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How to make Mahogany figure 'Pop'

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Forum topic by Ivan posted 05-06-2009 04:40 PM 3247 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Ivan

185 posts in 2842 days


05-06-2009 04:40 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question mahogany finishing arts and crafts

I’m building a trunk and was able to find some beautiful Mahogany with figure.

I wanted to know if anyone has a finishing method that would make the figure pop? After the initial milling I can see some great ribbon grain when I look at it from a raking light.

I know that Maple figure can be made to pop with dye, but I really like the natural look of sun darkened Mahogany and would prefer to not add a stain.

Any suggestions?

Cheers,
Ivan

-- "Do it right the first time, you'll just kick yourself later..."


7 replies so far

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Julian

880 posts in 2990 days


#1 posted 05-06-2009 05:15 PM

Mahogany gets that striping from being quartersawn. What I do to finish it, is to sand to 220, then use a few coats of amber shellac cut with DNA. Then use oooo steel wool with wax to rub it out, or use poly or laquer , then wax of it needs to be more durable.

-- Julian, Park Forest, IL

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Damian Penney

1141 posts in 3456 days


#2 posted 05-06-2009 05:34 PM

David Marks uses Potassium Dichromate which looks amazing.

These guys stock it http://www.unitednuclear.com/chem.htm

-- I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. - Pablo Picasso

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marcb

768 posts in 3138 days


#3 posted 05-06-2009 05:58 PM

A good oil based finish can really help figure and curl and other things stand out.

Waterlox is good for that.

never tried the potassium route.

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Ivan

185 posts in 2842 days


#4 posted 05-06-2009 06:06 PM

I think I’ll try the Potassium Dichromate.

Thanks again,
Ivan

-- "Do it right the first time, you'll just kick yourself later..."

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bibb

318 posts in 2996 days


#5 posted 05-06-2009 06:21 PM

I have used Behlen’s pore filler dyed black with trans tint then sanded back down. Topped with 3-4 coats French polished amber shellac over with great success.

-- you may only live once, but if you do it right that's all you need katanadesign.com

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a1Jim

115202 posts in 3042 days


#6 posted 05-06-2009 06:23 PM

Check out how to make grain pop By Charles Neil on you tube.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View Chris Wright's profile

Chris Wright

540 posts in 2946 days


#7 posted 05-06-2009 06:35 PM

One method that luthiers use to make figured maple stand out is to put a dark dye down first and work it into the grain, then sand it down so that all that’s left is what’s in the low, soft grains, then but a clear lacquer over it. I don’t know how that will work on mahogany, but you can try and experiment on some scraps you’ve got left over. Can’t wait to see how it turns out.

-- "At its best, life is completely unpredictable." - Christopher Walken

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