Walnut and Maple finish? need help

  • Advertise with us

« back to Finishing forum

Forum topic by simpsy posted 01-27-2012 09:52 PM 2752 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View simpsy's profile


30 posts in 2424 days

01-27-2012 09:52 PM

Topic tags/keywords: finishing walnut maple question

Hey guys I have just finished building a walnut and maple serving tray for my cottage to bring down pop and chips to the water. I am wondering what finish will give me the best protection from the elements it will be in contact with. I was debating between Danish oil and wipe on or spray polyurethane but was worried about the polyurethane since it is such an open grained wood? Anyways any input on what to do would be greatly appreciated !

Thanks guys, Greg

6 replies so far

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3280 days

#1 posted 01-28-2012 04:42 AM

Hey Greg, I don’t beleive the Danish oil will give you the protection you’re looking for, even though it would give you a beautiful finish, it would not hold up very well. Your polyurethane finish would give you the best protection; just a little harder to work with. Take your time and apply a number of thin coates instead of trying to apply a real heavy coat to start with. Let try completely between coates and sand lightly between the coates. You may want to apply at least two coates to start with before you sand the first time. Build to your desired look.
Good luck,

-- John @

View Frank's profile


19 posts in 2306 days

#2 posted 01-28-2012 04:48 PM

Hi Greg. Do you think this piece might have to endure the occasional ” oops ” I left it by the lake overnight deal? If you do, you might also consider this: 3 coats Teak oil followed by two coats Spar varnish(following proper procedure for all coats of course) I’ve used this combo and it seems pretty nice. The one thing I’ve found is following the final coat of Teak and prior to the initial coat of Spar, I let it dry and “cure for at least 2 weeks. During this time it may be necessary that once the final Teak is dry to the touch and not tacky anymore, just wipe it down with white paper towel each day or so. You sometimes can see how the oils still push out to cure and dry even after a week. It’s pretty interesting…


View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3069 days

#3 posted 01-28-2012 04:57 PM

Frank is right if the tray will be subjected to the weather.

If you want to stick with more conventional finishes, polyurethane is your best option for durability. I prefer to use wipe on poly. It is thinner and, IMO, it penetrates well. However, since it is thin, you need several coats to build up a decent finish. I consider 5 coats the minimum. Fortunately, you can apply a fresh coat every 3-4 hours.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2356 days

#4 posted 01-28-2012 04:58 PM

Rattle can gloss poly will be the best.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View ellen35's profile


2738 posts in 3427 days

#5 posted 01-28-2012 04:58 PM

I put 6 coats of poly on my trays, then wax them.
On my coasters, I use 4 coats of spar varnish.

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View Jonathan's profile


2608 posts in 3045 days

#6 posted 01-28-2012 05:40 PM

I would rule out the Danish Oil, as others have stated. I have made a couple of pieces that were meant to hold drinks/wet items on top.

On the first drink tray, I used dewaxed shellac as the base, then several coats of wipe-on polyurethane over that. On the second tray, I used Waterlox.

They both turned out fine. Both of these trays were given away, so I’m not sure how much wear and tear they have been subjected to? With that being said, I’d go the Waterlox route again next time, mainly because it’s easier to maintain/repair than the polyurethane.

I also think Frank’s regimen above would work well. Just make sure the teak oil has had plenty of time before topcoating with the spar varnish. You could also use something like dewaxed shellac, then coat with spar varnish if you don’t want to be waiting around on the teak oil. The spar varnish should seal it up nicely if it’s applied correctly and sufficiently.

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

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