Wormy Chestnut Mantle

  • Advertise with us

« back to Finishing forum

Forum topic by scamay posted 04-05-2018 02:51 PM 1054 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View scamay's profile


3 posts in 662 days

04-05-2018 02:51 PM

My husband recently stripped our mantle to remove several coats of paint. The wood is wormy chestnut, and we think the original mantle was stained blue (our walls are also wormy chestnut with a blue stain). We don’t mind the remaining blue, as it will tie in with the walls, but can’t decide what to use for a finish. I have been reading up on tung oil, boiled linseed oil, danish oil, and tung oil varnish. Any recommendations for this project?
Since it’s a mantle, I’m not sure we need high-protection, but I am concerned about avoiding anything that is flammable. Also, I would prefer something that is easier to apply and has less fumes, as we will be applying this inside our home (and not removing the mantle for finishing) and need to work around stone and other wood. Thanks for your input!

9 replies so far

View bondogaposis's profile


5610 posts in 2962 days

#1 posted 04-05-2018 03:46 PM

but I am concerned about avoiding anything that is flammable

Wood is flammable?

-- Bondo Gaposis

View scamay's profile


3 posts in 662 days

#2 posted 04-05-2018 04:02 PM

Yes, of course. I suppose a better way to put it is is that the mantle is above a wood burning insert, so I would like to keep that in mind when selecting a finish.

but I am concerned about avoiding anything that is flammable

Wood is flammable?

- bondogaposis

View RobHannon's profile


330 posts in 1141 days

#3 posted 04-05-2018 04:13 PM

Once cured, all of the suggestions you listed should be safe for a fireplace mantle. I wouldn’t apply them, or any finish, with a fire going before they are fully cured.

Since you are going with a aged rustic look a wax or shellac finish may look nice. Do you know what is on the walls that match?

View bondogaposis's profile


5610 posts in 2962 days

#4 posted 04-05-2018 04:22 PM

The flammable part of any finish are the solvents, once they evaporate, the finish itself is no more flammable then the wood itself. If you are going to finish the mantle in place then, obviously don’t do it while you have a fire going, after 24 hours all should be good.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View scamay's profile


3 posts in 662 days

#5 posted 04-05-2018 04:32 PM

Thanks to you both for your replies. The walls are stained a blue/teal color (see below photo). I think I would like to darken the mantle a bit, without getting it too dark. Ideally, a medium brown. Would an oil be better to bring out some color?

View bilyo's profile


962 posts in 1713 days

#6 posted 04-07-2018 02:57 PM

The first thing that comes to mind for ease of application and suitable durability is original Waterlox. It has been a while since I used it and I don’t recall exactly how much odor it had. As with most finishes, it would be a good idea to apply the finish at a time when you can open and ventilate your house. Maybe someone else can address that. However, I think Waterlox would be a good finish for your mantle. I know it is commonly use for interior projects like floors. I have had good results on furniture pieces.

View ClammyBallz's profile


449 posts in 1747 days

#7 posted 04-09-2018 06:59 PM

I would suggest using the Waterlox since it can be simply wiped on. However, the odor takes several weeks to dissipate. I used in on my oak floors 15 years ago and it’s still holding up.

If smell is an issue, the other option is a couple coats of thinned shellac wiped on, sand back and then coat with a water based poly.

View OSU55's profile


2511 posts in 2600 days

#8 posted 04-10-2018 08:55 PM

A simple wipe on finish will retain the rustic look and provide protection. I would use minwax oil based poly thinned 1:1 with mineral spirits, get it on and keep it wet for 10 min or so, wipe it off. 3 coats done this way is plenty. Wait a couple hours between coats. No sanding reqd between coats since it is being wiped off and you dont give enough time to start curing. Either satin or semi gloss. If you want more film thickness add coats following wipe on ply instructions you can find on the net. If you want more color, use a WD Lockwood oil based dye, dissolved with naptha and then mixed into the poly. This info up may help.

View MNgary's profile


313 posts in 3028 days

#9 posted 04-11-2018 06:58 PM

I would use Minwax Antique Oil. If you want to darken the project, mix in a small amount of oil-based stain and try it on a test piece of wood. Easy to apply, marvelous look after just 2 or 3 coats, and penetrates for lasting protection. It’s been my go-to finish for many many projects and my clients have never been disappointed.

-- I dream of a world where a duck can cross the road and no one asks why.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics