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Forum topic by Austin6 posted 03-07-2021 02:07 AM 313 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Austin6

38 posts in 238 days


03-07-2021 02:07 AM

Hello,

I am afraid of contradicting myself in the same sentence but I am hoping to get some help. I have a bunch of quartersawn sycamore that I am going to make a dining table out of. My question is, is there a good finish that makes the color slightly darker and more vibrant without staunchly changing the natural look of sycamore? I love the figure of sycamore but I prefer just a hair darker than what it is naturally so I wanted to know if there was a good, durable finish that provided that.

Thanks,
Austin


6 replies so far

View Walker's profile

Walker

464 posts in 1527 days


#1 posted 03-07-2021 04:58 AM

The various iterations of Danish Oil seem to be the “Least noticeable” finish. My favorite is Tried and True brand. For a dining table though, I think many folks look to polyurethane because it’s extra durable to combat plates and forks and such. Poly is also a good choice for heat, like putting a hot pan or cup of coffee down on the table.

-- ~Walker

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Sark

404 posts in 1416 days


#2 posted 03-07-2021 06:25 AM

Gloss or sheen is a key factor in the “noticeable” category. A second factor is thickness. So the most noticeable is a high gloss finish that’s very thick, like a bar-top finish. At the opposite end is a matte-finish Danish Oil, as Walker suggests, that is wiped-on and wiped off. Such wipe-on finishes go on very thin, and that ‘see only the wood look’ somewhat defines Danish modern furniture.

Amber colored finishes will impart some warm tones to the wood. If you to shift the color a bit more, and make it more vibrant, than I would suggest that you try a wash coat with shellac which will make the wood a lot more vibrant and impart a tone depending on the type of shellac. Shellac can be stained with a dye for more color intensity.

If this were my project, I would seal/stain with shellac. Then topcoat with some wipe-on a couple coats of polyurethane for durability. And then rub out the finish to the sheen desired.

View Austin6's profile

Austin6

38 posts in 238 days


#3 posted 03-07-2021 06:35 AM



Gloss or sheen is a key factor in the “noticeable” category. A second factor is thickness. So the most noticeable is a high gloss finish that’s very thick, like a bar-top finish. At the opposite end is a matte-finish Danish Oil, as Walker suggests, that is wiped-on and wiped off. Such wipe-on finishes go on very thin, and that ‘see only the wood look’ somewhat defines Danish modern furniture.

Amber colored finishes will impart some warm tones to the wood. If you to shift the color a bit more, and make it more vibrant, than I would suggest that you try a wash coat with shellac which will make the wood a lot more vibrant and impart a tone depending on the type of shellac. Shellac can be stained with a dye for more color intensity.

If this were my project, I would seal/stain with shellac. Then topcoat with some wipe-on a couple coats of polyurethane for durability. And then rub out the finish to the sheen desired.

- Sark


Perfect answer, thank you so much!

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

6932 posts in 2443 days


#4 posted 03-07-2021 02:41 PM

I am also a fan of Tried and True finishes, especially their varnish oil. It will pop the grain and it has just enough varnish to impart a little protection but does not give a heavy sheen that can make other varnishes look like plastic. It is one of most natural looking finishes I have tried. It builds slowly so for a table top, I would probably put at least 5 or 6 coats on it.

BTW, it you do find that whatever finish you choose is too glossy, you can usually tone the gloss down by applying a paste wax with a 0000 steel wool or abrasive pad.

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

View LesB's profile

LesB

2956 posts in 4498 days


#5 posted 03-07-2021 06:33 PM

Basic mantra for finishing is TEST, TEST, and TEST again.

I have made a number of things with Sycamore and strangely some of it tends to turn quite dark when I apply a finish. I would definitely not recommend any oil finish. Danish oil is primarily a blend of BLO and or Tung oil and various driers (heavy metals) to speed up the curing.
Your best option is probably a water based varathane. It has no color of it’s own. Based on my experience the water based varathane will darken the wood when applied but then lighten up some as it dries. Test it because I have had some pieces stay rather dark….can’t explain why there is a difference between the different pieces of Sycamore I have worked with.
Because Sycamore tends to be so absorbent you might want to seal it first with a clear de-waxed Shellac…Zinssers Seal Coat is a clear 2# cut de-waxed shellac. The shellac will dry quickly then and lightly and apply the top coat. Shellac is not recommended as the final finish because it does not stand up to water or alcohol (or ammonia). You can clean your shellac brushes with household ammonia and water. As I mull this over in my mind I’m thinking that the shellac sealer might be your best option…but test it first.

Also Sycamore can be a little soft for use on a table top so I would recommend a hard finish for durability and again a water based varathane is a good option, especially the “floor grade” ones. I have used it for that purpose and it is very durable. I also used on wood stairs where it is holding up well.

-- Les B, Oregon

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

7493 posts in 1629 days


#6 posted 03-08-2021 03:48 AM

Any “oil” finish will do what you don’t want it to if applied directly to the wood.

Take some scraps and try something along the lines of a “Platinum, or super clear” Shellac. Do 2 or 3 good coats on some scrap, and see if you like the look.

If it’s right use that, and on top you can put a more durable Poly type finish, if you need the durability. I would stay off Oils, and use a water based poly.

-- Think safe, be safe

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