Finish For Reclaimed Chestnut

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Forum topic by SnowyRiver posted 04-17-2009 05:09 AM 1775 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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51457 posts in 3508 days

04-17-2009 05:09 AM

I recently completed a steamer chest made from reclaimed wormy chestnut.

It has lots of worm tracks, and also some very old black stained nail holes. I think I will just leave the nail holes and not fill them…they seem to add character and age to the wood.

I love the color and was wondering if anyone has any suggestions on what kind of finish to use. I would like to bring out the depth of the wood without changing the color.


-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

5 replies so far

View Dusty56's profile


11819 posts in 3715 days

#1 posted 04-19-2009 10:13 PM

Hi SnowyRiver, the best I have to offer is waterborne poly as it dries clear with no yellowing. Also they have some ”super blonde” shellac that might work for you. I have also had excellent results with Minwax Woodsheen “Natural” , as it enhances the figure in the wood with out changing the color. Here are a few of my Minwax projects…

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View CharleyL's profile


222 posts in 3392 days

#2 posted 04-20-2009 09:14 PM

I like the coloring and grain highlights that I get in chestnut and similar woods when using boiled linseed oil. It really pops the grain swirls. I apply it with a brush and then wipe off the excess after about an hour. After it dries for several days I put several coats of wipe-on poly over it. The poly seals it well and offers the best long term protection. I don’t care much for the water based poly “blue sheen” that I always seem to get, so I stick with the oil based version.


View czadams's profile


1 post in 3350 days

#3 posted 04-20-2009 09:29 PM

Try using General Finishes Arm-R-Seal. Available at Rockler and Woodcraft. Will bring out the natural color and the character of the worm holes. See sample on Ambrosia Maple -similar wood characteristics.
See sample:

View Jeremy's profile


74 posts in 3358 days

#4 posted 04-22-2009 01:05 AM

I like to use tung oil. You might like to cut a little bit with of solvent like mineral spirits as it tends to be a little thick and hard to apply. Plus it takes forever to dry when its full strength. Somthing to think about! Good luck and let me know what you end up doing! I’d be interested!

-- Jeremy, Rochester, NY

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3508 days

#5 posted 04-23-2009 06:35 PM

Thanks everyone. I think I am going to change the plan a bit. After getting the trunk assembly completed I decided the wood looked a bit bleached out so I am going to do an oil stain. I also am going to test shellac over it as a sealer.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

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