Walnut Island Countertop = HELP!

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Forum topic by jzanick posted 01-03-2013 07:12 PM 9802 views 7 times favorited 27 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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9 posts in 2119 days

01-03-2013 07:12 PM

Topic tags/keywords: walnut finishing countertop

I have a walnut island countertop that is ready for finishing. I am trying to achieve the same finish as the Grothouse Durata but do not know how.

My first thought was to use BLO and then top with Sher Wood CAB Acrylic Lacquer. Am I heading in the right direction?

See image for my bare countertop and Grothouse Durata finish for comparison. I can’t really test on a sample because I forgot to ask for extra material from the milling company.

27 replies so far

View Cato's profile


701 posts in 3462 days

#1 posted 01-03-2013 07:26 PM

Seems like you are going to have to get some walnut scrap stock or at worst case test a small portion the bottom side of the countertop to try and match your desired color tone.

Scrap test pieces carefully labeled with what went on them is safest way for me.

I normally use some orange transtint dye on my walnut followed by some amber dewaxed shellac. Over that I use a water based poly or waterlox original.

I am not a real fan of BLO, so I haven’t ever used it on anything but SYP.

I don’t have experience with the acrylic lacquer so I can’t comment.

Charles Neil is found on this forum from time to time and you might want to send him a PM to get his advice.

View jzanick's profile


9 posts in 2119 days

#2 posted 01-03-2013 09:46 PM

Thanks @Cato for the response. Haven’t found much online about using acrylic lacquer for countertops.

We don’t want to already dark walnut to go any darker. How about just using Waterlox on the bare wood?

View CharlesNeil's profile


2437 posts in 4020 days

#3 posted 01-04-2013 02:17 PM

Walnut is Walnut, meaning unless you’re going to dye it or stain it nothing is really going to darken it very much. An oil would however be more likely to darken the wood. Oils can react with different woods. That’s why a clear oil can blotch cherry. However Walnut is not blotch prone. But I notice you have some sapwood, that can react to some degree with an oil. It can often make it a little more “tan”. Slower drying oils such as B L O can react more than a varnish oil, such as Arm R Seal, or Formbys Tung oil.

I agree you need to experiment a little, just to make sure you’re getting the color your looking for. If you use an oil be sure to let it dry well. Well means in the case of boiled linseed oil a week. In the case of one of the varnish oils 48 hours.

My choice would be as stated above, a base coat of either a Amber or Garnet shellac, which has a orange/amber tint to it really looks good on Walnut. The issue will be how it will look on the sapwood. Even though Walnut is not blotch prone, the sapwood is. So again you need to do some test. If there was no sapwood I would suggest a coat of Minwax golden Oak. It also seems to add the gold/amber tone.

As to the acrylic lacquer no problem. It should do well, however anything that’s predominantly acrylic is going to be more scratch prone. Acrylic creates a hard surface, think of it like glass. You may find a good pre-cat lacquer to be a little more forgiving, as far scratches. The upside to the acrylic is if you get scratches they can be rubbed out pretty easily. A polyurethane is going to be far more scratch resistant than any lacquer, think of polyurethane like a vinyl floor. It’s more pliable and less scratch prone.

Hope all of this makes sense.

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9 posts in 2119 days

#4 posted 01-04-2013 02:59 PM

Looks like I will be moving away from the oil.

I will experiment with Zinsser Amber Shellac and/or SealCoat with Waterlox Top Coat. I am also worried about the sapwood taking up the orange color. I will post some photos later.

I can get all this locally but not the Orange dye. @Cato, does the Orange Dye do much for the wood color? Would like to hear from you before I order them.

Thank you all for the advice. They are very helpful.

View CharlesNeil's profile


2437 posts in 4020 days

#5 posted 01-04-2013 03:12 PM

would not use the orange dye, not with the sap wood, the orange dye with the darker walnut utilizes the base color of the walnut, on the sap it just be orange .

also the amber shellac at the box store is not dewaxed, not a good choice, seal coat is dewaxed, as well as the spray cans

View Knothead62's profile


2584 posts in 3110 days

#6 posted 01-04-2013 03:32 PM

Can’t help with the finishing but I’ll say it looks great. Saw a maple countertop in a Woodcraft store demo room- outstanding.

View jzanick's profile


9 posts in 2119 days

#7 posted 01-04-2013 03:33 PM

I will not be using poly on the shellac. Waterlox will be my choice for top coat.

Have you had bad experience with WaterLox over waxed shellac?

Another idea is to use a coat of the dewaxed sealcoat on top of the shellac followed by Waterlox. What do you think?

View CharlesNeil's profile


2437 posts in 4020 days

#8 posted 01-04-2013 04:41 PM

I think your getting too many products going, Waterlox is an excellent product, but of all the oils it has the most orange/amber color, on walnut it looks good, again the issue is the sap wood, do a test on the heart wood and the sap wood, thats the only way to know for sure, try it with just the waterlox , keep it simple, and lets see what it does, I think a little color on the sap wood would be nice,
I just put some waterlox on some walnut and sap, I like it, I dont know how to post pictures on here so I will PM you with my email , I can then email you the picture and you can see it ,

View jzanick's profile


9 posts in 2119 days

#9 posted 01-04-2013 05:48 PM

Great Photos from Charles. Thanks a bunch!

Waterlox on Sappy Walnut

Minwax Golden Oak on Sappy Walnut

View woodtarded's profile


15 posts in 2118 days

#10 posted 01-04-2013 07:54 PM

I am curious if the pre-color conditioner from Mr. Neil would be something that would control the blotching issue on the sap wood…..

-- Jimmy---- Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the Ark, professionals built the Titanic.

View AandCstyle's profile


3165 posts in 2406 days

#11 posted 01-05-2013 02:15 AM

IIRC the color of walnut lightens over time with exposure to light. It might not end up being as dark in a year or so as it is on day 1.

-- Art

View CharlesNeil's profile


2437 posts in 4020 days

#12 posted 01-05-2013 01:49 PM


our prestain would help the blotch, however walnut doesnt blotch usually, the sap can sometimes, in my test it did not, so we are going to test a spot on the bottom of the top . Should be fine, I think, Cherry sap is one of the worst, it blotches worse than the heart wood

View dhazelton's profile


2789 posts in 2446 days

#13 posted 01-05-2013 02:36 PM

I have a couple of small cabinets that flank the stove with recycled butcher block top. I just put shellac and paste wax on mine and they look fine. I assume you don’t intend to use this as a food prep area or else you would be using mineral oil. I’m not into wood looking like glass, but that’s just me.

View Cabletech1's profile


21 posts in 2201 days

#14 posted 01-05-2013 02:57 PM

I’m with you dhazelton. I like the natural look of the wood. Why try to make it look shiny and fake. On my countertop I just soaked it with mineral oil and then applied a topcoat of natural beeswax. Water resistant and has a natural glow to it..

-- "Do it right the first time while remembering this: there is no more important safety rule than to wear these — safety glasses."

View CharlesNeil's profile


2437 posts in 4020 days

#15 posted 01-05-2013 05:01 PM

who said it has to look like plastic, you can apply a good finish and not even know its there, with no maintence and far more durability than mineral oil. I like my wood sealed and water and chemical resistent, mineral oil is NOT a finsh, its a treatment. Each to their own. If it works for you , thats all that matters.

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