Finishing Walnut??????

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Forum topic by Bearpaw posted 08-18-2012 02:04 AM 2131 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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257 posts in 3957 days

08-18-2012 02:04 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question walnut finishing

I have a jewelry box to build for a customer and he wants it out of dark wood. I found some nice walnut that is more toward a dark grey in color. The bottom and part of the top will have to have veneer instead of solid wood. The veneer I have is more toward a brown color. I need to get them closer in color.

So how do you stain walnut? What should I use for the top coat?

-- "When we build, let us think we build forever." John Ruskin

5 replies so far

View DaleM's profile


958 posts in 3621 days

#1 posted 08-18-2012 03:10 AM

I’m guessing a lot of people will tell you not to stain walnut and I mostly agree, but if you want to darken it, you can stain it with Minwax Dark Walnut and it will darken it a little and help to match pieces somewhat. It helps to even things when making cabinets that are mostly walnut ply with solid walnut face frames and doors which don’t match well. Lacquer works well as a topcoat, but so do other things, depending on whether you have a sprayer or are brushing or wiping on.

-- Dale Manning, Carthage, NY

View pmayer's profile


1032 posts in 3302 days

#2 posted 08-18-2012 09:59 AM

I agree with Dale. I normally don’t stain walnut, but on the rare occasion that I want to tie the color together with a veneer, that is the approach I take. I typically work with air dried lumber which hasn’t been steamed to darken it like most kiln dried lumber from large commercial kilns, so the color difference between that and most veneer is pretty stark.

-- PaulMayer,

View RogerM's profile


799 posts in 2636 days

#3 posted 08-18-2012 08:49 PM

I generally stay from the dark stains on walnut. Plain Natural stain or linseed oil gives a nice finish that can be followed up with poly urethane. Another quick way to put a nice warm color of finish on walnut is to use dilute amber or garnet shelac diluted with equal parts of alcohol. Being shelac this finish is not as durable but can be followed up with poly urethane to increase the durability.

-- Roger M, Aiken, SC

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2598 days

#4 posted 08-18-2012 11:33 PM

This is air dried walnut with a dilute stain of Minwax Red Mahogany under a top coat of thinned oil poly. The color in the picture is true to the real thing.

-- 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 swirlsandburls's profile


116 posts in 3633 days

#5 posted 08-19-2012 05:33 PM

I have found that most walnut that I use for turning looks better if stained to even out the color a bit without losing the look of the walnut, especially if there is a pronounced color change from heartwood to sapwood or if the stock has aged and faded. I use either a Minwax Dark Walnut or an alcohol based dye that I mix myself using Trans-tint. I actually prefer the Minwax; I find the color very pleasing. These two plates were made from the same stock, one is unstained, the other stained with Minwax.

-- patience is a virtue ... in woodworking, cooking, and life in general

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