Polishing on walnut?

Hi folks,
First of all, let me confess I'm a complete newbie to woodworking and am getting into this hobby by means of my classic car..I own this car ('61 Mercedes Benz 220SE) which has a lot of walnut wood trim in it. The wood was a bit scrubby looking and i wanted to polish this. I have taken the wood off the dashboard and sanded it till the previous polish came off and the original colour and grain can be seen. Question is, how do I proceed from here ? Do I use an oil stain, or do I use shellac or varnish? These are not large pieces, coming as they do from the dashboard and I'm looking at achieving a satin dark walnut finish....I'm sure you've heard these questions many times before on the group, so my apologies for digging up something as mundane!
Appreciate any help you can give..
Cheers Bob
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snipped-for-privacy@honeywell.com said:

Being a former part time Mercedes mechanic who enjoyed driving many 220 SL's around Roswell, GA when it was horse farms and had 3 cops, allow me to offer my opinion. Do with it what you please...
I would avoid stain unless there are bleached areas that demand "color correction". Most likely, much of the natural color of the wood will return once a finish is applied. Even stain will fade when exposed to sunlight, pigmented oil stain far less so than alcohol or water based dyes.
IMHO, Shellac would not hold up well in the interior of a car, leaving lacquer and polyurethane as the only real choices, unless you want to go with an oiled walnut look. A tung or linseed oil finish is easy to apply and repair, but will require frequent reapplication to keep the wood looking good.
Personally, with no regard for "authenticity", I would use a thinned satin wiping poly due to it's superior water and solvent resistance. Lacquer would be my second choice due to it's slightly superior appearance if properly applied.
FWIW
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DGG wrote:

Hello DGG,
thanks for the inputs! Quick question- is it possible to apply varnish over Tung oil, so that the varnish forms a protective coat over the oil? The wood is a bit bleached so i'm hoping the oil finish would give a darker coat while the varnish would protect it?
Thanks! Bob
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walnut than tung; that is how I do walnut. If the wood is exposed directly to sunlight, use an exterior varnish to gain the UV protection.
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snipped-for-privacy@honeywell.com wrote:

Note that it will be European walnut, maybe even Turkish, and not American. You don't need to do anything to the colour of it. I would however apply a light couple of coats of commercial tung-based oil finish to accentuate the figure. Don't use linseed - even on a dark timber like walnut, you'll still see yellowing with age.
The big question when refinishing car trim is how much sunlight resistance you need. If you don't (I'm in the UK), then I'd french polish it. It's nicely restorable in-situ after any minor damage. If it's a convertible in Florida, then you ought to go for something modern with higher UV resistance. Commercial wiping finishes are probably the best place to start.
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