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View RussellAP's profile

Advice on finishing black walnut

by RussellAP
posted 10-19-2012 04:03 PM


24 replies so far

View rance's profile

rance

4135 posts in 1825 days


#1 posted 10-19-2012 04:09 PM

Personally, I use ’Natural’ Danish Oil one on Black Walnut all the time(most recently in class just last night). It looks very professional. I also have an aversion to coloring wood, although I do it from time to time, but mainly with bright transtint dyes. I use Watco.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View Rick M.'s profile

Rick M.

4021 posts in 1045 days


#2 posted 10-19-2012 04:12 PM

Golden oak on walnut, I’m curious what it looks like. Can you post a picture?

I haven’t tried a tinted oil on walnut but I have stained sapwood without problem. If you’re getting blotching then a conditioner would be the ticket.

-- |Statistics show that 100% of people bitten by a snake were close to it.|

View RussellAP's profile

RussellAP

2954 posts in 951 days


#3 posted 10-19-2012 04:15 PM

Wormil, I don’t think a picture would capture the subtle difference. In walnut there is a confluence of medium to dark browns in the wood. The golden oak lightens up the lightest browns but doesn’t really do anything to the darker. It increases the parameters of the color spectrum. The red does the same only a slight red tint remains and the board is generally darker. The natural works for me too, but I need to keep it from blotching. I didn’t think Walnut blotched.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View rance's profile

rance

4135 posts in 1825 days


#4 posted 10-19-2012 04:27 PM

BTW, for the class, I often just sand up to 150 and quit. Sometimes to 180, rarely to 220. I NEVER go past 220. I’ve never had blotching on Walnut.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View Rick M.'s profile

Rick M.

4021 posts in 1045 days


#5 posted 10-19-2012 04:35 PM

Good point, I’ve never sanded walnut past 220 either. Could be the extra sanding is impeding absorption of the oil.

-- |Statistics show that 100% of people bitten by a snake were close to it.|

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

14334 posts in 1003 days


#6 posted 10-19-2012 04:36 PM

I don’t have near the experience with this kind of wood, but I would nearly always vote for natural

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Cosmicsniper's profile

Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1823 days


#7 posted 10-19-2012 04:40 PM

Ditto, Rance. Never blotched walnut and I always use natural color on black walnut…though not a big deal using something different.

Bookcases can get beat up a bit. You sure you don’t want something over the Watco? It’s really not that much protection from scratches.

Are you sure the blotchiness you are seeing isn’t just some chatoyance? That’s my favorite aspect of that wood. If it is blotching, then yes, use some pre-conditioner or seat-coat shellac…I’d just be careful with the amount, else the oil can’t do its job.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

View Cosmicsniper's profile

Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1823 days


#8 posted 10-19-2012 04:43 PM

If you’ve sanded to 320, that would keep it from absorbing and, therefore, prevent blotching. Though perhaps its just that some areas are not absorbing at all.

I’d use a scraper instead of an abrasive….or at least as a final go-over. Bookcases are easy in that way.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

View RussellAP's profile

RussellAP

2954 posts in 951 days


#9 posted 10-19-2012 04:44 PM

Here are a few examples of the blotching.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View jusfine's profile

jusfine

2280 posts in 1591 days


#10 posted 10-19-2012 04:50 PM

Nice figured walnut, the photo doesn’t show the blotching like I thought it might, I can’t really see it clearly.

I have never tried anything else other than a clear coat on walnut, but the photos do make the color look good.

All the best!

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View Cosmicsniper's profile

Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1823 days


#11 posted 10-19-2012 04:55 PM

Not seeing the blotching either. That 3rd picture looks like chatoyance to me. Lightly sand that back with 150 to 180 (or better yet scrape it) and apply more of the Watco. See what happens.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

View RussellAP's profile

RussellAP

2954 posts in 951 days


#12 posted 10-19-2012 04:59 PM

Cosmic, I don’t think he planes them. I have a planer that I need to set up and I plan to plane and joint every board, so maybe that will make the difference. I just sanded the kerf marks out of it without anything else.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View Cosmicsniper's profile

Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1823 days


#13 posted 10-19-2012 05:11 PM

Oh, I’d bet that’s the issue.

Sandpaper is one of those things I am learning to do without. I use my hand planes and scraper for the majority of my prep work now. I save the sand paper for plywood and finish work (between coats). I’ll also use it on end grain if I worry about too much absorption.

I’d do some test boards after running them down with a good No. 4 plane or a scraper.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

View RussellAP's profile

RussellAP

2954 posts in 951 days


#14 posted 10-19-2012 05:36 PM

I wonder if I wait for the oil to cure if that blotch will go away.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View Cosmicsniper's profile

Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1823 days


#15 posted 10-19-2012 06:05 PM

It won’t.

If you have more testing wood, try applying the same finish to differently prepped boards. It’ll be very instructional.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1280 posts in 2402 days


#16 posted 10-19-2012 06:16 PM

From the photos it looks like you are confusing blotching with figured wood. You have a lot of figure in those boards and they show up when a finish is applied.

Unless the actual blotching does not show up in the photos you posted.

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

10974 posts in 1355 days


#17 posted 10-20-2012 02:31 AM

I’m with John. That looks like some NICE figured walnut with an oil finish. Walnut with grain/figure like yours will always show color variations like I see in your pics. If you hate it, I would love to have it!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Rick M.'s profile

Rick M.

4021 posts in 1045 days


#18 posted 10-20-2012 03:59 AM

Another thought, it could be a few spots are absorbing oil faster and are just dry and dull.

I couldn’t see blotching in the pics either.

-- |Statistics show that 100% of people bitten by a snake were close to it.|

View RussellAP's profile

RussellAP

2954 posts in 951 days


#19 posted 10-20-2012 04:42 AM

@gfadvm @wormil after a few hours the blotch seemed to mellow out some. I’m going to pay more attention to what the wood looks like before oil and see if it’s mottled wood or blotch.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

10974 posts in 1355 days


#20 posted 10-20-2012 10:45 PM

The offer to take it off your hands is still good! LOL

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Gerald Thompson's profile

Gerald Thompson

384 posts in 899 days


#21 posted 10-25-2012 02:09 AM

Here is a great finishing site. Register and go to the recipes section and there are some great finishing schedule there.http://www.homesteadfinishingproducts.com/phpBB2/portal.php?sid=ec32243188a3745b3303bf38b67d1e09
Also Charles Neil’s site has how to use and purchase his blotch control product. I used it and it is fantastic.

-- Jerry

View Arminius's profile

Arminius

304 posts in 2468 days


#22 posted 10-25-2012 11:28 AM

You might also get better results if you thin the oil – I make paddles that I take to very fine grits (400 in some places) to ensure they are smooth on the hand. But as others have suggested, a bookcase surface doesn’t need to be that fine. I’d also second the plane not sand recommendation.

View Jonathan's profile

Jonathan

2605 posts in 1715 days


#23 posted 10-25-2012 05:47 PM

I’m a bit late to the show here, so I’m mostly seconding a few comments above. If you are going to sand it, don’t sand it so high before applying the first couple of coats of Danish Oil. I’d take it to either 180-grit or 220-grit. I’d only sand higher than that if I were going to wet-sand a final coat of the Danish Oil in to help fill the pores and smooth things out.

I am also not seeing any blotching from the photos, but am seeing some nice figure. Maybe the wood is absorbing the Danish Oil at different rates, especially since you sanded to 320-grit, and also mentioned that it seemed to dissipate after it started to dry? I’ve made the mistake of sanding too high and then trying to apply a finish over it and it just didn’t take evenly (although I went quite a bit higher than 320-grit.) I’d keep the pores “open” around 180-220-grit for a penetrating finish such as Danish Oil.

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View BHolcombe's profile

BHolcombe

83 posts in 740 days


#24 posted 10-27-2012 02:35 PM

To darken walnut I’ve used ‘Dark’ tung oil then fallowed up with waterlox sealer. It’s the only oil finish I use, it’s relatively sturdy. I apply the finish by wiping it on and build up enough to do the job but not so much that it starts to look like it is building up on the surface. I make an effort to really burnish in the finish when applying it.

Also, I bring the wood to 220 by machine, then fallow up with 0000 steel wool by hand. If nessecary I use the steel wool polish out any junks that appear in the finish after it dries, but I always complete the job with an untouched layer of finish, if that makes any sense.

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