Finish for reclaimed oak

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Forum topic by RobHannon posted 12-16-2019 02:36 PM 487 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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347 posts in 1812 days

12-16-2019 02:36 PM

Topic tags/keywords: oak reclaimed wax shellac blo blotchy

Building a couple wine racks out of old reclaimed red oak flooring. Between old finish, wood filler, and glue squeeze out I am confident that anything I put on this has a good chance of looking blotchy. I don’t particularly want to stain or change the color or the wood, but I do want to seal it and hopefully keep the tannins from blackening over time. Here are the different ideas I have for it.

Paste Wax

Any of these sound better than the others for this application? Leaning towards the wax route right now.

4 replies so far

View GrantA's profile


3164 posts in 2689 days

#1 posted 12-16-2019 03:28 PM

Look at the desk in my projects, the top is red oak, I did stain it though but if it had patina already I’d skip that. Then shellac and special dark paste wax

View sansoo22's profile


1871 posts in 936 days

#2 posted 12-16-2019 03:36 PM

I second the shellac and special dark paste wax. I’ve done a couple small projects with reclaimed old grove heart pine flooring planks and those are the finishes i used.

The pine has darkened a bit over time but some of the patina had to be taken off to make smooth surfaces. Most of the flooring board were cupped. But its pine so i expected it to darken as pine does.

The special dark really brought out the character of all the nicks and scratches. Even the parts I had to flatten still had marks show up. I went heavy on the special dark to fill in all those marks and wiped the excess layer off. Then let i harden and buffed it.

View Lazyman's profile


8193 posts in 2669 days

#3 posted 12-16-2019 04:09 PM

Tannins should only blacken if there is iron and moisture in contact with the wood.

The type of finish you use depends upon the look you want. The shellac will give you a sheen, while the BLO, will give you a more natural wood finish. I have added paste wax on top of Shellac to tone down the sheen a bit. I don’t think that you want to use just a paste wax without some other type of finish applied first. IMO it probably won’t look like it is finished.

Personally, I like Tried and True Varnish oil. It is basically a heat treated BLO with resin varnish that provides some additional protection without adding too much sheen. Tried and True also has a BLO with wax in it instead of the resin.

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

View RobHannon's profile


347 posts in 1812 days

#4 posted 12-22-2019 03:30 PM

Showed all the options on test pieces to the wife. The wine rack is for her parents so makes sense for her to pick. None of my local stores had dark wax so all the options had very similar color just different sheen. Ended up going with straight BLO. Not a perfect finish but I wasn’t expecting it to be without significantly more prep work.

My youngest helper was very interested in the wood burning.

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