Finishing Walnut

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Forum topic by USCJeff posted 04-17-2007 11:57 PM 5620 views 1 time favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1063 posts in 4063 days

04-17-2007 11:57 PM

Topic tags/keywords: walnut finishing finish

Hey all, I am constructing a couple of small walnut boxes as gifts and have never worked with walnut before. I don’t have a whole lot of experience with finishing and the experience I have fosters feelings of inadequacy. I also realize your answer will be based on what I’m wanting the outcome to look like. I don’t want to detract from the natural look of the wood. I would want a finish that more so enhances the look. What process and products would you use? Thanks.

-- Jeff, South Carolina

5 replies so far

View Karson's profile


35120 posts in 4395 days

#1 posted 04-18-2007 12:39 AM

Jeff I use Danish Oil, followed by 3 coats of amber Shellac and then 2 coats of clear shellac.

But then again its what its going to be used for. Here is one of my projects with Walnut

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

View thumbs's profile


22 posts in 4069 days

#2 posted 04-18-2007 01:39 AM

i am humbled after looking at Karson’s pulpit. That is beautiful. I had good luck with a few projects using some native walnut I acquired. I used boiled linseed oil applied liberally, let sit for 60 min, keeping it wet with BLO and then wiped well. Keep wiping any oil that seeps. Waited a week and then used 1/2 Pratt and Lambert #38 varnish and 1/2 paint thinner mixture to hand wipe w/soft cloth, rather than a brush. Wipe and wait for 1 hour and wipe again (No
sanding necessary) Do four coats this way and then let cure for three days and sand lightly w/ 220 paper and repeat process three more times. Turned out to be a great finish. Highlighted walnut features well

-- Mitakuya Oyasin

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1063 posts in 4063 days

#3 posted 04-18-2007 02:55 AM

Karson, when you applied the shellac, did you spray it? My shop isn’t set up for spraying just yet and I hear the spraying shellac is the best way to apply it? Also, does the type of Walnut effect the finish. I’m using Peruvian.

I’ve decided I need to read up on finishing techniques. I’ve avoided it as its the least appealing part of woodworking to me.

-- Jeff, South Carolina

View Karson's profile


35120 posts in 4395 days

#4 posted 04-18-2007 03:31 AM

I wait for a nice day and spray outside. I tried inside the shop once. (Never again).

I also French Polish for the final. I failed to mention that is my first post.

I used 30-40 sessions to French Polish, most of it to get a base. That’s why I spray my base. I sand 600 grit wet and dry automotive paper with mineral oil to get it smooth and then do the final French Polish.

I’d probably get kicked out of French Polishing Class (I took one by Jeff Jewitt and mine was his choice as “Best of Class”) but you have to get a base and you sand, french polish, sand (Keep going to 30- 40 sessions) until all voids are filled in. then sand with 600 and final french polish sessions.

An interesting note if you have pores in your wood you can use Pumice and BLO and make a slurry and use a rubber trowel or plastic spatula (Putty knife)to fill the pores. And to really make it interesting you can use Rottenstone and BLO. The pumice is clear while the rottenstone is black. So with pumice you see the pores but don’t feel them, while with rottenstone, the pores are black.

You can also use BLO or Danish oil with pumice and a cotton rag made like a ball a little bigger than a golf ball and you sand your project. So it fills the pores with pumice, sanding dust and BLO or Danish oil as the binder. Let it dry a day or to before sanding it smooth. You may need to repeat to get all of the pores filled, but be careful because it’s easy to pull the slurry out of the pores.

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

View hObOmOnk's profile


1381 posts in 4122 days

#5 posted 04-18-2007 07:15 PM


Try hand-rubbed Polymerized Tung Oil (PTO).
That’s my finish of choice for walnut.
I mainly use highly figured crotch walnut that I get locally.

A good source of PTO is Lee Valley.

-- 温故知新

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