How should I finish this box?

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Forum topic by mickeyd67 posted 10-27-2014 03:11 PM 1228 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 1307 days

10-27-2014 03:11 PM

Topic tags/keywords: walnut walnut burl question finishing

Hello everyone,

I’m new to this forum and pretty new to woodworking. I’ve spent a lot of time on wooden box project and i’m very pleased with it so far. It’s mostly solid walnut, finger jointed and with a walnut burl veneer and some inlay on the lid. All I need to do now is separate the lid from the rest of the box, finish, and install the hinges. I don’t have a good idea of how I should do these things however, and I’m asking for help as I really don’t want to ruin it at this point!

So, a couple of questions:

1. Should I do some/any finishing before I separate the lid?

2. How should I finish it? From what i’ve read the walnut won’t be too challenging but i think the burl veneer is another story. Any suggestions?

Any & all advice will be gratefully received.

11 replies so far

View Earlextech's profile


1161 posts in 2689 days

#1 posted 10-27-2014 03:30 PM

Cut it and sand it, then finish. I would use Tung oil on this project. Easy to use, can’t screw it up.

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "Finished"!

View Blackie_'s profile


4883 posts in 2511 days

#2 posted 10-27-2014 03:47 PM

+1 on what Sam said, you could also after the tung oil, put a couple coats of a wipe poly finish of choice, Gloss – Satin and then complete it with a wipe of paste wax.

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

View FaTToaD's profile


394 posts in 3140 days

#3 posted 10-27-2014 03:55 PM

Like the others have said Tung oil will work great. Honestly, any good oil finish will make the walnut look amazing When I first started making boxes I finished several with Watco Danish Oil which you can pick up at most big box stores. It’s an oil/varnish blend and is pretty simple to apply. I would suggest the natural color as opposed to any of the others (i.e. Golden Oak). Also, definitely finish it off with some paste wax like Randy said.

-- David

View a1Jim's profile


117091 posts in 3575 days

#4 posted 10-27-2014 03:55 PM

Hi Mickey Welcome to LJs
This is one Beautiful box great job. If the box is properly sanded and your burl is grain filled an oil finish Like tung oil or Seal-A-Cell will really make the figure pop. Tung oil does not provide a lot of protection from moisture, a top coat of something like lacquer or Arm R seal would work great.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View jmartel's profile


7892 posts in 2148 days

#5 posted 10-27-2014 05:09 PM

Separate the lid before finishing.

If you are a bit hesitant on messing up a finish, a danish oil is very easy to do and looks nice. Should bring out the figure as well. Flood the surface, let sit for a while, wipe off excess. Lightly sand with 400 grit or #0000 steel wool between each coat. You can finish it off with some wax as well which will make it feel very smooth.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View helluvawreck's profile


31082 posts in 2865 days

#6 posted 10-27-2014 05:10 PM

I always sand mine completely before I cut the top off. Then I do touch up sanding on all the parts and the inside. It’s so much easier for me to sand the outside completely when it’s all one piece. I don’t put any finish until it’s split apart and then any other operations are completed before finishing.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Yonak's profile


986 posts in 1519 days

#7 posted 10-27-2014 08:24 PM

mickey, I can’t weigh in on a finishing scheme, as finishing is not my area, but I just want to say that is one pretty box.

View mickeyd67's profile


2 posts in 1307 days

#8 posted 10-28-2014 12:10 AM

Thanks all. I think I’m going to get some tung oil. Also, as helluvawreck recommends, I have sanded it with 150 and then 220 grit so far as I’m sure that’s a lot easier when the box is in one piece.

I think my main concern at this point is how exactly to fill the burl, which I don’t think anyone has commented on. any recommendations there?

View a1Jim's profile


117091 posts in 3575 days

#9 posted 10-28-2014 12:21 AM

I’ve heard good things about this grain filler.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2688 days

#10 posted 10-28-2014 12:23 AM

This box looks like it really wants a French Polish type finish. Black Cherry has a great blog on his simplified method for French Polish finish.
Lots of options for pore filling: TimberMate Walnut grain filler (easiest), wet sand with BLO, traditional pumice.

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

View Earlextech's profile


1161 posts in 2689 days

#11 posted 10-28-2014 01:14 PM

+1 Aqua Coat Grain Filler

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "Finished"!

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