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Old 08-02-2012, 06:29 PM
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Default Finishing Walnut

Can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel for my first solid walnut project. Trying to think about finishing now - experts comment that I should proceed with:
1. sap stain, then
2. walnut stain, then
3. varnish coats,
4. then sanding, then
5. more varnish coats, then just shoot myself or retire to have enough time to finish this project

really? there has got to be an easier way - any suggestions or references would be greatly appreciated.

other books talk about walnut oil, when I research that, all I get is whole-foods recipes, but it must be true if its on the internet

I would like to use wiping varnish, let's leave learning spraying for another project.

The last time I added a bit of walnut trim the basic water-based finish did not produce a good result, I am looking here just to emphasize the grain, a little warmer finish look, etc.

Last edited by Paul; 08-02-2012 at 06:40 PM.
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Old 08-02-2012, 08:07 PM
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Default Re: Finishing Walnut

The best advice given will vary depending upon what the project is and how it will be used.

A furniture object with a tabletop will require a more durable finish than a jewelry box. if it is a decorative piece, it just needs to look great, and polishing and waxing the surface may be all that is necessary.

When I made a couple of chait/stepstools for my grandsons, I just put a few coats of shellac, and then rubbed out the surface before applying wax. Since I am sure that these will be subject to abuse over the years, restoring the finish will be much easier, since it won't be necessary to strip the shellac before applying additional coats.

Charles
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Old 08-02-2012, 09:38 PM
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Default Re: Finishing Walnut

I've used Minwax wipe-on poly (gloss) for several walnut things, and I've been quite happy with the results. I also wouldn't hesitate to use the Rockler Maloof Poly-oil finish. It leaves a lovely sheen (less glossy than the wipe-on poly), but it won't stand up to hot/cold/wet glasses or plates. As Charles said, the finish depends on the use.

For some things, a simple oil finish (walnut or mineral) will suffice.
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Old 08-02-2012, 11:53 PM
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Default Re: Finishing Walnut

I've used a recipe from Teri Masaschi's book Amazon.com: Foolproof Wood Finishing: For Those...Amazon.com: Foolproof Wood Finishing: For Those...
many times. There are several steps to it, but it is darned near foolproof. The first step uses a yellow dye on both the sapwood and the hardwood to even out the color. You can add as much red mahogany glaze as you like to redden and darken the effect. Experiment with a few offcuts to get just the effect you want.

By the way, the book is actually funny in places - very rare for a finishing book.
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Old 08-03-2012, 02:27 AM
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Default Re: Finishing Walnut

It's a little too broad a question, like "how much does it cost to build a house".
If you are concerned about color - you mentioned sapwood, yes, the way you've been told is one way to deal with that. You can stain it with a small brush.
Another way is dyes. I think in that scenario, that might be a little easier. It would give you some control over just how much color. Transtints work. They're readily available, versatile, and predictable.
If you're willing to order online, w.d.lockwoods dyes are superb. They're dry powders, and they have water, alcohol, and oil based available.
If you're going to use varnish, real varnish, then sanding between coats is mandatory. A good varnish finish starts before the varnish though. You'll want the surface flat, smooth, and filled. Whatever errors there are, varnish will only accentuate.
A number of very good finishing books out there on varnish, how to apply, brush selection, rubbing out. Far too much info for a single post.
Walnut is a wood that does lend itself to oils. I don't know what your application is, but oil on walnut works.
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Old 08-03-2012, 04:12 AM
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Default Re: Finishing Walnut

As most people here already know, I like an oil finish for bringing up grain. I suggest you get your favourite finishing oil (Danish, or whatever) and try friction sealing the oil into the wood. Then when it is dry after 1-2 days, use a wax, or Wipe On Poly to seal the piece and bring up the shine. The whole friction sealing process should take about an hour, cost you about AUD$45.00 and leave you with a stunning finish. My method for friction sealing is in some of my Projects posts. Have a look at my web site and you'll see how it comes out.

Regards,

Rob
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Old 08-03-2012, 06:01 AM
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Default Re: Finishing Walnut

Personally, the sapwood is part of it and I'd never try to hide it on a project..infact I like to add it to projects
I've used a shellac as a wash coat sealer then sanded it back and put on several coats of liberon finishing oil. It's a foolproof way to finish walnut.
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Old 08-03-2012, 04:45 PM
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Default Re: Finishing Walnut

Thanks for all the expert advice, - I agree that for me the sapwood is not a problem, just adds some interesting elements - the application is for a crib, so I suppose durability is a concern. I will review all the resources recommended, particularly looking forward to a humorous finishing book.
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Old 08-03-2012, 05:46 PM
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Default Re: Finishing Walnut

Okami said:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Okami View Post
Personally, the sapwood is part of it and I'd never try to hide it on a project..infact I like to add it to projects
I've used a shellac as a wash coat sealer then sanded it back and put on several coats of liberon finishing oil. It's a foolproof way to finish walnut.
Liberon's instructions say to use on bare wood, stripping all shellac, etc., - does sanding back the wash coat accomplish the same result - and do you use Liberon black bison wax to finish the finish? ( sorry about that, don't mean to start a string on finishing my comments on finishing the finished finish, etc.)

Any preference on the shellac used, what is your preference for the thinning ratio? thanks
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Old 08-17-2012, 05:12 PM
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Default Re: Finishing Walnut

After four books, several articles, and several test boards, I have settled on just Liberon finishing oil - several coats lightly sanded gives a great, deep color and sheen, showing off the beauty of the walnut. Thanks for all your advice - I am sure this is just personal preference but the results look great to the boss, my daughter in this case.

Finally get to pre-finish the raised panels so that I can get on with assembly! Its a good thing, too, at this rate the kid will be born and out of college before I finish the crib.
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