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Walnut Natural Finish

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Forum topic by awhit22 posted 04-17-2019 12:27 PM 529 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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awhit22

4 posts in 32 days


04-17-2019 12:27 PM

Hello,

First time posting to this forum. I’m building a farmhouse type kitchen dining table. Top is made of Walnut. Trying to figure out how to finish. My wife loves the colder grey tone of the wood and would like to keep that as much as possible. She doesn’t want the darker brown or red-ish finish. From what I’ve read the only way to keep the color as much like the gray as possible is to use a water-white or clear water based type finish.

Few questions:

Is it a mistake to use a water based laquer or finish for a kitchen table – I have young children?
I have read about Sherwin-Williams CAB-Acrylic Laquer being very good at keeping color, but I can’t figure out how to purchase. Can’t find on their website. Is there another suggest brand or other option?
Would I need to use a top coat with this?
Is there a better way?

To be fair, this is my first table so I’m learning as I go.

Thanks in Advance.

-Adam


20 replies so far

View laterthanuthink's profile

laterthanuthink

37 posts in 487 days


#1 posted 04-17-2019 01:26 PM

I recommend waterlox. I’ve used it on my walnut projects. Not sure if it achieves the grey tone, that’s new to me. I was after the traditional walnut look and it is beautiful and easy to apply and repair.

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

3323 posts in 1745 days


#2 posted 04-17-2019 01:29 PM

The water based finishes will generally have less warm appearance but walnut will naturally darken and redden some with age so it may be inevitable. Just try it on a piece of scrap or the bottom of the table top to see how it looks. I’ve never used a lacquer finish on anything that large so I would probably go with a water based polyurethane instead of the lacquer. Poly will give you a nice tough finish. I finished my breakfast table and chairs with an oil based poly finish over 25 years ago and they have held up well. Even buckles from sitting on their sandals on the chairs when they were little only left slight scratches in the seats.

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

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Robert

3367 posts in 1838 days


#3 posted 04-17-2019 02:25 PM

I used the conversion varnish from Target Coatings. EM8000.

It is water based, but really needs to be sprayed.

I sealed it with a couple coats of dewaxed shellac first.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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SMP

820 posts in 263 days


#4 posted 04-17-2019 03:08 PM

I’m no quite sure what you mean by colder grey tone…do you have any pics? Are you using mostly sapwood? Minwax polycrylic will just make it look “wetter” and won’t yellow.

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awhit22

4 posts in 32 days


#5 posted 04-17-2019 03:32 PM

Thanks to those who have already replied.

Perhaps I don’t really know what I’m talking about. :) Which wouldn’t hurt my feelings if that’s true.

The raw unfinished wood today has more of a grey undertone. Although having snapped a couple photos, I’m seeing a bit more red in the wood already. My wife was hoping to keep a more natural look of unfinished, but still be able to protect it. She likes the look of the cooler look vs the warmer red/brown you get when applying oil based products. I have tried on a few scrap pieces. Everything is coming out VERY brown or red. I’ve tried two different Danish Oils on different sections, and just a clear poly without stain on another. There’s not much difference. Even tried leaving the oils on in varying lengths of time.

Maybe what’s I’m asking for is unreasonable or not possible??

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Aj2

2191 posts in 2155 days


#6 posted 04-17-2019 04:12 PM

I don’t think it’s possible to have it both ways. Walnut mellows over time it does not get darker.
Nothing will protect wood from kids.
Pick a finish use the table and let Nature take it’s course. :)
Good luck

-- Aj

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SMP

820 posts in 263 days


#7 posted 04-17-2019 04:39 PM

So you want more of the sanded, dry look? You could do a like an annie sloan white wax, but then it would have pretty much no protection, unless you got a piece of glass cut to cover the whole top. So you are going to have a tradeoff between the look you want and the level of protection, which being a table you want kind of high.

View LesB's profile

LesB

2075 posts in 3800 days


#8 posted 04-17-2019 05:16 PM

In my experience a clear water based polyurethane will do most of the tings you are looking for.
It will slow down the natural age darkening of the wood quite a bit (unless it is exposed to direct sunlight).
It will not add any color of it’s own because it is very clear after it cures.
It will produce a tough surface (3 or more coats) to protect against scratches; especially if you get one that is a “floor” finish grade.
It is also easy to apply wither brush or spray but don’t brush it on at temperatures over about 75 degrees as it will start curing before it has time to level out. A satin finish will give more of a “natural” look. If it gets scratched over time you can sand it and apply additional coats as long as the underlying wood is not affected.

-- Les B, Oregon

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mahdee

4277 posts in 2125 days


#9 posted 04-17-2019 05:34 PM

You can try these on a piece of scrap:
-Thin acrylic dull white paint with water.
- Wipe the surface with wet cloth and let it dry.
- Sand the surface
Apply the paint and wipe off to the desired color
Apply poly after 24 hours

Another alternative is to use a liquid sealer and instead of putting a thin coat on the wood, put a thick enough coats until the wood won’t absorb it any more (may have to sand and repeat a few times). Apply poly after 24 hours. The disadvantage with this is that after a coat or two of poly, the grain will be totally covered and it will look like it is covered with plastic.

You may also experiment with bleach and water. Apply (flood), let it set for a few minutes and vacuum. Rinse and repeat.
Make sure you look really tired and pretend that you have worked very hard on these 3 methods. Show all three example to her and I bet she will pick one. :)

-- earthartandfoods.com

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awhit22

4 posts in 32 days


#10 posted 04-17-2019 09:00 PM

Thank you for the responses so far. Appreciate the help. I have some things to test.

Followup question: I have read varying topics on oil vs water based stains / top coats. Seems to be a consensus that Oil base provides better overall protection. But a couple more recent studies suggest water based products have closed the gap and are very similar now in regards to protection. In you’re opinion is there a big difference and would there be any concern if I decided to use a water based product?

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OSU55

2238 posts in 2347 days


#11 posted 04-17-2019 09:19 PM

Wb is not as tough as ob poly yet. To keep the “cold” color you will need to use wb. My pick is Target Coatings EM9000, it is water clear, a wb poly. If I remember right EM8000 yellows some but could be wrong, check their website. I havent used it but GF Hi Performance, a wb poly, is supposed to be water clear and gets hi marks. Target also sells a crosslinker to improve abrasion resistance, and I believe GF does also – use it for a dining table application. Since your wife wants a “natural” look, go with satin. Do not use any wb finish not claiming to be a poly – too soft. Best sprayed but can be brushed – foam brushes seam to get the best results.

The toughest application Ive used em9000 on was a dining table for my daughter 11 years ago. It has held up well during my grandson’s 9 yrs.

View diverlloyd's profile

diverlloyd

3464 posts in 2215 days


#12 posted 04-18-2019 12:25 AM

Minwax polycrylic satin finish. I used it on this walnut and it kept it looking unfinished and kind of rustic. Sorry for the flash in the picture.

View mahdee's profile

mahdee

4277 posts in 2125 days


#13 posted 04-18-2019 01:05 AM

Nahhhh… Water base dries a lot quicker but it won’t get the amber look oil will provide.

-- earthartandfoods.com

View SMP's profile

SMP

820 posts in 263 days


#14 posted 04-18-2019 03:02 AM

You can try these on a piece of scrap:
-Thin acrylic dull white paint with water.
- Wipe the surface with wet cloth and let it dry.
- Sand the surface
Apply the paint and wipe off to the desired color
Apply poly after 24 hours

Another alternative is to use a liquid sealer and instead of putting a thin coat on the wood, put a thick enough coats until the wood won t absorb it any more (may have to sand and repeat a few times). Apply poly after 24 hours. The disadvantage with this is that after a coat or two of poly, the grain will be totally covered and it will look like it is covered with plastic.

You may also experiment with bleach and water. Apply (flood), let it set for a few minutes and vacuum. Rinse and repeat.
Make sure you look really tired and pretend that you have worked very hard on these 3 methods. Show all three example to her and I bet she will pick one. :)

- mahdee

Related to your bleach tip i thought about a mellow lime wash like they use on oak. Walnut might work similar, something to test

View diverlloyd's profile

diverlloyd

3464 posts in 2215 days


#15 posted 04-18-2019 04:11 PM



Nahhhh… Water base dries a lot quicker but it won t get the amber look oil will provide.

- mahdee


Op wanted a grey natural look, like it is after it’s sanded. Not any darker or any more color.

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