What finish do you use for Mahogany?

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Forum topic by Cato posted 07-22-2011 12:26 AM 2148 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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701 posts in 3515 days

07-22-2011 12:26 AM

I picked up some different woods for some boxes I am making for presents, and for the first time I got a little Mahogany.

What a beautiful reddish color it has. It doesn’t look like you would need to do anything exotic to get it to finish out, but I am curious as to what you guys do to it in the finish stage?

6 replies so far

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1520 posts in 4328 days

#1 posted 07-22-2011 02:23 AM

I sand to 220 and apply a thin coat of dewaxed shellac. I then color a silica based pore filler using oil paints to the color of the wood, apply the pore filler to the mahogany with a plastic spatula, working it into the pores. Let it dry for about an hour, and wipe it off with a cotton rag, across the grain. Sand that gently, and apply a couple of coats of matte wipe on polyurethane, sanding in between each layer, the last few layers I sand at higher grits.

Pain in the tuchus, but ends up with a nice smooth finish that looks like mahogany, but doesn’t have the open grain problems.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View William's profile


9950 posts in 3045 days

#2 posted 07-22-2011 03:03 AM

I second shellac. I simply use Zansser clear shellac. One coat, sand, second coat, sand, keep going until desired sheen is achieved. The shellac brings out the beauty of mahogany like no other finish, in my opinion.


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701 posts in 3515 days

#3 posted 07-22-2011 03:51 AM

I use shellac all the time for sealing and finishing. I’ll have to play with some scrap cuts of the Mahogany to see what yields the best finish.

Dan I have only used pore filler once and I didn’t know enough to color it so it stayed white in the grain. Good thing I tried it on the bottom of a table top first.

Thanks for the responses guys.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2893 days

#4 posted 07-22-2011 04:22 AM

I use Timbermate grain filler [mahogany] and then finish with Blo and wax or Tung Oil Finish and wax. The grain filler really helps achieve that “touchable” finish.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View bigike's profile


4055 posts in 3491 days

#5 posted 07-22-2011 03:43 PM

this is a real good question I like it but if anyone who has a reply please post pics of what the wood looks like before and after this would be most helpful to me anyway. THANKS!

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1520 posts in 4328 days

#6 posted 07-22-2011 04:57 PM

Ike, I’ll try to upload some close-ups, and see if I can find some surfaced Peruvian mahogany to take a picture of for the “before” pictures. My shop is in disarray ‘cause I’m building a new one. However, the door panels on these cabinet doors were finished as I described.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

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