Plantation Shutters #16: Testing of stain, gel, oil, charred, ammonia, and shellac on basswood. For science!

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Blog entry by Holbs posted 06-28-2017 03:00 AM 2818 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 15: 2nd attempt at sanding pieces: success! Part 16 of Plantation Shutters series Part 17: Rabbets, beads, ammonia basswood, and miter saw accuracy error »

So here goes my 24 hour test run of different ways to play with basswood. I could only play with what was on hand.

Top board has no sealing done. This is raw basswood sanded to 240.
Bottom board has 2 coats of Shellac sanded to 240 to start off with.

1.) Charred. Top board was charred, brass brushed, wiped with water, then shellac sealed. I was curious to see what happens when you charr shellac. Bottom board was shellac sealed, charred, brass brushed, wiped with water. Who chars shellac? Me :) And I really like how it turned out actually.

2.) Behlen Fruitwood Dye. Blotchy on top board. Somewhat ok on bottom board (those white dots are from the aggressive use of my butane torch).

3.) Behlen American Walnut Dye. Same as fruitwood, yet bottom board looks… soothing.

4.) 50/50 combo of fruitwood and walnut dye. Same as above. Kinda like it…Kinda don’t.

5.) Old Master’s Dark Walnut gel stain (same as I have on my window casing & jambs). Top board..bleh. Bottom board dramatic difference with 2 coats of shellac.

6.) Watco Danish Oil. Have never used this stuff before, but I did have it laying around. So gave it a go. Not much of a difference from natural color.

7.) raw basswood with 2 coats of shellac for comparison:

8.) raw basswood will be sitting in general purchased ammonia fumes for 24 hours to see how it looks tomorrow:

Now everything sits for 24 hours. Shall see what happens.

-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter "xylokopos/ξυλοκὀπος"

3 comments so far

View Rich's profile


5133 posts in 1192 days

#1 posted 06-28-2017 03:22 AM

I’m not sure what you’re looking for in a final color for the room, but several of those are excellent looking from a general quality of finish standpoint. I think you’re going to wind up with some beautiful shutters.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View Holbs's profile


2258 posts in 2632 days

#2 posted 06-28-2017 03:25 AM

Something between white… and black :) I am not sure what color I want as the end result. Hence this experiment to see how things look with what I have on hand. For the first 5 minutes, I am leaning towards the shellac, then charring of shellac. Was surprised at that result. Or the gel stain as it will match the window casings. Or just simple shellac. Undecided right now. Really curious how the ammonia fuming turns out too.
Considered trying vinegar and 0000 steel wool method…but I think that takes a full week to sit before trying out.

-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter "xylokopos/ξυλοκὀπος"

View AandCstyle's profile


3258 posts in 2860 days

#3 posted 06-28-2017 09:17 PM

Holbs, I don’t think basswood has much tannin so the ammonia probably not do much. I will be interested to see if it changes at all.

-- Art

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