I need help with a finsh for Maple that won't amber it or change it's color.

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Forum topic by Blackie_ posted 04-04-2013 11:03 PM 1659 views 1 time favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Blackie_'s profile


4883 posts in 2511 days

04-04-2013 11:03 PM

Hi fellow LJ’s I am working on a nice white maple project and in order to keep the proper theme for the project, I need a finish that won’t amber or alter the pure white of the maple, Here is what I have in my inventory. I already know that Varnish will amber.

100% none wax shellac
Poly wipe, 70 – 30 mix oil base poly and mineral spirits
Tung Oil

Thanks for your help.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

21 replies so far

View dee2's profile


277 posts in 2335 days

#1 posted 04-04-2013 11:30 PM

I use Krylon brand spray lacquer on any light (bass, white oak, balsa, maple and poplar) wood that I don’t want to “amber”. If you go look on my intarsia of white dog, it is still white.
If, like on the tiger, I wanted it to amber, then I use polyurethane spray.
Also, off topic…....did you see the burled box on here at, pretty cool looking!

-- Dee2, OH Aromatherapy....fresh cut wood!!

View AandCstyle's profile


3052 posts in 2256 days

#2 posted 04-04-2013 11:47 PM

Here is another option. I’ve had good luck with the Target products I have used.

-- Art

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2674 days

#3 posted 04-04-2013 11:53 PM

The laquer I have used turns red but it takes years. I used whatever the lumber yard had onm the shelf. It came in gallons. This was years ago. I think water based polyurethane varnish will stay clear. Some others might know about this.

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 2855 days

#4 posted 04-05-2013 12:13 AM

Mineral oil with pure turpentine spirit and a wee bit of caranuba wax
just remember to dissolve the wax in the spirit if you use it


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

20487 posts in 3104 days

#5 posted 04-05-2013 12:20 AM

I would go with clear lacquer!........Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2360 days

#6 posted 04-05-2013 12:22 AM

CAB acrylic lacquer for spray
Waterborne poly for brushon

-- 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 cabmaker's profile


1731 posts in 2808 days

#7 posted 04-05-2013 12:55 AM

Water white lacqer.

View DocSavage45's profile


8557 posts in 2841 days

#8 posted 04-05-2013 12:59 AM

Randy it might have a different effect but water based poly seems to produce a non tinted finish?

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View mantwi's profile


312 posts in 1895 days

#9 posted 04-05-2013 01:18 AM

Grandpa is right. Water based polyurethane does stay clear. It’s also pretty durable and easy to apply. It dries quickly so you can do 2 or 3 coats in a day. I finished a mahogany huntboard with it about 15 years ago as a gift for my in-laws and the finish is as clear as the day it went on.

View Blackie_'s profile


4883 posts in 2511 days

#10 posted 04-05-2013 01:49 AM

Sounds like if I use what’s on my finishing shelf the Lacquer is the best next to nothing, I’ll give it a test on some maple and see.

Thanks all for your responses a great help.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2689 days

#11 posted 04-05-2013 01:49 AM

Randy, Either Deft Lacquer or regular Zinsser Bullseye shellac should work. My maple and sycamore stuff that I’ve posted are finished with one of these. Look at em and see if this is the look you want.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Dark_Lightning's profile


3161 posts in 3108 days

#12 posted 04-05-2013 02:19 AM

Another option is automotive clear coat. You can bet they don’t yellow, whether lacquer or enamel. I painted one of my cars with lacquer awhile back, and when my neighbor across the street was looking for a clear coat for some cabinets, I pointed him to the auto parts store that sells the lacquer. Came out great, and it has the added advantage of being dry in a few minutes…to the point of being able to pick it up.

Personally, I like nitrocellulose lacquer for the yellowing. YTMV.

-- Random Orbital Nailer

View Blackie_'s profile


4883 posts in 2511 days

#13 posted 04-05-2013 11:22 AM

Andy, I have both of those in my finishing cabinet, I took a look at your work and left a comment, yes I can live with the look of the shellac thanks.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

View NiteWalker's profile


2737 posts in 2576 days

#14 posted 04-05-2013 02:58 PM

Even blonde shellac (I use zinsser sealcoat, a 2lb cut of blonde/clear shellac) will give maple a bit of color. For a completely clear finish I use crystalac super premium from mcfeely’s. I’ve used it on purpleheart and it imparts no color whatsoever.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1520 posts in 4124 days

#15 posted 04-05-2013 05:37 PM

I think the problem is that Maple is going to turn amber no matter what you put on it. That’s what Maple does, and it’ll continue to darken over time.

The polyurethane or some of the super-clear shellacs are probably going to have the least tint, but if you want something that stays white you’re better off choosing a different wood.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

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