Finishing a walnut slab. Help!!!

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Forum topic by Paddywhack posted 04-27-2011 04:33 PM 3357 views 1 time favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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7 posts in 2854 days

04-27-2011 04:33 PM

Topic tags/keywords: walnut finish

So I’ve just started woodworking and my second project is a walnut slab kitchen table. It’s going to be a well used table but I don’t want the table to have at high gloss piano finish. I’d like to keep it as natural as possible but needs to be hard warring.

Can anyone help on what best way to finish the table?


8 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3915 days

#1 posted 04-27-2011 05:38 PM

Tung or linseed oil look natural, bring out the grain, and are very easy
to repair. They’ll also develop a patina over time. With these finishes
you can generally just put on another coat anytime to revivify the finish.

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Steven H

1117 posts in 3327 days

#2 posted 04-27-2011 05:46 PM

What Loren said

After that you can top coat it with satin oil base varnish.

View superstretch's profile


1531 posts in 2961 days

#3 posted 04-27-2011 05:49 PM

I love my Watco Danish Oil…

-- Dan, Rochester, NY

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4089 days

#4 posted 04-27-2011 05:53 PM

Paddywhack, another finishing routine would be to coat the table top with polyurethane. Tung oil (pure) and boiled linseed oil will give a nice look to the walnut but they are relatively soft finishes. Poly will give a harder finish that will be more wear resistant and provide the surface of the wood with a protective film. If you want to cut down on its sheen, once you have the build that you want, just knock the sheen down with steel wool, fine grit sandpaper, etc until you get it to the sheen that you want.

Lacquer would be another alternative finish that will provide good surface protection as well. I would also suggest using some scrap walnut before tackling your table top to evaluate your finishing routine.

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

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7 posts in 2854 days

#5 posted 04-27-2011 05:54 PM

Thanks Loren. have you used waterlox?

View Paddywhack's profile


7 posts in 2854 days

#6 posted 04-27-2011 05:55 PM

thanks scott.

View Grandpa's profile


3261 posts in 2943 days

#7 posted 04-27-2011 07:09 PM

for hard wearing surfaces I would go with the polyurethane. in the past the high gloss has the most poly and was considered the hardest. I think they now claim the satin is as hard as the high gloss. you could use high gloss then a final coat of satin.

View DrDirt's profile


4529 posts in 4010 days

#8 posted 04-27-2011 09:15 PM

Waterlox is the way to go – about 4 coats as it is a tung oil varnish – it will build some sheen and good protection (versus danish oils) but still be natural wood feeling compared to polyurethane.
Better yet – once it starts getting worn, just wipe down with mineral spirits and add a fresh coat.
It is what I did both dining tables with and the cherry end tables. I love the stuff.
Best of luck.

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

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