Walnut finishing

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I am about to finish up a walnut double pedestal desk with raised panels. My plan for finishing is to fill, stain and finish. The top will be polyurethane and the base shellac. In the past I have not put this much time and money into a project and don't want to mess it up. Does this finishing plan sound OK. Any suggestions for brand to use or ways to do it would be helpful.
Thanks,
ED
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Ed, I think I would not stain the walnut.
My personal preference is to not fill the grain and let the surface show the natural grain texture. My preferred finish is General Finishes Arm-R-Seal or Bartleys Gel Varnish.

it
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Varnish.
I am staining a project with Bartleys gel varnish and will have to buy some varnish anyhow, so maybe I will try their gel varnish also.
I have found that the stain takes a certain amount of work to get the excess off. Is the gel varnish like that also, or is it easier to apply? A wipe-on polyurethane is the easiest thing in the world; how does the gel varnish compare?
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some
excess
Well, I've used the Bartley Gel Varnish on two projects now, and from my experience, you can throw the directions on the can out the window. I happen to be taking woodworking classes at a place here in Chicago that does custom woodwork and their experience is the same as mine. Their method of use is to apply the varnish in small areas and then rub with a paper towel until dry. Repeat 10 or 20 times. It worked great for me, as I could never keep rag marks off the surface the way the instructions say. Obviously, the build is slower, but the results are easier to obtain, IMHO.
todd
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some
excess
With the Bartley Gel stain and the varnish, you wipe it on and "IMMEDIATELY" wipe it off. Do not apply more than a square foot or two before wiping. Also the product should have the consistency of Vaseline. If it is any thicker it is probably old and the product tends to be harder to wipe off. If you are having a difficult time wiping it off you may be waiting too long to remove the excess. If you have smudges, simply reapply more in the same spot and wipe. I have been using Bartleys since the 80's and it works great once you learn to work fast and not let it set too long between application and wiping off.
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I found this method of wet sanding using spar varnish on fine woodworking.
http://www.taunton.com/finewoodworking/pages/w00117.asp
I've tried it on walnut and it does a real nice job.
Rick
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I'm not saying it won't work but it isn't a finishing schedule I'd follow.
In the first place, if I wanted something to look like walnut and had spent the money to by actual walnut I sure would not be planning on stain.
Mixing finishes will probably give you an obvious mismatch to start with and almost certainly will as the piece ages.
My opinion about walnut is that it was especially created to be oiled and waxed. I'd use a Danish or Varnish oil, natural. If I wanted to darken things a bit I'd use a dark or antiqueing wax. I'd use a desk pad or glass on the desk top. Note, I'd use either/or even if I were to, not that it would happen, poly the surface.
The really nice thing about all that is that since you are not filling, staining, or building a surface finish it's almost impossible to screw up the finish.
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Why would you use walnut if you're goint to stain it?
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forth from the murky depths:

...or poly it, or fill the lovely pores with plain face dust?
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"Ed Clark" wrote in message

it
No stain, hand rubbed oil/varnish finish on walnut is beautiful, IMO.
And in the future, you only have to take the necessary care that the wood rightly deserves in the first place.
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Better check with your local authorities. In many states it is illegal to use anything but tung oil on Walnut. Should be a federal statute, but the feds tend to move slowly.
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it
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How about a splendid recipe of watco oil, polyurethane and mineral spirits. Wipe on, wet sand, repeat with with as many coats as you can stand (I usually get tired at 6 coats). Apply wax, buff, stare at the beauty. SH
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forth from the murky depths:

Muddy walnut wrapped in poly doesn't even come close to resembling any beauty I've ever seen, suh.
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To be fair, the previous poster described a wiping mix with oil, poly and solvent, which is too far removed from a mix I've used with good success. Mine uses BLO, turps and spar varnish in roughly equal proportions. (Of course I don't wetsand it; I use my trusty planes for the final surface.)
You can see an example of it on a walnut flybox that I made last year:
http://uweb.txstate.edu/~cv01/flybox01.jpg
Chuck Vance
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On 21 Apr 2004 05:12:48 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@swt.edu (Conan the Librarian) brought forth from the murky depths:

Waterlox is the commercial equivalent I use. Tung, BLO, solvent, and oil-based varnish. Goes on thin and smooth, dries quickly, stinks less than Watco, and is more "protection" than 99% of projects need. Lovely stuff, that. Are you saving any money by mixing your own? ($35/gal from Russ @ www.woodfinishingsupplies.com) Now that I have larger projects in the works, I need to order a gallon. This quart is going to go much more quickly than my last. (More good news, eh?)

Two much better ploys, for sure. Wetsanding is too much like painting AFAIC. I'd love to see someone mask a walnut project, wetsand half and just scrape/finish the other half, then take a picture.
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I'm always looking for an easier method. Being the new dog I am. Which sheen do you use? SH
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forth from the murky depths:

I degloss any of them, but have used the satin and medium sheens. I like the medium sheen better because a bit less deglossing is required. I love Waterlox for several reasons:
1) you can wipe it on with an old sock and it looks GREAT. 2) the oil pops the grain and gives a minimal amber hue. 3) the varnish provides a good skin. 4) both tung oil and varnish are tough. 5) it denibs/sands easily and touches up in minutes. 6) it stinks less/is safer than Watco's metal driers.
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On Wed, 21 Apr 2004 19:01:45 -0700, Larry Jaques

I agree Larry. If the material is not going to be exposed to water or alcohol, and I want a high gloss, I'll quickly throw on 3 coast of 2# shellac and rub it out. I could do the sam with a couple more coast of Waterlox, but the shellac dries faster. Cape Cod Bob Visit my web site at http://home.comcast.net/~bobmethelis Delete the two "spam"s for email
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On Fri, 23 Apr 2004 00:04:16 -0400, Cape Cod Bob

Right, 15 instead of 30 minutes.
But I never put on more than one coat a day (after the first two, a sealer and first coat) so it really doesn't matter what I use. I learned very early on to NEVER rush a finish. It just flat does NOT work. Warm, ventilated work area, a minimum of a day to dry, low hummerditty, etc.
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I'm probably not saving much at all. (Spar is ~$15/qt., BLO is ~$4/qt. and turps is ~$7.) But my finishing schedule involves starting off with a mix that's mostly turps and BLO for the first coat, and then increasing the proportion of varnish to get the build I want. By mixing my own I'm in control of the proportions.

I hear rumors that you are actually finishing some projects these days. Could that be true?

A totally different look, for sure. But I imagine some folks like the filled-pore look (not me).
Chuck Vance
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