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Finishes on Walnut

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Forum topic by pete57 posted 02-19-2009 07:45 AM 5045 views 1 time favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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pete57

134 posts in 2066 days


02-19-2009 07:45 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Question:
A Good friend of mine has some Walnut his Father cut down many moons ago. His wife has a new couch coming and wants me to make a plain shaker sofa table and a coffee table for her. I am not a Walnut guy and have worked with it little. I have aquired a nice pile and need to know what kinds of finishes will bring out the grain and make the piece uniform in color.

I usually put shellac on and let it dry, sand and clean the dust off. I then use a gel stain to get the color matching. (I use a lot of Maple, Cherry, Ash, and Oak) I then apply a couple coats of wipe on poly and then a coat of paste wax and finish using a car buffer on the tops.

Any Ideas to get this looking like glass and good grain showing on the tops of these walnut Tables??

-- Humble Wood Servant


19 replies so far

View MedicKen's profile

MedicKen

1599 posts in 2117 days


#1 posted 02-19-2009 08:06 AM

http://www.taunton.com/finewoodworking/FWNPDF/011176034.pdf
Here is an article by Jeff Jewitt, one of the finishing gurus. It might be what you are looking for. From FWW #176

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their therapist....medic20447@gmail.com

View pete57's profile

pete57

134 posts in 2066 days


#2 posted 02-21-2009 06:52 AM

Medicken,
Went to the site and since I get FWW magazine already I got a deal for to get on the web site. Thanks!! lots of good stuff on there.

-- Humble Wood Servant

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15698 posts in 2873 days


#3 posted 02-21-2009 04:23 PM

Walnut will take a stain just fine. But because it is already on the dark side, you’d better be looking for a pretty dark result. I put a mahogany stain on this table to match the furniture in my office, but mostly I just put clear finish like Danish oil or wipe-on poly.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View marcb's profile

marcb

762 posts in 2328 days


#4 posted 02-21-2009 04:44 PM

I’m a big fan of ebonizing walnut. Great grain for it. A touch of sanding ensures that it still looks like wood. Sorry but I don’t have a picture of it.

View jm540's profile

jm540

150 posts in 2074 days


#5 posted 02-21-2009 04:47 PM

tung oil will make it pop like mad. and it is easy. I’ll get a picture in a minute

-- jay Rambling on and on again

View hokieman's profile

hokieman

163 posts in 2409 days


#6 posted 02-21-2009 04:52 PM

Be careful with woods like walnut ahd mahagony with their open grains. If you want a smooth finish, you better fill it. Two ways I have identified to fill are using plaster of paris or sanding with a finish. Both work well and I don’t know which one to use to finish my current project. With plaster of paris you mix up a pretty thin mixture and apply it all over the surface. Let it dry over night, then sand it smooth with 400 – 600 grit wet ‘n dry paper. Then apply boiled linseed oil. The white from the p of p becomes transluscent and the grain is filled. Then I experimented with different finishes – shellac or General Armour Seal. I like the General best.

The other method is pretty simple. Apply the General finish liberally to the surface. Use 600 grit wet ‘n dry paper and sand across the grain. Keep going til you get a slurry of the finish and the dust accumulated on the surface. Then let it sit a few minutes and then wipe the slurry off ACROSS THE GRAIN which will pack the open grain with the slurry which is an exact match to the color of the wood. Let it dry over night and then apply finish. All this is based upon the desire to have an “nautural finish”. It turns out very well. Only thing about this method is it takes a lot of time.

I have seen the article that Medicken has posted and it seemed too complicated for this Virginian hillbilly to comprehend! If you send me your e mail address, I can send you the articles to these approaches. I haven’t figured out how to attach anything to our posts here on LJ.

If anyone knows how to attach links or articles, please let me know. I haven’t figured that one out, yet.

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15698 posts in 2873 days


#7 posted 02-21-2009 05:48 PM

Hokieman, I’ve used Behlen’s water-based grain filler with good results, but I’ll have to try your slurry method.

Attaching a link is easy, Pete. Just go the web page you want to link to, highlight the address in the address bar of the browser, right click and choose “copy”. Then in the forum topic box where you are writing your comment, highlight the text where you want the link to be, and click the little chain icon (right after the Bold and Italic icons). When a box pops up asking for the link address, right click in that space and choose “paste”, then click okay. Then you can post your reply, and the text you highlighted will be a blue link to your targeted page.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View hokieman's profile

hokieman

163 posts in 2409 days


#8 posted 02-22-2009 12:35 AM

Thanks, Charilie. I’ll try and post that article that I was referring to.

http://www.taunton.com/finewoodworking/FWNPDF/011177121.pdf

Maybe this will work. I went back through my electronic library and I was mistaken. The slurry that I was referring to was actually utilizing Danish Oil rather than the General Finish. After that slurry dries, then apply the General finish and it is very nice. Like I say, it takes a lot of time, though. Thanks for the tip on the Behlen. I will try that one too.

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2816 days


#9 posted 02-22-2009 04:03 PM

i just have to say it: don’t paint it. (referring back to my Snowman Bottle Holder project). Oh the teasing I’ve endured ever since! :) (sorry to interrupt the tutorial.)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View pete57's profile

pete57

134 posts in 2066 days


#10 posted 03-05-2009 08:27 AM

Hokieman, I know a bunch of you ol VT fellas, you just want us to think you are a hillbilly!! Thanks for the post. I am trying to post a Walnut Pencil Post Bed I am building and will try the finish on that first before I get my friends finished to make sure his is perfect. He is looking at several pieces in the future and I want to make sure I am in on the fun. How do you get pictures up on this site so I can put them on my projects? I went to the site to store pictures, that it? I just joined the FWW site, great stuff there man!!

-- Humble Wood Servant

View NY_Rocking_Chairs's profile

NY_Rocking_Chairs

500 posts in 2252 days


#11 posted 03-05-2009 12:16 PM

pete57. If you check out my walnut rocking chair, this might be the finish you are going for. That chair was sanded through 500 grit with an abralon pad and then treated with Deft Danish Oil. The treatment was to liberally coat and soak the chair, keeping it “wet” for about 15 minutes, then wipe dry with a paper towel. Let it set for a week, then do a quick wetting of an area followed by immediately wiping it dry. Takes another couple days to finish drying but that chair still looks like it did the day it left the shope.
http://lumberjocks.com/projects/8768

My other first cuts at walnut chairs did not get sanded quite so well and they did not shine like this one does.

-- Rich, WNY, www.nyrockingchairs.com

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pete57

134 posts in 2066 days


#12 posted 03-06-2009 03:09 AM

Rocking Chairs, that is a nice looking chair man! Sam Maloof ??? I am looking something a tad darker and how did you fill in the grain?

-- Humble Wood Servant

View trifern's profile

trifern

8132 posts in 2422 days


#13 posted 03-06-2009 06:22 AM

You can use some tinted shellac like Frank does here.

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

View pete57's profile

pete57

134 posts in 2066 days


#14 posted 03-09-2009 07:15 AM

Thanks everone, lots to think about. Seems like building is just a small part of itcompaired to the finish?????

-- Humble Wood Servant

View NY_Rocking_Chairs's profile

NY_Rocking_Chairs

500 posts in 2252 days


#15 posted 03-09-2009 12:08 PM

Fill in the grain? No filling there man. I think what gives a finish its real look is the sanding. The building is important, but spending hours sanding to that final 500 or 1000 grit before finishing is what allows the wood to really pop and display its colours.

-Rich

-- Rich, WNY, www.nyrockingchairs.com

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