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11 different finishes on Walnut - the initial coat (long but awesome) *UPDATED*

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Forum topic by lumberjoe posted 02-17-2014 at 08:42 PM 2293 views 5 times favorited 38 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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lumberjoe

2833 posts in 885 days


02-17-2014 at 08:42 PM

Topic tags/keywords: finishing shellac blo tung oil arm-r-seal teak oil danish oil waterbased poly

So I decided to “bust some myths” about finishing. Most notably that pure tung oil and boiled linseed oil based finishes pop grain better than anything else. Here is what I used (note Lacquer omitted – can’t spray inside and too cold outside). All the walnut has been sanded to 220 grit

Zinsser Shellac (3lb cut right out of the can, waxed, brushed)
Minwax semi gloss poly (I thin it 50/50 with MS to make a wipe-on)
Pure tung oil
Watco Teak oil
Watco Natural Danish oil
Custom blended finish (“Maloof” finish)
General finishes Arm-R-Seal (Gloss)
Varathane soft touch Matte poly (waterborne)
Varathane Ultimate waterborne poly (oil modified, full gloss)
2lb Cut dewaxed superblonde shellac (brushed)
2lb Cut dewaxed superblonde shellac (french polished)

I generally do this with scraps from pieces I am using for a project. You can see how wildly one species can vary in color

This has been pore filled already – 1lb cut of dewaxed shellac, let it dry, then rub with a french polishing pad – but only alcohol on the pad. The pad is tapped on some pumice periodically to work the dried shellac and walnut into the grain. I didn’t do a terrific job here (It will show later)

The rest of them. Taped off so I can see the natural wood after for a real comparison.

First coats applied

1st padding session. French polish brings out every single little defect (lazy pore filling and planer snipe that wasn’t visible before). This looks like crap compared to the final session and after rubbing out with rottenstone; but getting glossy.

Pure tung on the top, my custom finish based on Sam Maloof’s finish on the bottom – Poly, tung oil, boiled linseed oil, and solvent. My skepticism of boiled linseed oil popping grain better than pure tung oil is fading a bit.

Waterborne “poly” (gloss) vs minwax semi-gloss. Not too much difference yet. I thinned the oil based poly to wipe it so there is barely any there. That side will be much darker

Watco “teak oil” vs Canned Shellac.

Not too much difference here actually. The shellac will be much glossier. I’m not sure what is in “Teak” oil but I actually like it. I use it on razor stands because it is an outdoor finish. My guess is Tung oil and a spar varnish. It doesn’t build a film, but is really glossy for an oil/varnish.

Natural Danish oil vs waterborne Matte Poly. Both “natural” finishes. The matte waterborne acrylic side looks like there is nothing there. By the way, this Varathane soft touch matte poly is AWESOME.

And here is the kick in the nuts I wasn’t expecting. Dewaxed shellac (brushed) vs Arm-r-seal. I always thought shellac (even as a washcoat which is what this basically is) did a terrific job at popping grain. Not even close.

I am going to follow the proper finishing schedule on all of these finishes and rub them out as well. Interested to see the final results

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts


38 replies so far

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Randy_ATX

673 posts in 1079 days


#1 posted 02-17-2014 at 08:52 PM

I’m always interested in these types of comparisons. Will the final results be posted in this thread? I’d like to know what your top 3 choices will be once you are done.

-- Randy -- Austin, TX by way of Northwest (Woodville), OH

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TheWoodenOyster

775 posts in 572 days


#2 posted 02-17-2014 at 09:08 PM

Cool. I am about to do some table legs in walnut and was going to do straight BLO. I’ll be interested to see your results. Thanks for taking the time to share this with us all.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

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lumberjoe

2833 posts in 885 days


#3 posted 02-17-2014 at 09:45 PM

I would never use BLOCK (or straight tung oil) as a finish. Maybe try a danish oil.

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

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Handtooler

1075 posts in 769 days


#4 posted 02-18-2014 at 04:19 AM

Yes, Absolutely show us more. Neither Flexnor nor Charles has done such a very nice comparison that I’ve seen. Useful knowledge.

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343 bassboy40@msn.com

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Kaleb the Swede

1113 posts in 606 days


#5 posted 02-18-2014 at 04:24 AM

Thanks for this lumberjoe. This is really eye opening to different finishes and to somebody who knows nothing about them, a great help

-- Just trying to build something beautiful

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mrjinx007

1384 posts in 404 days


#6 posted 02-18-2014 at 04:38 AM

Thanks Joe, Like to see how they turn out. I have come to like Teak oil because it is so easy to wok with.

-- earthartandfoods.com

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SpartyOn

5 posts in 784 days


#7 posted 02-18-2014 at 05:41 AM

Thanks for taking the time to do these comparisons, Joe. Very helpful. Looking forwad to the final results!

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CharlesNeil

1127 posts in 2507 days


#8 posted 02-18-2014 at 05:43 AM

We actually did a ton of this stuff , all sorts of finishes, unfortunately it was for our book .

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1433 posts in 998 days


#9 posted 02-18-2014 at 06:07 AM

The experiment is cute, but won’t prove anything. The simple fact is that anything that “wets” the wood will emphasize the grain pattern. Claims of differences between various concoctions due to reflectance, refraction, or some other optical phenomenon are meaningless gobbledygook. Any observed differences are 99.9% due to a change in color carried by the finish.

-- Clint Searl.............We deserve what we tolerate

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lumberjoe

2833 posts in 885 days


#10 posted 02-18-2014 at 06:58 AM

Clint, go read some finishing books and troll another thread please

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

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lumberjoe

2833 posts in 885 days


#11 posted 02-18-2014 at 07:00 AM

Charles, your book is awesome. I would highly recommend it to anyone

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

View moke's profile

moke

478 posts in 1413 days


#12 posted 02-18-2014 at 10:42 AM

Joe, even in the magazines they make their recommendations…top tool…etc…
Which one do you now prefer? The Arm-r-seal looks awesome from my perspective….what say you?
Mike
BTW—-thanks for all your efforts….good post

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CharlesA

1268 posts in 435 days


#13 posted 02-18-2014 at 11:14 AM

Clint,

I agree that there is some gobbledygook on this thread, but I I find it in your almost indecipherable post. If someone takes wood and uses different finishes with observed differences, how is that meaningless? Do some finishes “wet” the wood more deeply and with longer lasting results? Popping the grain is not always mymgoal in finishing, but this is still interesting.

Charles

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

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lumberjoe

2833 posts in 885 days


#14 posted 02-18-2014 at 11:48 AM

My goal when finishing first is protection. Some of these finishes would never even be considered for furniture. This is very un-scientific and I just want to experiment with looks alone.

There are a lot of perceptions about popping grain, appearance, etc. I want some empirical evidence so I know what I am dealing with down the road

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

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ex-member

155 posts in 412 days


#15 posted 02-18-2014 at 12:47 PM

There’s one in every thread. I’ve been that one, so I know. Clint, every piece of wood will take a finish differently than the next. This is highlighting some very impressive differences, in general, about how these finishes affect one species and none of them could be considered stains so just chill. This is interesting. Now play nice or go to another thread.
I, for one, can’t wait to see the finished pics…and maybe a month of aging as well.

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