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Advice on finishing black walnut

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Forum topic by RussellAP posted 680 days ago 3631 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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RussellAP

2950 posts in 921 days


680 days ago

Here’s the scoop. I’m going to build a 7’x3’x14” book case out of black walnut 5/4 stock I get from a local guy who has a mill and a kiln.

I’m working on the finish before I start the piece because as we all know, finishing is 90% of the job.

I’m trying to get the most professional look as I can on this walnut.

I’ve been investing in Danish oil and have taken a piece of the walnut and sanded it to 320 and used Golden Oad, Red Mahogany, and natural danish oil on it and have decided that I like the Golden Oak tone best, and the natural second best.

My problem is that some parts of the wood look like they’ve blotched.
Should I use Charles Niel’s pre color conditioner on them?

What do you think.

Bear in mind, I’m going with the danish oil and not anything else except wax after it’s done, so don’t recomend some esoteric brand of stain or whatever, I’ll try that next time. My mind is made up that Danish oil makes for a finish that appeals to me.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.


24 replies so far

View rance's profile

rance

4130 posts in 1795 days


#1 posted 680 days ago

Personally, I use ’Natural’ Danish Oil one on Black Walnut all the time(most recently in class just last night). It looks very professional. I also have an aversion to coloring wood, although I do it from time to time, but mainly with bright transtint dyes. I use Watco.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

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Rick M.

3885 posts in 1014 days


#2 posted 680 days ago

Golden oak on walnut, I’m curious what it looks like. Can you post a picture?

I haven’t tried a tinted oil on walnut but I have stained sapwood without problem. If you’re getting blotching then a conditioner would be the ticket.

-- |Statistics show that 100% of people bitten by a snake were close to it.|

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RussellAP

2950 posts in 921 days


#3 posted 680 days ago

Wormil, I don’t think a picture would capture the subtle difference. In walnut there is a confluence of medium to dark browns in the wood. The golden oak lightens up the lightest browns but doesn’t really do anything to the darker. It increases the parameters of the color spectrum. The red does the same only a slight red tint remains and the board is generally darker. The natural works for me too, but I need to keep it from blotching. I didn’t think Walnut blotched.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

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rance

4130 posts in 1795 days


#4 posted 680 days ago

BTW, for the class, I often just sand up to 150 and quit. Sometimes to 180, rarely to 220. I NEVER go past 220. I’ve never had blotching on Walnut.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

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Rick M.

3885 posts in 1014 days


#5 posted 680 days ago

Good point, I’ve never sanded walnut past 220 either. Could be the extra sanding is impeding absorption of the oil.

-- |Statistics show that 100% of people bitten by a snake were close to it.|

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

13830 posts in 972 days


#6 posted 680 days ago

I don’t have near the experience with this kind of wood, but I would nearly always vote for natural

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it. - It's not ability that we often lack, but the patience to use our ability

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Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1793 days


#7 posted 680 days ago

Ditto, Rance. Never blotched walnut and I always use natural color on black walnut…though not a big deal using something different.

Bookcases can get beat up a bit. You sure you don’t want something over the Watco? It’s really not that much protection from scratches.

Are you sure the blotchiness you are seeing isn’t just some chatoyance? That’s my favorite aspect of that wood. If it is blotching, then yes, use some pre-conditioner or seat-coat shellac…I’d just be careful with the amount, else the oil can’t do its job.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

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Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1793 days


#8 posted 680 days ago

If you’ve sanded to 320, that would keep it from absorbing and, therefore, prevent blotching. Though perhaps its just that some areas are not absorbing at all.

I’d use a scraper instead of an abrasive….or at least as a final go-over. Bookcases are easy in that way.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

View RussellAP's profile

RussellAP

2950 posts in 921 days


#9 posted 680 days ago

Here are a few examples of the blotching.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View jusfine's profile

jusfine

2280 posts in 1560 days


#10 posted 680 days ago

Nice figured walnut, the photo doesn’t show the blotching like I thought it might, I can’t really see it clearly.

I have never tried anything else other than a clear coat on walnut, but the photos do make the color look good.

All the best!

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

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Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1793 days


#11 posted 680 days ago

Not seeing the blotching either. That 3rd picture looks like chatoyance to me. Lightly sand that back with 150 to 180 (or better yet scrape it) and apply more of the Watco. See what happens.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

View RussellAP's profile

RussellAP

2950 posts in 921 days


#12 posted 680 days ago

Cosmic, I don’t think he planes them. I have a planer that I need to set up and I plan to plane and joint every board, so maybe that will make the difference. I just sanded the kerf marks out of it without anything else.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

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Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1793 days


#13 posted 680 days ago

Oh, I’d bet that’s the issue.

Sandpaper is one of those things I am learning to do without. I use my hand planes and scraper for the majority of my prep work now. I save the sand paper for plywood and finish work (between coats). I’ll also use it on end grain if I worry about too much absorption.

I’d do some test boards after running them down with a good No. 4 plane or a scraper.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

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RussellAP

2950 posts in 921 days


#14 posted 680 days ago

I wonder if I wait for the oil to cure if that blotch will go away.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

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Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1793 days


#15 posted 680 days ago

It won’t.

If you have more testing wood, try applying the same finish to differently prepped boards. It’ll be very instructional.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

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