All Replies on Mahagony and cherry tabletop

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View WalkerTexasRanger's profile

Mahagony and cherry tabletop

by WalkerTexasRanger
posted 02-18-2018 10:25 PM

9 replies so far

View Lazyman's profile


5874 posts in 2275 days

#1 posted 02-18-2018 10:37 PM

Any finish is going to darken it. Water based polyurethane probably yields the least darkening effect in my experience but can leave the wood looking a little like it is coated in plastic if applied too thick. It will be more durable than Danish or tung oil on a table top. A blonde shellac would probably be the next but is probably not durable enough for a dining table.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View bbasiaga's profile


1243 posts in 2883 days

#2 posted 02-18-2018 10:38 PM

Clear shellac will add a light yellow tint. Something like General Finishes High Performance water based top coat is perfectly clear, or at least as close to perfectly clear as possible.


-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View WyattCo's profile


93 posts in 992 days

#3 posted 02-18-2018 11:01 PM

Brushing lacquer.

View CaptainKlutz's profile


3743 posts in 2382 days

#4 posted 02-18-2018 11:09 PM

Any oil will darken the wood.
Most varnish/poly will darken wood, but only slightly due yellow tone added.
Blonde Shellac is least color adding among typical finishes.

Only finish that will not add any color to wood is called a water-white finish, and the list of types is very short.
Included are a few catalyzed spray on lacquers and/or some water based acrylic/poly blends. Since typical varnish/shellac/lacquer wood finish always adds some (yellow) tone to wood, many “off-the-shelf” water based finishes add similar tones making “water-white” harder to find. Best source for durable dining table “water white” finish would be an industrial paint supply house that sells to cabinet shops. Most likely require a spray on finish.

PS – Your cherry wood is going to darken naturally and will make it hard to keep the original look of the wood top over time, even with a water-white finish? Be really curious to see pictures when new and as it ages.

Best Luck.

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

View caboxmaker's profile


280 posts in 1276 days

#5 posted 02-19-2018 01:13 AM

Looking forward to seeing the table.

View Jeff Bremer's profile

Jeff Bremer

14 posts in 984 days

#6 posted 02-21-2018 06:18 AM

Also, I have some very slight imperfections on my end joints where I joined the 2” slats to a solid mahogany end piece. Any suggestions on products to fill these cracks.

To fill the cracks, take some sanding dust and mix it with a small amount of shellac until you have the consistency of putty. Press the putty into the crack and let it dry (won’t take long), then sand. You may need to do more than one application.

A warning though, the putty will stain darker than the wood, so if the crack is in a very visible spot, you might want to experiment with sanding dust from a lighter wood.

I recently read, but haven’t tried yet, that sanding immediately after pressing the putty into the crack will help match the color to the stained wood.

Good luck!

View JP4LSU's profile


109 posts in 1035 days

#7 posted 02-21-2018 01:02 PM

Clear shellac will add a light yellow tint. Something like General Finishes High Performance water based top coat is perfectly clear, or at least as close to perfectly clear as possible.


- bbasiaga

+1 on General Finishes. I used a water based exterior finish on a front door that I stripped the stain off of. It didn’t darken the wood at all and if there are repairs needed, just sand it a little and put another coat on.

I’m really liking the finish on the door. If I’m not using a Danish or Tung oil on a piece I would consider these products.

View bondogaposis's profile


5876 posts in 3239 days

#8 posted 02-21-2018 02:00 PM

Both cherry and mahogany will darken over time as their natural patina develops, so I think your efforts to keep it light will be futile. In that sense I don’t think it matters what type of finish you use.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View sras's profile


5601 posts in 4017 days

#9 posted 02-21-2018 02:25 PM

If you want to keep the wood in the original color the best solution I know of is a high end marine finish. It is a 2 part linear polyurethane. Perfectly clear and the highest UV blocking rating I have seen. The UV blocking slows the natural darkening of woods like cherry & mahogany. Downside – it’s expensive!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

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