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What is the best finish for a bathroom vanity?

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Forum topic by SallySue posted 07-04-2011 05:11 PM 5255 views 1 time favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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SallySue

23 posts in 1717 days


07-04-2011 05:11 PM

Topic tags/keywords: walnut finishing

I’m building a bathroom vanity from walnut and am curious about what you lumberjocks consider the best finish for such a project. I’m not comfortable with spraying so it needs to be either a brush on or wipe on product. Also keep in mind that it needs to be fairly water resistant. All advice is appreciated.

-- Sally


10 replies so far

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1381 days


#1 posted 07-04-2011 05:32 PM

I’m tuning in because I’ve got the same project coming up. I was planning on a shellac seal followed by wipe on poly. I’m interested to read the responses because I’m no finisher. Hate it, in fact. Thanks for asking this question.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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ajosephg

1854 posts in 2249 days


#2 posted 07-04-2011 05:39 PM

Considering the high humidity environment and frequent cleaning, polyurethane would be the most durable finish. Keep in mind that a thicker film will last longer than an thinner. Therefore fewer coats would be required if you brush it on as opposed to a wipe on. I don’t think that a shellac seal would bring anything to the party and might even inhibit good bonding of PU to the wood.

-- Joe

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Steven H

1114 posts in 1748 days


#3 posted 07-04-2011 05:41 PM

Many people use shellac as first seal coat or grain filler. Not only it dries fast but also seal the woods. Which takes less polyurethane to build up on opened grains of woods.

I rarely use polyurethane on furnitures.
It’s great for floors or table tops as such.

For bathroom use, I would use interior phenolic varnish.

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Bertha

12951 posts in 1381 days


#4 posted 07-04-2011 05:44 PM

Joe’s got a good point about the shellac. I was planning on using it more as a tint than a conditioner. Your point is well taken about the bond. I’m thinking about hickory for my vanity but it’ll have to be yellowed to match the cedar walls (log home). Perhaps a tint is in order. Thanks, Joe.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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Sawkerf

1730 posts in 1757 days


#5 posted 07-04-2011 05:49 PM

I’ve had good luck with Minwax Polycrylic. If you don’t want to spray, use a foam brush to build up 2-3 light coats. Lightly sand with a fine grit sandpaper (or sanding sponge) between coats.

-- Adversity doesn't build character...................it reveals it.

View Loren's profile

Loren

7734 posts in 2336 days


#6 posted 07-05-2011 12:32 AM

I used shellac on a fine walnut vanity with just wax on top and many
years later the finish is holding up well. People get over-concerned
about shellac’s weakness with water, it’s really mostly only a problem
with horizontal surfaces where people set drinks.

Shellac does have a really excellent, crystalline appearance and rubs
out beautifully.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

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bobsmyuncle

110 posts in 1379 days


#7 posted 07-05-2011 02:12 AM

Waterlox original. I’ve used it several times on vanities. A custom kitchen co. I do work for uses it as their finish for wood countertops.

A coat or two of shellac first will bring out some of the wood figure. For poly and w/b, it needs to be dewaxed, but it’s not necessary for Waterlox. But I’d use SealCoat because I have it around all the time. Orange shellac would be another good choice.

Try both ways on a piece of scrap and see which you prefer.

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Bertha

12951 posts in 1381 days


#8 posted 07-05-2011 02:05 PM

So does this sound reasonable to all:
1) Bring it down to 220, 320 or so
2) Hit with 1lb. dewaxed shellac (tint optional by testing)
3) Knock down with 320, 400 or so
4) Waterlox
? I haven’t used Waterlox in a long time. Do you 0000 between coats?

Thanks everyone.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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Steven H

1114 posts in 1748 days


#9 posted 07-05-2011 04:27 PM

Yes just sand it to 220.For between coats use 320 grit.
Instead of sanding between coats you can use steel wool.

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SallySue

23 posts in 1717 days


#10 posted 07-05-2011 11:51 PM

Thanks so much to all of you for your responses. I haven’t used Waterlox yet, but look forward to trying it on this project.

-- Sally

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