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Finish for oak roll top desk project

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Forum topic by Jim posted 08-16-2010 04:15 PM 1781 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Jim

228 posts in 2399 days


08-16-2010 04:15 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question oak finishing

I’m just in the final stages of an oak roll top desk project that has been many months in the works. I’m considering the finish. I want the oak to remain it’s natural color so no stain will be used. I’m considering either a simple Shellac finish or a Shellac base coat followed by sanding and a wipe on oil varnish blend (Danish Oil Natural). I would appreciate any recommendations. I’m looking for a simple foolproof finish that will show the natural beauty of the oak.

-- Jim in Langley BC Canada --- www.sollows.ca


8 replies so far

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CharlieM1958

15820 posts in 2972 days


#1 posted 08-16-2010 05:27 PM

I don’t have a lot of experience with shellac, but I wouldn’t think it would be a good base coat for an oil/varnish mixture. Something like Watco Danish oil is meant to soak into the grain, and shellac would prevent that from happening.

You could go with just shellac, just oil/varnish, just wipe-on poly, or oil/varnish followed by poly for extra protection.

If you have some scraps left over, I would suggest experimenting to help you decide which way you want to go. If you are really looking for the most simple and foolproof method, I would just go with wipe-on poly.

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

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Jim

228 posts in 2399 days


#2 posted 08-16-2010 05:42 PM

Thanks for the reply but I really don’t like Poly. I’ve used Shellac as a base on other projects including Oil/Varnish with success. I’ve previously has problems with blotching in oak and to resolve that I use Shellac as a base followed by a good sanding before putting on the finish coat of whatever you are using. It resolves any blotching of the finish. I did that on an oak kitchen island with Shellac base + Oil Varnish and it worked out very nicely. However having to sand the whole project after applying Shellac is a pain so I wanted to see if there are any other ideas.

-- Jim in Langley BC Canada --- www.sollows.ca

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CharlieM1958

15820 posts in 2972 days


#3 posted 08-16-2010 06:14 PM

I use Watco Danish oil quite a bit, but I’ve never been quite satisfied with it as a top coat. I frequently just put paste wax over it, or I use the dreaded poly. lol.

It sounds like you want to have your cake (no blotching) and eat it too (no sanding the shellac). I’ll be interested to see if you get any suggestions.

I also like using BLO as a first step to really make grain pop. But it sounds to me like you are trying not to accentuate the grain.

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

View mnguy's profile

mnguy

162 posts in 2152 days


#4 posted 08-16-2010 06:39 PM

What about a wash coat of the oil/varnish, cut with mineral spirits? This would be the same idea as a seal coat of 1/2 lb shellac or some of the commercial seal coat products designed to reduce blotching on maple when staining, etc. I don’t know how dilute you’d need to go, and I haven’t tried it myself, but it’s a brainstorm for you.

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GregP

154 posts in 1631 days


#5 posted 08-16-2010 07:32 PM

Seems like shellac is probably what you’re looking for although it will add a little yellow, I know you don’t like poly but water based poly is the only thing I’ve seen that dries completely clear. sorry I couldn’t be more help.

-- Greg P, Washington State, http://heirloomfurniture.weebly.com/

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cwdance1

1145 posts in 2013 days


#6 posted 08-16-2010 11:18 PM

I have an oak project coming up and I would realy like to see what you end up using. I too hate poly but it seems to one of the best for protection. I’m considering using shellac but I have not done any projects with it yet. I have been using varnish as so far it is my finish of choice for ease of use and look. Please add a picture of your project when you are done.

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GregP

154 posts in 1631 days


#7 posted 08-17-2010 02:55 AM

Hey cwdance, have you considered trying lacquer?

-- Greg P, Washington State, http://heirloomfurniture.weebly.com/

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cwdance1

1145 posts in 2013 days


#8 posted 08-17-2010 03:59 AM

I said Varnish but that is wrong, I have been using lacquer and its working for most things. I was worried about using it an a kitchen cabinet/table as wet things will be on it from time to time.

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