Reply by Picken5

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Posted on Walnut and birdseye maple box finish questions.

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325 posts in 3607 days

#1 posted 09-27-2020 07:31 PM

I’m with Bstrom — I’d much rather avoid staining altogether. I wouldn’t use wood conditioner at all. Wood conditioner is typically only used prior to staining anyway. (I prefer oil-based poly, but I know many have great results with water-based poly.) Shellac or polyurethane are both fairly clear finishes that are easy to work with in my opinion and either will darken the wood somewhat. Once you’ve sanded your project, you can get a good idea of what it will look like with just shellac or poly on it by wiping it down with mineral spirits. Mineral spirits (like most finishes) will deepen the tone and actually darken the wood a bit — and when it dries, which is usually just a matter of minutes, the wood returns to it’s original color. It’s a great, no-risk, way to see what your project will look like when finished.

No, you don’t need to add laquer to get more gloss. I usually use satin polyurethane, but it’s readily available in glossy and semi-gloss. If I want more gloss after applying satin poly, I rub it with 0000 steel wool and then with a plain cotton cloth (or sometimes just a paper towel) — i.e. the old hand-rubbed finish. And applying paste wax will also increase the gloss.

Here’s a link to a walnut jewelry box I built a number of years ago. The only finish I used was oil-based polyurethane.

BTW, I love the contrasting look of walnut and maple. They’re great choices of woods for most projects.

-- Howard - "Time spent making sawdust is not deducted from one's lifetime." - old Scottish proverb

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