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Finishing walnut

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StottC

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Hi all,

I'm still really new to woodworking and I'm planning to make something out of walnut for the first time.

It's just a small memory box, so only occasional indoor use, but I'm finding a lot of conflicting information online about the finishing process.

Does anybody have any tips? Some websites are saying it needs to be pre treated to close the grain, others are saying it should be waxed afterwards, some are saying just oil it, others say just oiling it wont provide enough protection so finish is with shellac ontop of the oil #-o I'm going a bit mad trying to find the most straight forward answer

My plan is to use pure tung oil, but do I need to put a base coat on and do I need to put a top layer on for protection?
 

AndyT

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I think on this one, there are many answers which can all be correct.
Finishing is a minefield. Proprietary products are named by the makers as if they wanted to confuse the customers.
"Simple" oils such as Tung oil can be pure oil or a mixture. I've tried tung oil and found that it took ages to dry properly.

When I made a little table out of walnut, I used Osmo Poly-X hard wax oil.

This looks expensive but is economical to use, very easy to apply and is tough enough for table tops and things that will be handled. It doesn't go off in the tin either.

I didn't stain the timber or seal the grain but I am happy with the finish I got.
 

AJB Temple

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It somewhat depends what end result you are looking for. If you want a shiny finish then English walnut French polishes well, especially if you fill the grain carefully and sand dead flat with fine paper. If you want a more matt or satin finish then as above I would probably go with Poly X.
 

sunnybob

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I use a lot of walnut, I love the feel and the colour and the grain pattern. But just as said above, there is NO single answer to finishes.
NOBODY can tell you what YOU want the box to look like. :roll: :roll: (hammer)

I use a few finishes; wipe on poly for a gloss shine (my favourite and very very simple to apply, but even then you can use use satin or matt polyif you dont like gloss.
Micro crystaline wax (NOT my favourite, it takes forever to get a sheen).

I have just finished some shelves that are lipped with walnut and have just used blonde shellac on them as they are going to be covered in books and stuff and nobody is going to admire them too much. The shellac gives a nice deep looking non slip surface (unless you want to apply 20 coats and buff between each one :shock: :roll: ).
Yer pays yer money and yer takes yer choice. 8) 8)
 

woodbloke66

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AndyT":3kd0nd9v said:
When I made a little table out of walnut, I used Osmo Poly-X hard wax oil.

This looks expensive but is economical to use, very easy to apply and is tough enough for table tops and things that will be handled. It doesn't go off in the tin either.

I didn't stain the timber or seal the grain but I am happy with the finish I got.
Yep, pretty fool proof and gives a superb finish. Apply thinly though using a good quality brush or white rag. It does form a skin inside the can after a while but that's easy enough to cut away with knife of some sort. I also dilute the stuff a little with a dash of white spirit as it's a bit 'treacly' used neat. No need to stain or seal the timber either - Rob
 

CHJ

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If using any oils you should not seal the wood first, the oil needs to soaking into the wood.
Do not let the oil puddle on the surface, wipe off surplus with a lint free cloth after a few minuets, recoat if required after the manufactures recoat guidance. Take care with any used rags lay flat to dry do not bundle as they can overheat.

A hard wax oil blend will polymerise (be ready to handle) quicker than a plain Tung oil.

As someone new to oil finishing wanting a robust finish HW Oil is in my opinion ideal.
 

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