finish for antique factory cart

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Forum topic by weldoman posted 06-17-2015 02:10 PM 1024 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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114 posts in 2510 days

06-17-2015 02:10 PM

Just finished completion of my latest factory cart restoration and I’m looking for the right finish for the wood. It’s hard maple about 100 yrs old. I’ve got the color I want, just want to add a rich look. I applied a homade danish oil but it turned out way to dark so I sanded it off. I’ve also tried poly and wipe-on poly on others but didn’t like the look or color. I get my best results from just paste wax but it needs to be applied monthly or so. I’d like to find something more permanent.

Any ideas would be appreciated, Thanks.

-- missouri, dave

11 replies so far

View jumbojack's profile


1689 posts in 3076 days

#1 posted 06-17-2015 02:26 PM

REAL tung oil.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View Earlextech's profile


1162 posts in 3143 days

#2 posted 06-17-2015 02:40 PM

If it’s just decorative, sitting in a corner with a plant an couple of books on it, I would go shellac. If it’s used as a cart, I like the “real” Tung oil idea too!

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "Finished"!

View weldoman's profile


114 posts in 2510 days

#3 posted 06-17-2015 03:04 PM

Chances are this cart will end up as a coffee table. I don’t have any experience with shellac or tung oil. Is there a brand name or two that you would recommend? I’ve got a good lumber yard close and a Lowes within 10 miles.

-- missouri, dave

View chrisstef's profile


17941 posts in 3459 days

#4 posted 06-17-2015 03:39 PM

Id like to see an amber shellac on it personally but tung oil will be an easier finish for sure. You may run the risk of it yellowing a bit on ya with tung oil or any other oil at that.

The oil wont give you any protection of the surface. Shelllac (dewaxed) will give you a bit of protection but its susceptible to alcohol spills. A coat of Danish oil followed by a few coats of arm r seal would be my choice if you think its going to get beat on and used heavily. Bulls Eye Shellac can be had at Lowe’s.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View weldoman's profile


114 posts in 2510 days

#5 posted 06-17-2015 04:21 PM

Yea, I’m trying to get away from the amber/ yellow color I get from poly. Just want a clear, rich finish. Not too worried about heavy protection and I don’t want shiny. So which one should I experiment with?

Thanks for your replies.

-- missouri, dave

View chrisstef's profile


17941 posts in 3459 days

#6 posted 06-17-2015 06:42 PM

Water based poly is probably your choice if you don’t want any yellowing. Maybe lacquer, but ive never used it personally.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5216 posts in 4413 days

#7 posted 06-17-2015 08:45 PM

Watco Natural.

-- [email protected]

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 2459 days

#8 posted 06-17-2015 09:07 PM

Clear lacquer maybe. Comes in different sheens if you dont like the real shiny finish

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View AandCstyle's profile


3216 posts in 2709 days

#9 posted 06-17-2015 09:15 PM

I agree with chrisstef and would use water borne poly. If you choose to use a water borne lacquer I would suggest adding a cross linker to make the finish bullet proof. FWIW

-- Art

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2814 days

#10 posted 06-17-2015 09:57 PM

Waterborne poly floor finish…Bona Mega.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View Rikard's profile


5 posts in 1526 days

#11 posted 06-18-2015 06:33 AM

Equal parts: Turpentine, boiled linseed oil, shellac. By weight or if experienced, by eye. It produces a beautiful luster, it penetrates and is long lasting.

You may substitute bee’s wax in place of the shellac. Experiment on scraps until satisfied.

Perhaps this finish is no secret but I learned it from an old timer. My grandpa, himself a long time furniture builder, told me the same thing.

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