Need finish advice/help for Mahogany wood

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Forum topic by Dan posted 08-26-2010 06:35 PM 5141 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Dan's profile


3653 posts in 3390 days

08-26-2010 06:35 PM

I am sure this has been asked before but I thought it would be easier to ask again rather then search for older post.

Last weekend I discovered some really nice thick blocks of Mahogany wood in my storage shed. I re-sawed some of the blocks into thinner boards and am building some smaller boxes with it. I am still a bit green when it comes to wood working and I am very green when it comes to finishing wood. I had never worked with Mahogany before and I would like to know what some options are for the best finish for my boxes.

I would like to know what the best natural wood finish would be and best way to apply it. I am looking for a very fine gloss like finish that will make these boxes shine and stand out.

I want to leave natural for now but I am also considering a stain to darken the wood. If I decide to stain some of the boxes what would the best stain be to darken the wood? Also would need to know best way to apply and all of that.

I am a great painter when it comes to water based interior paint. However I don’t know much at all about wood finishes so its a bit of a change from what I am used to.

One more thing, if you leave me some advice on a finish can you also give me best advice on what I should use to apply the finish and how to clean the brush if I use one. I made the mistake of using my expensive painters brushes to apply some wood finishes and I just couldn’t seem to get the brushes clean. I even cleaned with Mineral spirits as directed and the brush just didn’t clean well. I am sure I did it the wrong way.

Thanks for any help!

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

3 replies so far

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1520 posts in 4635 days

#1 posted 08-26-2010 11:53 PM

There was a Fine Woodworking article last summer that helped me along on this. I’m not sure if I can find it right now, I’ll try to dig it out, but here’s what I did for my kitchen cabinet door panels:

Mahogany is open grained enough that even though I was going for a matte finish, I had a several step process:

1. Sand to 220.
2. Seal it with a thinned dewaxed shellac (ie: Zinnser SealCote cut down with some alcohol).
3. Fill it with a tinted pore filler. I used the Behlens mostly silica filler with Burnt Umber oil paint added. Make sure you test on a piece of scrap, and you may need a few other colors to match it well; the original article also suggested a mixing in another brown oil paint that was slightly yellower than the Burnt Umber, I found that Burnt Umber worked really well. Apply the pore filler with a plastic squeegee (I cut mine from some yoghurt containers) across the grain, don’t worry if you’ve got lots of bits of pore filler on the board yet.
4. Let it dry for about an hour, then wipe it off with a square folded rag (I think the original article used folded cheesecloth), across the grain.
5. Let that dry thoroughly, then apply a polyurethane. I used a hand-rubbed Minwax or something similar.
6. Sand that gently (by hand) with 320, put on another coat.
7. Sand that gently to 400, put on another coat.
8. Put on another coat.

The original article used a sprayed lacquer at step 5 and probably used a different sanding strategy, which I think you’d want for the high gloss.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View wisno's profile


88 posts in 3521 days

#2 posted 08-31-2010 08:07 AM

Can You do spray application?
if you can do spray application, there lot of choice to finish the mahogany wood. A dye stain is good choice for staining the mahogany wood since it will give you the bright and nice color. You can also use glaze to make more deep and rich color for your finish.
You better try your finish system in a piece of wood panel to make sure you already get the finishing looked and color you want.

Mahogany wood for furniture
Good luck



View Jonnyfurniture's profile


59 posts in 3337 days

#3 posted 08-31-2010 09:34 AM

You might consider trying some aerosol dyes and lacquers from Behlen or mohawk. You could also go one step further and nail up a box to practice spraying inside as the color can build fast if you lap too many times.

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