finishes and pores?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by happy_budah posted 01-21-2008 09:18 PM 1479 views 1 time favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View happy_budah's profile


137 posts in 4037 days

01-21-2008 09:18 PM

Topic tags/keywords: finishing porous wood

when finishing a project what is the best way to fill / close the pores of the wood for a smooth finish? what combination of oils works best for a good smooth finish?

-- the journy of a thousand miles begins with a single step " Lou-Tzu"

10 replies so far

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 4113 days

#1 posted 01-21-2008 09:41 PM

One way is to wet sand (with your finish as the wetting agent) at about 320 grit. The slurry will fill pores and be exactly the same material as the project. You will probably have to do it a couple of times and let each cure. Then rub it out and proceed with the finishing.

View CedarFreakCarl's profile


594 posts in 4292 days

#2 posted 01-22-2008 02:47 AM

While I won’t be much help personally, there is an article in the Dec/Jan 2007/2008 Wood magazine (No. 181) that covers that very subject. Hope this helps.

-- Carl Rast, Pelion, SC

View Sam Yerardi's profile

Sam Yerardi

244 posts in 4133 days

#3 posted 01-22-2008 07:39 PM

I use wood filler or shellac. I’ve never tried nor seen the problem but a lot of people don’t recommend using oils for filling pores for the problem of bleeding through the finish. I read responses from guys like Dresdner, Frank, etc. and that’s what they say so I would shy away from it.

-- Sam

View jcees's profile


1071 posts in 4037 days

#4 posted 01-22-2008 09:58 PM

What wood species are we talking about?


-- When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. -- John Muir

View happy_budah's profile


137 posts in 4037 days

#5 posted 01-23-2008 03:18 AM

first of all thank you for the suggestions….....

i have been working with mostly walnut and the last box that i made had a lot of wavy grain and i was having difficulty getting the finnish as smooth as i wanted. i used a hand rubbed poylurethane finish and after 3 coats i wet sanded with 400 grit, cleaned and repeated twice. could i wet sand with the poyurethane? or would i get a better finish with multiple coats of tung / teak oil?

-- the journy of a thousand miles begins with a single step " Lou-Tzu"

View USCJeff's profile


1065 posts in 4306 days

#6 posted 01-23-2008 04:11 AM

I’ve used the “slurry” approach with Walnut and it worked well. I also have used wood filler and it worked as advertised. I used Bartley (I think that’s the brand – green and white cans). I bought the kind for dark finishes and it was a simple application. The end results were about the same between the two methods. The filler saved a little time as it worked in one coat, but it is one more thing to buy. I guess it is up to the value of your time. Being cheap, I will stick with wet sanding.

-- Jeff, South Carolina

View schroeder's profile


702 posts in 4363 days

#7 posted 01-23-2008 04:24 AM

I work with a lot of walnut and have personally had good luck with fillers as Jeff said or in our shop we use Seal a Cell (3-5 coats) Arm R Seal (again 3-5 coats) and a final coat of wax. – not glass, but a pretty good ~do!

-- The Gnarly Wood Shoppe

View schwingding's profile


133 posts in 4064 days

#8 posted 01-23-2008 07:59 PM

My favorite technique for pore filling uses shellac. First I brush a seal coat of shellac on. Then another.

Then take some 320 or 400 grit sandpaper and dip it in denatured alcohol and using a firm sanding block, sand the shellac surface as you would wet sand a final finish. The alcohol will dissolve enough shellac that it will fill the pores with a slurry you create as you sand. Let it dry and sand it flat again. Your pores will be filled and you’ll have a glass smooth surface on which to proceed. If not quite totally filled, brush another coat of shellac on and do it again.

-- Just another woodworker

View jcees's profile


1071 posts in 4037 days

#9 posted 01-25-2008 03:08 AM

Urethanes are harder to work as they are somewhat soft compared to lacquer or shellac. On open poured woods such as walnut, oak, ash, mahogany, et al, I would opt for the speed and control of a good paste wood filler. Follow that by building your coats of either of the two previously mentioned, leveled in between with lube and appropriate grit wet-dry paper wrapped around a cork block and you should get to that glass like surface I believe you crave. And as a last step after all is done, turn to Meguiar’s Swirl Remover and a power buffer. Sweet!

If you want a softer sheen then follow your schedule with 0000 steel wool and paste wax. Enjoy.


-- When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. -- John Muir

View Karson's profile


35153 posts in 4639 days

#10 posted 01-25-2008 04:37 AM

Schwingding. I like your shellac filler technique. I’ve used Danish Oil with some Japan Drier so that it hardens up faster (Overnight). I’ve used a ROS with the danish oil and get lots of filler material. I’ve even filled cracks with the slurry and let it dry and do again if necessary.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia †

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics