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Forum topic by rowjoe76 posted 02-24-2014 07:15 PM 8946 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 1519 days

02-24-2014 07:15 PM

Topic tags/keywords: walnut veneer plywood watco danish oil

Hello Everyone,

I’m currently constructing a stereo cabinet out of Walnut Veneer Plywood. I just started the process of applying Watco Danish Oil (Natural) to the individual pieces using the method outlined in the link below. I started by oiling one side of each piece, making sure to keep it flooded with oil. After one hour I completely wiped the pieces down and allowed them to dry for 48 hours. The pieces looked great! (see image 1 below)

Then came time to oil the opposite side of all the pieces….this did not go nearly as well. After letting the Watco DO sit for an hour and wiping down the wood, I was left with a blotchy surface and several areas that remained lighter than the others (especially around the edges) The difference between the two sides was night and day (see image 2 below)

What I fear happened, is that when I was rubbing off the oil from the first side I was getting oil on my gloves and and then transferring it to the other side of the piece. The Watco DO then dried on the surface, thus preventing deep penetration of the oil when it came time to do the other side.

Am I jumping the gun here? Will the next step of Wet Sanding with #400 grit correct the blotches and discoloration?

If wet sanding is not the answer, please advise what I can do to remedy this situation.
Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated. I’ve poured a lot of money into this project, including my heart and soul.

Thank you in advance,


5 replies so far

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2327 days

#1 posted 02-24-2014 09:16 PM

A simple fix might be to scrub the blotchy side with naphtha using a maroon scotchbrite to even things out. Let it dry and follow up with a couple coats of oil. The oil doesn’t really penetrate more than about a millimeter, so just wipe it on and wipe it off.

Maroon scotchbrite is available at an auto paint supply or maybe at a parts store.

-- 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 mrpedal's profile


30 posts in 2504 days

#2 posted 02-24-2014 11:00 PM

I found the watco super forgiving- I did exactly what you did, and had fingerprints on once side. I did three coats total, and wet sanded/applied it with 400 grit paper on the second and third coats and the blotchy areas were still there… a bit. But After it was dry a couple days later, the light sanding and poly topcoat I couldn’t really see any of those prints anymore. The ply I had also did it worse on one side.. different grade on either side. And that was veneer ply- it’s suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuper thin, not sure if that could cause exacerbate irregular absorption.

The next cabinet I made, I sanded the ply up to 320, and that helped significantly. Not the best quality, but these first two are of the first cabinet’s finish:

this one is of a second cabinet (but solid walnut instead of ply, and sanded to a higher grit before finish)

I look at both everyday as built ins of our bathroom, and the both look great. I think the later one came out nicer, but then again I had the experience of the first under my belt. I also now test finish a piece of the same project material before using it on the final project.

I like diluting seal coat with 1 or 2 parts DNA and wiping that over blotchy stuff like maple before finishing it if I’m worried.

I’ve also had luck doing the opposite- sanding to 180, then wet sanding in wipe-on poly @ 220, 320, 400, 600 and leaving the majority of the grit that sticks in the pore there until its dry as a ‘perfect’ match grain filler. peruvian walnut :

not the best woodworker/finisher/photographer.. This is all new to me still.

View rowjoe76's profile


2 posts in 1519 days

#3 posted 02-25-2014 07:47 PM

Clint and Mrpedal,

Thank you for the quick response and advice. And thank you Mrpedal for including pics. Much appreciated. This was my first time posting on LJ’s and it was nice to know that people are out there willing to help.

With that being said, I am an impatient man by nature, and before I was able to check my email and see that I had some responses I went ahead with trying to repair it on my own. Low and behold it actually worked!! In fact it made the “bad side” look even better (and smoother) than the “Good Side”. I was so happy with the results I repeated the process on the “good side”. Don’t ask me how I came up with this solution…it was honestly a shot in the dark. But one thing is for sure, great risk sometimes equals great reward.

Here is what I did:

1) I went to the local hardware store and bought Watco Danish Oil – Dark ( I was using Natural before)
2) I brushed on the dark oil liberally to the blotchy side of the ply and let it sit for 20 mins
3) After 20 minutes I wet sanded the surface with standard (not wet) #100 grit sandpaper. This made me extremely nervous since I knew the veneer was thin. But without this step I don’t believe I would have achieved the same results. (I hand sanded pretty hard too)
4) I then applied a little more oil to the surface and sanded with #150 grit sandpaper (Throughout this process I kept reapplying oil to the wood to keep it wet and to maintain a nice slurry of dust and oil. It’s also important to note that i did this in sections of approx 1ft x 1ft)
5) I repeated step 4 with #220 grit sandpaper, then again with #400 WET SANDPAPER, then with 0000 Steel Wool.
6) After I finished with the steel wool I wiped the wood down with a rag, making sure I had removed all surface oil. The difference was night and day! Soft as a baby’s butt and not a blotch to be found. I repeated the same process on the other side.
7) I’m going to let the wood dry for 48 hrs then repeat step 3 with #600 WET SANDPAPER.
8) I’m then going to finish the wood with Watco Satin Wax

One final note: There was one small section (about the size of a 50 cent piece that kept giving me trouble and would not take the oil. I hit it really hard with the #100 grit sandpaper (while wet) then reapplied a liberal amount of oil over the spot and let it sit for about 20 mins. I then rubbed the area lightly with 0000 steal wool, working the oil into the wood. It did the trick!!

View mrpedal's profile


30 posts in 2504 days

#4 posted 02-25-2014 07:57 PM

I had a test peice of the natural/med/dark watcos… and the natural always felt too meh for the walnut ply I found locally. The medium and dark had enough to add back some depth, but don’t make it feel too stained out.

Post some pic’s when you’re all done!

View Fuzzy's profile


298 posts in 3954 days

#5 posted 02-28-2014 03:41 AM

I think one reason you “got away” with your solution was that you initiated it before the finish was cured. If the WATCO was completely dry, it would not have allowed the subsequent coats to soften or reamalgamate the fingerprints. Glad it worked out for you.

-- - dabbling in sarcasm is foolish … if you’re not proficient at it, you end up looking stupid … ... ...

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