help with Watco

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Forum topic by spamfilterman posted 07-31-2010 03:48 PM 4282 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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149 posts in 3044 days

07-31-2010 03:48 PM

Topic tags/keywords: mahogany finishing watco

I’m trying to figure out what finish to put on a mahogany tv stand that I’m working on.
I tried a coat of Watco on some scrap.

The ‘red mahogany’ Watco was kinda splotchy if you look at it at the right angle. And the natural Watco turned out a bit orange. It all looks completely dull, dead, and lifeless.

Any clues about the splotchyness on the red side? As far as the dull and deadness, did I not put enough finish on the wood? Maybe just more coats?

9 replies so far

View CharlieM1958's profile (online now)


16275 posts in 4240 days

#1 posted 07-31-2010 05:48 PM

The splotchiness I think you’re referring to is really just due to the grain characteristics of the wood, The oil will soak into some areas more readily than others, making them appear much darker. (I’m assuming we are talking about Watco Danish oil.)

I like the way Danish oil finish brings out the grain, but it doesn’t give much luster, as you noted. I would recommend you either use a top coat of some kind, like wipe-on polyurethane, or try just paste way.

One other note: Danish oil takes a good while to cure, soi don’t put anything over it for at least 72 hours.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5908 posts in 3216 days

#2 posted 07-31-2010 06:53 PM


+1 for what Charlie said, but I do it a little different sometimes when I work with mahogany. I’ll put a coat on, let it dry good, then take some 0000 steel wool and buff it out..put on another coat. It’s gonna be a little splotchy-looking, like Charlie said, due to the grain pattern in it. That’s just mahognay…. Depending on the number of coats of Danish Oil, once you get the look you’re after, put on a coat of poly or two….depending on….. What’s even harder is trying to stain another type of wood to look like mahogany.

-- " At my age, happy hour is a crap and a nap".....

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149 posts in 3044 days

#3 posted 08-01-2010 05:23 AM

Thanks for the feedback.
Think I’ll try at least another coat on the same test pieces, then some Arm-r-seal.

View CaptainSkully's profile


1600 posts in 3580 days

#4 posted 08-01-2010 03:28 PM

I’ve used a top coat of dark brown gel stain (walnut or Mission) to brown down Watco that’s too red.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View rhett's profile


742 posts in 3689 days

#5 posted 08-01-2010 04:37 PM

The grit you sanded the raw wood to will be a big decider on how the finish looks. Any penetrating finish will leave the feel of the wood as smooth as you sanded it, unlike film forming “poly” where you feel the finish, not the wood.

I love danish oil and wax. You have to soak the wood and let it set for a little then wipe off the excess. For a really high end finish, try wet sanding the wood with the oil. This makes a bit of slurry that helps the smooth out and fill smaller pores.

If you do wax it, use a dark paste wax, regular will get into the pores of the mahogany and leave white spots when it dries.

-- Doubt kills more dreams than failure.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4947 posts in 3982 days

#6 posted 08-01-2010 07:47 PM

Not to sound too testy but….....poly is for bar tops and boat bottoms. Use a good wiping varnish on a nice furniture piece. The WATCO will take a long time to fully cure. Ya gotta keep wiping. Don’t rush the job or you’ll end up with a mess.


View CharlieM1958's profile (online now)


16275 posts in 4240 days

#7 posted 08-01-2010 09:10 PM

Bill, what is a good wiping varnish exactly? Is there a brand you could recommend, or are you talking about a homemade formula?

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View spamfilterman's profile


149 posts in 3044 days

#8 posted 08-01-2010 09:18 PM

Bill, could you elaborate a little bit.
What is your preferred wiping varnish for furniture? Arm-r-seal ok on top of Watco oil?
How long should I wait for the Watco to cure before applying the varnish?

What do you mean that I need to keep wiping… you just mean that it needs a few coats? Or that I need to keep wiping to make sure that the initial coat is soaked on there?

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 2945 days

#9 posted 08-02-2010 01:26 AM

speaking of watco. I have a poplar box that I have already put a bloch sealer and walnut stain on it. Can I still use the Watco Walnut over it and gain any darkening ?

-- Life is good.

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