Mission style oak and pore filler

Hi,
After weeks of collecting new power toys, er, tools, and buying wood, I'm up to my elbows in red oak shavings. Starting to think about finishing, and will try to match my coffee table to the other pieces we purchased a few years ago. Looks like a Watco kind of finish will do it, though the purchased pieces do have a lacquer coating. Since these pieces are from Lazy Boy, I'm betting they are NOT fumed . . .
Question: How important is the pore filler? I use it on my rosewood guitars, but I think the "mission style" might look nice and woody if the pores were left open. Has anyone made an un-filled table top? Did you like it? If I filled the top only, and left the sides, etc alone, would that look strikingly "unbalanced."
Thanks!
Scott
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I always use pore filler on red oak prior to applying stain. If you are not going to stain the oak, the pore filler is optional in my thinking.
Stain can suck up into the pores of red oak and bleed out causing freckling. DAMIKT

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I've been dyeing all of the red oak projects. Never used a pore filler. But - no, I'm not especially thrilled with it and am thinking I should have.
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I personally do not like a surface finish on an open pored wood but, then again, I don't like Latte either and prefer real coffee..
However, if you are contemplating a Watco oil finish it is a moot point You don't fill the pores when using an oil finish. It kind of defeats the purpose of using an oil, which is getting a warm soft luster and maintaining the feel of the natural wood. Open pores and all.
--
Mike G.
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Snip

Not important. Your surface will not be as smooth but it is not necessary. As mentioned by Lowell, some stains may wick back out of the pores if you use stain. I have never had that problem with the thicker stains and or gel stains.
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Scott,
There are many advocates for both filling and not filling and one of our more contemporary finishing artists, Jeff Jewitt has a mission finish article on his Homestead Finishing Products website. If you were to use Quarter Sawn White oak on your mission projects as the originals are made from, the grain is tight enough that you would usually not want to use any filler. I have never used it and have been pleased with the various stains top coats I have used on my mission projects.
Good Luck,
Dennis Slabaugh, Hobbyist Woodworker www.woodworkinghobby.com

necessary.
gel
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I'd try a board both ways and see what you like. A coat of pore filler (I use pore-o-pac) doesn't leave the surface completely smooth, but it helps quite a bit. I personally like to see the wood, but don't like the uneven shine on the table top.
I've done a couple of pieces with pore filler on the top only and not filling the sides looks fine. Unless it is a large area on the side, or you are going for a super high gloss top, the difference isn't as noticable on the vertical pieces, especially on the normally thing vertical pieces on a mission piece.
disclaimer: I am refering to flatsawn red oak. quarter or riftsawn may not need the pore filler for the look you are going for.
jim
snipped-for-privacy@att.net (Scott) wrote in

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snipped-for-privacy@att.net (Scott) wrote in

In our family, red oak was the furniture style we gravitated to in the 70's. It survived raising 4 sons, with all of their friends, cousins, sports teams and scouting units. We never wanted to worry that much about the furniture to have 'fancy' stuff. Red oak was tough, and affordable. Now I'm building new stuff, as I get the time and skills, and the 'experienced' furniture slowly migrates to the boys' homes. All in the proper order of things.
One look that isn't necessarily authentic, but suits our family's tastes, involves an oil finish to color and warm the red oak to the tone you want, and then, after a suitable curing period, wiping on a number of coats of dewaxed blond shellac. When the shellac is cured, I rub on a coat or two of Briwax clear, or something similar, with white synthetic steel wool.
It doesn't have the durability of poly, or some of the tougher finishes, but it still looks and feels like wood. More importantly, the methods suit my limited, but growing skills. They also look good with red oak, which isn't the easiest wood to finish well. And these methods don't shut down my garage, er, 'studio' for long periods of time while curing.
I've done four or five small tables & desks this way, plus some display/work furniture for my wife's quilting addiction, er, hobby.
Have fun with this table project. May many more follow.
Patriarch
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Thanks all for the tips.

NOW you tell me! ;>)

Yes, I have a list ready to go: computer desk, then night stands, then bed, then . . . Something about a "mission style" computer desk strikes me as odd, but I'm gonna do it anyways!
Cheers,
Scott
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