Finishing a solid walnut wall

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Forum topic by dontknow posted 03-03-2013 08:21 AM 1394 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4 posts in 1875 days

03-03-2013 08:21 AM

Finishing a solid walnut wall
i have just finished putting up a walnut planked wall (decorative purpose ) in my dining room and i want to finish it. I’m really nervous and unsure on what to do. i have looked at other posts but they they seem to be worried about usage this is purely just for decoration . i have tried some sample boards oil varnish blend, amber shellac , clear shellac and I’m not crazy about any of them. any advice would be helpful thank you since i know nothing

-- i think i know but i don'tknow

10 replies so far

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4 posts in 1875 days

#1 posted 03-03-2013 12:09 PM

low to satin what the wood to look rustic refined

-- i think i know but i don'tknow

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999 posts in 1897 days

#2 posted 03-03-2013 12:32 PM

Danish oil would be my opinion, it’s not shiny, easy to wipe on, you can wipe down the wall with water later and not have spots, absorbs well and pops the grain a bit. I do use a lot of shellac also but it tends to change the color towards amber and that on walnut is not that nice. Good luck with the project! looks great

-- Jim, Marostica Italy

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2860 posts in 2478 days

#3 posted 03-03-2013 01:11 PM

I would start with Minwax Natural, a clear stain that I use to pop the grain. After that dries completely, you can go in a lot of different directions. Probably, since this is right in your living area, a water based poly would be good.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

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190 posts in 3547 days

#4 posted 03-03-2013 02:31 PM

I like boiled linseed oil and two coats of PolyAcrylac satin. There are a couple of sample projects on my project page.

-- John, Long Island, NY

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8163 posts in 2541 days

#5 posted 03-03-2013 03:00 PM

+1 for Danish oil and then a water based poly.

Have fun.

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16274 posts in 4182 days

#6 posted 03-03-2013 03:14 PM

As already mentioned, there are a world of options. Maybe the best approach would be if you coul post a photo of how you would like the end result to look, then we could give you suggestions for getting there.

In general, any oil finish will darken the color significantly. My first thought was something like Danish oil, but you already stated you didn’t like the look of the oil-varnish blend you tried. If you want to keep the color as close to natural as possible, water-based poly by itself would be your best bet.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View PittsburghTim's profile


230 posts in 2286 days

#7 posted 03-03-2013 03:21 PM

Dontknow, I would recommend a Minwax natural as mentioned above. From there, I would use tung oil. I completed a remodel of the large gameroom in my late ‘50s ranch about fourteen years ago using solid tongue and groove oak paneling and trim. (The previous owners were conviced to paint over the original sheet paneling to brighten up the room. Argh!) I used a Minwax Early American followed by three coats of Minwax tung oil. It gave is a warm lustrous glow that remains to this day. While I used satin polyurethane on the trim for durability, I think you will be best to use tung oil on the wall as it will not be handled. The other benefit is that if you were to get a ding or scratch, the tung oil finish can be easily repaired without having to recoat the entire surface. Application is easy as well, just wipe on, allow to soak in a bit, and buff off. Just be careful to dispose of the rags properly to avoid any fire issue, which is true for all oil finishes.

-- She asked me, "Who are you going to please with that?" I said, "Me."

View Loren's profile


10252 posts in 3612 days

#8 posted 03-03-2013 03:42 PM

Try just wax on a sample piece. It nearly doesn’t darken
the wood at all.

Linseed oil darkens walnut a lot, though some sections
will be lighter. Tung oil doesn’t darken much.

Super-blonde shellac is nice. Topcoat with wax after
rubbing out.

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3122 days

#9 posted 03-03-2013 04:02 PM

Anything will darken the walnut, giving it a wet look, even that Minwax Natural.

I can’t imagine why that would bother you though. I typically always use Watco Danish Oil (Natural) on Walnut.

I see no reason to cover a wall with poly, of any kind.

If you want rustic, I’d be inclined to leave it unfinished, but I don’t understand why you’d use walnut for that. At that point, blonde shellac and wax seems the best solution to me.

I guess it’d be cool if you showed us an Internet image of something that looks close to what you are thinking about.

-- jay,

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4 posts in 1875 days

#10 posted 03-04-2013 10:35 PM

thanks for all your input i plan on trying a couple of these techniques and see what i like

Thank You All its great find a place like this where a layman can get great advice

-- i think i know but i don'tknow

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