Newbie needs finishing help

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Forum topic by chipsahoy posted 03-16-2009 05:58 PM 923 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View chipsahoy's profile


2 posts in 3536 days

03-16-2009 05:58 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question walnut maple mahogany finishing arts and crafts

Hello all,

My experience is in outdoor carpentry, decks, benches and outdoor furniture, using mostly PT wood and some cedar. I just started making indoor decorative plaques (approximately 8” x 6”) and I realize I am lost when it comes to finishing them.

I am using mahogany, walnut and curly maple. I would like a gloss finish that just enhances the natural color/grain of the wood.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


5 replies so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16278 posts in 4396 days

#1 posted 03-16-2009 06:04 PM

Wipe-on polyurethane. You can buy it in satin or gloss. Plan on 4 or 5 coats, with a light steel wool buffing in between each coat.

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

View Francisco Luna's profile

Francisco Luna

943 posts in 3571 days

#2 posted 03-16-2009 06:36 PM

I like traditional finishes, I think they have an unique look that no other “quimic” match.
If you are looking for a gloss finish, consider “French Polishing”, it’s simple with great results.
A good book about it: Clasic Wood Finishing, George Frank. Sterling Publishing Co.

-- Nature is my manifestation of God. I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day's work. I follow in building the principles which nature has used in its domain" Frank Lloyd Wright

View jeh412's profile


129 posts in 3553 days

#3 posted 03-16-2009 06:37 PM

I use Deft spray lacquer for small projects. I make custom picture frames for an area shop and found that the lacquer was among the quickest ways to finish them. Lowes carries Deft in satin and gloss.

-- John, co-owner Sawdust 'n Stitches

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3999 days

#4 posted 03-16-2009 08:17 PM

One suggestion I would have is to start with a base coat of boiled linseed oil (blo). Let it dry for 24 to 72 hours depending on ambient temperature and then add a topcoat of oil based wipe-on poly as Charlie suggests. The BLO will add depth to the finish and a gloss poly will give is a high sheen while preserving the natural wood look. The poly will add an amber tone to the wood over time but this just enhancing the warm look that a natural finish gives.

As far as wipe-on poly goes save yourself some money and make your own. Dilute concentrated oil base poly with mineral spirits or other petroleum based solvent to about 50% concentration and then apply with a clean cotton cloth or paper towel wiping with the grain. The wipe-on finish will cure out in about 4 hours (at room temperature) and, then with a light scuff sanding with 320 grit, be ready for another application. Repeat until you get the finish that you want.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View chipsahoy's profile


2 posts in 3536 days

#5 posted 03-16-2009 10:00 PM

Thanks everyone for the advice. I felt a little silly asking such a basic question. But just searching the net was giving me way too much generalized info. Now I have a good starting point and should get some good experience from trying these methods.


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