications can occur.

i can understand your enthusiasm about finishing. one thing to note- youre looking at a video for finishing a guitar.
hows about finding videos/articles on finishing furniture like youre building? i think youd benefit from finding articles by jeff jewitt hes been finishing and refinishing furniture for over 30 years. there is some good reading right on his site and many more out on the WWW.
http://homesteadfinishingproducts.com/about-us/
just tryin to help ya cut down your labor time here. maybe you’ll be different, but after i stopped complicating the finishing process and went simple, i didnt see a difference in the finish.

View Trev76's profile

Trev76

13 posts in 265 days


#21 posted 01-30-2018 09:39 PM

3 to 4 coats of Waterlox is all I ever use on walnut. And I wouldn’t start sanding with 80 grit, unless you’re trying to smooth out really, really rough wood. Maybe start with 120.

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