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finishing mahogany

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Forum topic by spamfilterman posted 1584 days ago 2212 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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spamfilterman

147 posts in 1619 days


1584 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: mahogany finishing

Hi
I’m working on a tv stand. I’m using mahogany plywood for the carcase and solid mahogany for the top, face, legs, and drawer fronts.
Problem… I’m not sure how to finish it.
On my other projects I’ve just used a few coats of Arm-r-Seal, and that has worked fine.
The mahogany I bought for this project seems noticeably lighter in color than what I’ve used before. A test of Arm-r-Seal on it just seems too light. I don’t think the wife would approve of it – she demands something a little darker.

So, any suggestions? I like easy, one-step/one-product finishes.
How about Watco oil? If so, which color should I try in order to bring out the mahogany-ness?


8 replies so far

View UnionLabel's profile

UnionLabel

660 posts in 1797 days


#1 posted 1583 days ago

hey spamfilterman,

Mahogany can be a little tricky. It depends on the openness of the grain. You may need to apply a grain filler before you final finish. My suggestion is to give Old Masters http://www.oldmastrs.com/ a call and talk to them. They can help and their products work very well.

-- Methods are many,Principles are few.Methods change often,Principles never do.

View jevarn71's profile

jevarn71

80 posts in 1757 days


#2 posted 1583 days ago

Not sure how dark you are needing, but one trick I will sometimes use if I need to slightly darken mahogany is I will place it outside in direct sunlight. Of course you will want to be sure all machining and sanding is finished prior to doing so. To see how dark the wood will get, try it first with some scrap pieces by covering part of the wood so it doesn’t get any sun. You might be surprised.

As far as finish, I usually just clear gloss polyurethane. To get a very smooth surface I’ll do 3 or 4 coats, rubbing with #0000 steel wool after each but the final coat. Even after the poly, over time, the mahogany will continue to darken on its own.

Here are some before and after pics of my mahogany china cabinet. The poly alone will darken the wood. http://lumberjocks.com/projects/22361

-- Jason - Aim High!!

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spamfilterman

147 posts in 1619 days


#3 posted 1583 days ago

Thanks jevarn71, maybe I’ll leave a piece of scrap out tomorrow and see what happens.
I’ve tried just a coat of Arm-r-Seal, and it just didn’t darken the wood enough.
I also tried a coat of Dark Walnut Watco oil, and it was just way too dark brown.
Maybe I’ll try the Red Mahogany Watco next, but I hate to have to keep buying finishes that I’ll probably never use again.

View Cozmo35's profile

Cozmo35

2198 posts in 1633 days


#4 posted 1583 days ago

Sand, Sand & and Sand it, between sanding use Wipe-On Poly.

-- If you don't work, you don't eat!.....Garland, TX

View Jon Spelbring's profile

Jon Spelbring

199 posts in 2850 days


#5 posted 1582 days ago

Amber shellac then armor seal then wax? (I’m about to finish a jewelry box, and that’s what I’m planning to use)

-- To do is to be

View NBeener's profile

NBeener

4806 posts in 1771 days


#6 posted 1582 days ago

Just completed a couple of night stands, from African Mahogany—hardwood for the carcass and top; ply for the side panels.

Here’s what they look like after: – sanding to 320 grit – two “flood coats” of Watco Danish Oil (Natural), applied with a foam brush – one coat of Watco, applied with 400 grit wet/dry sandpaper – two coats of paste wax, applied with 0000 steel wool

Good luck!

-- -- Neil

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spamfilterman

147 posts in 1619 days


#7 posted 1581 days ago

Thanks, I noticed that the 2 tops in your nightstands are different colors… is that just because the color of the wood varies that much?
I really like the color of the top on the left one, but I’d be really happy with either.

View NBeener's profile

NBeener

4806 posts in 1771 days


#8 posted 1581 days ago

The finishing was done the exact same way, so … yup … it was the difference in the wood.

Here’s a picture of the original stock from which the night stands were cut:

AND

I took my chances by using such dramatically different looking wood for the tops, but … kinda’ like the way it turned out.

That may give you some idea of the effect that the Watco had. Incidentally, it was the “Natural” colored Watco—in theory, it didn’t impart much color to the wood. That was my goal.

Have fun!

-- -- Neil

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