Finish for Rustic Wood

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Forum topic by TheWoodenOyster posted 07-08-2013 12:06 AM 2687 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1313 posts in 1900 days

07-08-2013 12:06 AM

Topic tags/keywords: finishing

Howdy guys,

I am turning to you all for answers and opinions as usual…

Today was my first meeting ever to do commissioned work for a total stranger. I am pretty excited and am trying to start working out the price. The project includes a set of 3 steel tables with solid wood tops, and 4 wall hung free-floating wood shelves. I took some samples over to them to give them some options for wood type. They had requested “rustic” looking wood, so I used a wire-wheel brush on a grinder to rough up the surface of the boards, and broke most of the edges and corners with the spokeshave. They ended up liking the White Oak with BLO on it (which I had just sort of put on to darken it up a bit). These tables and shelves are going in the kitchen, so the BLO will not work for waterproofing purposes. I am thinking an oil-based wipe-on poly might work for this situation, but I am a little worried about applying the poly evenly and effectively on the rough and uneven “rusticated” surface. I don’t want to brush it on, because I know the poly will just pool up in the low roughed out spots, and the piece will lose its rustic look. I also don’t have a sprayer.

Do you guys think I could use wipe-on poly on this rustic wood? Any alternates or brilliant ideas? Also, could i just add a tiny bit of dye to the poly to darken it up a little bit?

Thanks in advance, you sages of finishing

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

6 replies so far

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2656 days

#1 posted 07-08-2013 12:58 AM

I have wiped on a MinWax Spar urethane to wire brush finished wood with good results. It has more oil in it than poly and will amber the wood some. Test on scrap to see if you like the color.

I have also added stain to the diluted Spar wipe on with good results. (MW Gunstock is my fav stain for oak)

I dilute my Spar with mineral spirits usually using 2-3 parts Spar to 1 part mineral spirits. If you rub it on rather than wiping on a thick coat, it won’t pool in the “grooves” left by the wire brush.

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

View Manitario's profile


2629 posts in 2848 days

#2 posted 07-08-2013 01:15 AM

Danish oil would work well to highlight the imperfections in the wood; then you could add a few layers of wipe on poly on top to add durability.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1313 posts in 1900 days

#3 posted 07-08-2013 02:50 AM


Could the lingering smell of the spar be an issue? I live in texas, so it is hot and dry as hell right now, so it would probably cure pretty quickly outside. I just don’t want to put this stuff in someone’s kitchen and stink up their whole house. Am I worrying too much?

Plan to go get a can soon and do some test runs and see what the cure time is.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2656 days

#4 posted 07-08-2013 04:33 PM

It will smell for a while (probably a week or so). That smell really isn’t offensive to me but others may not like it. I would not put in the hot sun. I just leave the shop fans on with mine. I did all the woodwork in my daughter’s clinic with Spar and she never commented on the smell.

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

View junebug's profile


101 posts in 2370 days

#5 posted 07-08-2013 05:00 PM

you could always get a few cans of aerosol poly. Its a bit pricey compared to wipe on, but it’ll put an even coat on the rough surface

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2327 days

#6 posted 07-08-2013 09:46 PM

Pity the poor customer.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

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