I'm working on a table, made of jatoba (brazilian cherry) and flame maple.
Anyone have any advice on finishing jatoba? I want something that will
highlight the flame figure in the maple top, and give the jatoba a nice
glow. Is tung oil a good choice? Is the jatoba too dense to absorb it
Here's some pics of the table thus far:
On the one thing I've done with Jatoba so far (simple shaker-pegged
entry hooks for coats), I used Moser's Danish Oil. I did have to
monitor as the oil was curing to remove any bleeding of the finish since
brazillian cherry is so porous. I suspect tung oil would work just as
Now I'm pondering using a tung oil varnish or perhaps shellac... I want to
get a 'deep shine' sort of finish on the top. Shellac seems like a pain
to work with, but I'd like to learn about it... Rockhard tabletop varnish
seems like perhaps a good choice also?
Trying to decide so I can go to highland tomorrow :)
On Mon, 26 Jan 2004 02:10:06 +0000, Mark & Juanita wrote:
Neither shellac nor Tried & True are difficult to use, but you the results
are going to be quite different (he states, with deft command of the
When you go to Highland, pick up the 'shellac starter kit', super blond
dewaxed flake in an easy to use jar, and a small container of denatured
alcohol. And get a quart of Tried & True Danish oil. Not the one with
beeswax. (That's good too, but not necessarily for THIS method.)
Then, when you return to the computer, or maybe before you go, search
Google for "shellac" + "Paddy", and get O'Deen's simplified instructions
for padding on shellac. They are classic in their simplicity and
effectiveness (Thanks, Paddy!)
You can easily use both finishes, but the key is to try it out on scrap,
and, most of all, BE PATIENT! These things change in character over time
and temperature. What looks great after 1 hour will be different in 4, and
will look different yet in a week.
But then, hey, you spent all that time and money on the gorgeous maple &
jatoba. And the design and construction. You don't want to screw it up now.
Patriarch, who has more cans of stuff on his shelf than he likes to admit,
but ruins fewer projects at the finishing stages these days.
Thanks, this is exactly what I was hoping to hear :) I took the clamps
and the tape off the carcase this morning, and this is the tightest,
squarest, and most solid piece of work I've ever done, so I am indeed
wanting to avoid screwing it up at this point! I have some scraps of
jatoba and maple that I'll do test runs of the finish on. I had been
leaning toward the Tried & True linseed oil varnish, but, cost permitting,
I'll grab the danish oil and the shellac kit instead. I was also thinking
about picking up a felt block and some pumice and rottenstone and try the
whole hand rubbed thing, but I've read that it's really easy to leave
witness marks and uglify my project, should I try another method for my
first neanderfinishing project?
I'm not your source on rubbing finishes out, but there are folks who hang
out here who are. When I get the shellac coats looking like I expect them
to, then I leave it a week or more, and give it a coat or two of Briwax
clear. Suit yourself, or your client.
Learning to do the finishing part is harder for me than the design and
construction of the piece, probably because of the way I think. Never
could seem to get the practicality of chemistry down in college, although I
excelled at the theory. Ended up in economics, where the theory was all
there was, because in practice, most of the answers to economics questions
are politics and human behavior. OK, back to woodworking...
I now build small, relatively simple boxes, made of woods that interest me.
These are the test beds for new-to-me finishing methods. I quickly lose
interest in working on scrap, just to see what the method may reveal.
These get given away to folks who admire what I'm doing, and I got to
practice the techniques. Those that are really ugly end up in the
Have fun with your tables, and be certain to post progress pictures. Enjoy
I prodded the folks at Highland for advice, and was steered toward Minwax
Antique Oil and a premixed shellac to play around with. I put three coats
of the oil on, and three coats of shellac, and so far it's looking
stunning. I plan to let the shellac cure for two days, then sand smooth
at 400 grit, then go at it with the shellac again.
Here's some pics for your amusement. Note, the legs aren't lighter than
the aprons like they appear in the picture, and the top that is in this
picture isnt going to be used. I'm not happy with how it came out, so I
didn't sand it all the way smooth (and my nicked up planer knives left
horrid streaks in it). I finished it along with the carcase so I can get
an idea of what to expect with the one I remake.
Nothing at all... that's part of the reason I want to remake it. I'm
trying to figure out a way to make a flush panel that allows for expansion
without there being a gap between the panel and the frame.
The maple panel is glued up from two 5" pieces, and it's thin, about 5/16"
On Wed, 28 Jan 2004 07:39:05 -0700, Alan Bierbaum wrote:
I have tried a few different finishes on jatoba and the one I like best is a
few coats of Tried & True Varnish Oil (Danish Oil should be similar) and a
coat of wax. Four out of five people that have seen it agree. That would
be my Father, Mother, sister, brother and some guy I never met.
The oil really brings out the figure and gives it a richer look. The
smoother you sand it, the better it looks.
I recently made a mallet for my shop with a Jatoba head and a maple handle.
For a finish, I used a mixture of boiled linseed oil, varnish and turpentine
to thin it. It really brought out the grain in the wood, and the finish
isn't like shellac which might crack or flake during use (after all, it is a
mallet). The oil brought out the reddish brown colour of the jatoba. If
you want me to send you a couple of pics, email me.
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