Walnut Finishing With Cracks/Voids/Blotches

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Forum topic by econsigny posted 12-30-2011 07:42 PM 1471 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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9 posts in 1783 days

12-30-2011 07:42 PM

Topic tags/keywords: voids blotches walnut crack

I have a piece of walnut which is going to be my first finishing project. I’m going to go the way of either Watco Danish Oil or possibly Tung Oil or BLO.

The piece is a slab of 2” walnut, mostly heartwood with a sliver of sapwood on the sides. There are a couple cracks in the ends of the wood, from the drying process (done incorrectly I’m guessing). There are also a couple knots, with a fair amount of voids. How do I address these voids prior to finishing? Do I fill them? How? What will they look when finished?

Second, there are some “blotches” on the wood. I’ve sanded, and they’re still there. How will they turn out when they’re finished? Is there a way to fix these?

The piece of walnut in question: Here

EDIT: I also noticed the pores on this piece are huge. Do I use a pore filler for fnishing? If not how will it turn out?

5 replies so far

View Jimbo4's profile


1420 posts in 2181 days

#1 posted 12-30-2011 08:02 PM

I’m partial to Watco – never had a problem with it. Never tried Tung oil or BLO. I’ve used dyed epoxy in the knots, very difficult to tell when finished. For the cracks, how about a “dutchman” ? Looks good, and is simple way to stop any further cracks. Blotches – good guess – anyone else out there ? I do not use pore filler, except for the knots, as I like the look of the natural wood. I use the Watco as a filler, by flooding the piece, letting it soak in, wipe down, let dry for 48hrs, flood again, etc. Then wax.

-- BOVILEXIA: The urge to moo at cows from a moving vehicle.

View MakerofSawdust's profile


35 posts in 2035 days

#2 posted 12-30-2011 08:51 PM

I recently finished a few walnut projects and had really great results using walnut wood filler in a small metal can from Lowes. I generally don’t like to use wood filler, but this stuff worked well on my walnut. I put it on and sanded it before staining and it really does look good.

Here’s a link:

-- - Kevin from Cincinnati. All my work is guaranteed: Three minutes or three feet; whichever comes first.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4405 posts in 3379 days

#3 posted 12-30-2011 10:21 PM

I have become a big fan of “TIMBER MATE” wood filler. Look it up. Works for me.
I don’t think that I would bother with the “blotches” that you show.
I prefer to let the natural look of the wood live in the project.
Are the end cracks continuing to spread? How dry is the wood? Can ya cut ‘em out/off?


View superstretch's profile


1530 posts in 2112 days

#4 posted 01-05-2012 09:52 PM

I absolutely love Watco Danish Oil. I haven’t had a bad experience with it yet—especially on walnut. Next time I need it though, I’ll be making my own.

All the walnut I’ve seen is prone to cracking, regardless of drying method. I kind of like seeing small inclusions (the voids and such) in pieces.. Even my cabinet doors (solid cherry) have some small ones. To me, it makes it look anywhere from ‘genuine’ to ‘rustic’.

As for the blotches, that’s something that you’ll have to find out.. How they’ll look finished depends on what the blotches are. If they’re because of an oil, it should look fine with another oil product.

Lastly, you might want to try filling the grain by sanding it when you soak with your first coat. I did that on some mahogany boxes I made and it completely filled them in (The grain ran almost completely parallel to the faces, so the grain was very long and exposed)

Best of luck!

-- Dan, Rochester, NY

View dbhost's profile


5590 posts in 2650 days

#5 posted 01-05-2012 09:57 PM

I am currently working on a walnut / maple urn for my late labrador retriever and am in the finishing stage. The stock has a couple of voids, but no cracks to speak of…

For the voids / knots I use a mixture of clear 2 part epoxy and walnut saw dust. You do have a dust collector right? Just reach into the bin and pull a bit out, mix it into the epoxy… Once it is all set, sand it even with the wood…

For the finish, I used sanding sealer, and a mess of Watco Danish oil. I am following that up with at least 3 coats of brush on lacquer that is sanded with 1000 grit and then buffed between coats. Sorry, I get a little OCD when it comes to lacquer, and even more so when it comes to my dogs…

-- My workshop blog can be found at

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