Finishing question for french polished walnut fans...

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Forum topic by Pablo83 posted 07-20-2010 03:18 AM 1136 views 0 times favorited 1 reply Add to Favorites Watch
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7 posts in 3103 days

07-20-2010 03:18 AM

Topic tags/keywords: walnut french polish watco finishing

Hi everyone,

I’m a long time lurker, first time poster. I must say I do love this site, and thought it’d be a good time to jump in to the community. I’m looking for some advice on a small jewelry box I’m making. It is a walnut box with padauk edge banding and a drawer (cherry secondary wood for drawer sides/back). Here are the questions!

1) I have been reading up on the “best” way to finish walnut, and the technique that stands out most to me is the dry/wet sand with natural watco oil followed by the french polish technique with amber shellac. Yeah, I know… time consuming, but I’ve got the patience and time for this project, so I figured why not :).

My main concern is by wet sanding with the watco to create a slurry and fill the pours of the walnut, I will also mess up the colour of the padauk edge banding. Should I skip the watco all together? Is it necessary, or will the pours of the wood be adequately filled during the french polish stage? Does the oil add any pop, colour, or definition to the grain?

Secondly, I’m concerned about the drawer. Seeing as the drawer will be sliding in and out, should the the drawer sides also be finished with a french polish, or will the finish on the drawer sides just get damaged eventually and look like a dog’s breakfast?

Any thoughts, questions or advice are greatly appreciated!!


1 reply so far

View wisno's profile


88 posts in 3246 days

#1 posted 07-22-2010 02:45 AM

You need to put enough film layer before do the wet sanding on your finish.
You cannot get the enough built with oil finish. You need to apply a film build finish ( clear coating) such as shellac or varnish or other clear coating.
If you want to make a close pores finish, you better to fill the pores and grain on your wood, but if you apply clear coat on it by brushing the filler will be resolved and lift up from the pores. The best way is to apply your coat by spray.
If you don’t have any facility to spray, you may get the quite good finish result with using varnish. apply your varnish several time. After you got enough built you need to let it dry you can start do the wet sand on your finish to make the even and smooth surface.

Rubbing and polishing

Good luck


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