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Thread: Best finish for ash

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2007

    Best finish for ash

    I am almost done sanding the frame and raised panels for my kitchen island. I need to match the finish on the existing cabinets which is a typical maple honey sort of finish. Very typical for track homes.

    But what I want to know is, what sort of finish is best for ash, regardless of color or tint, In terms of what the wood best absorbs and covers and so forth.

    Here is a shot of the dry fit. It actually fits perfect (although, you can see one of the rails moved before I took the shot) and I was able to sand out all the burns.

    AND, amazingly enough there was no tear out!! I was very happy since a few of the raised panels were routed against the grain. It was very hard for me to tell the grain direction of this very hard wood. But I love the grain and color of it.

    One thing that did happen, and I will post it in another forum, is that my router bit chipped half way through the routing of the panels. But that's a story for another day.

    Any way, any suggestions on the finish will be great.

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails dryfitpanels.jpg  

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    somewhere east of Queen Creek, AZ - South East of Phoenix
    The first thing I would do is take a piece of scrap and wipe it down with BLO then when the blo dries I would take an oil based poly and apply it this should get you the honey color your are looking for.

    I would like to see you results.
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    I am embarrassed to say I don't know what BLO stands for.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Vancouver Island, Courtenay/Comox Valley, British Columbia
    Boiled Linseed Oil and don't be embarrassed. I didn't know what it was either until last month.
    AKA Young Grasshopper Woodworker
    AKA The Rookie

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    LOL, thanks Cynthia!

    Does the BLO need to be sanded after it is applied and do I need to apply a certain amount of coats?

    (Obviously, not knowing what BLO stood for was not my only ignorance of BLO)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    No need to be embarrassed. We've all been in that boat at some time or another.

    I'll second Don's suggestion to test a polyurethane over BLO finish on a piece of scrap. Poly would be my suggestion for the finish, no matter how you do the coloring, but chances are the BLO/poly be pretty close for color. (The linseed oil adds an amber tint to wood, especially lighter woods like ash.) If it ends up not being a match, then I'd suggest using dyes (like Transtint liquid dye) instead of stain. It's easier to control and adjust to color with dye than it is with stain. As with the BLO though, I'd test on scrap and put a coat or two of poly over the test pieces before making any final decisions.

    Also, the test pieces should be sanded the same way the cabinets are sanded. Here again, that just helps ensure the finished piece matches the test strips.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    Think of it as oak.
    The poly should be fine. I don't do nearly as much flatwork as most guys/gals here but I just don't like putting something like poly over oils. I just have a concern that with time and exposure to temp changes, etc. the oil might try to force it's way out causing discoloration under the durable poly.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Between Aledo and Fort Worth, TX
    The more I use Waterlox, the less I like poly. It is thin, so I wipe it on, use multiple coats. No chance of brush strokes, dries quickly. No need to sand between coats if you wipe it on correctly. Hard finish that's easy to repair if need be. Doesn't keep well after opening unless you use some of the Bloxygen inert gas to keep oxygen out of the can so it doesn't skim over. I was going to use poly on the 17 Irish Setter cutouts I'm doing for decorating the Agility jumps at our National Specialty next month, but decided to use my Waterlox instead. 3 coats front and back so far, 4 on the edges, 2 more on the faces to go. Glad I decided to go this route. Jim.
    Coolmeadow Setters...
    Exclusively Irish!
    Home of Irish Setter Rescue of North Texas
    When Irish Eyes are smiling, they're usually up to something!!
    At a minimum, I'm Pentatoxic...but most likely, I'm a Pentaholic. There seems to be no known cure. Pentatonix, winners of The Sing Off, season 3

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Alpharetta GA ( Metro Atlanta)
    Experiment, experiment, experiment !!!!!

    If you are matching, nothing that looks like what you want on the store samples will be the same when you get it home.

    Ash takes color and stains really great !!!

    Look at this album...

    Note: I did the oil stain 1st then applied the gel stain to get a deeper cover.

    You are going to have some challenges with the exposed end grain on the panels. You just really have to find the scrap and test various combinations.

    Your Panels look really GREAT !!! Put up some pics of your testing and I sure there will be helpful comments posted.

    Here at the two pertinent pictures.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    new york city burbs
    I love working with ash, but ofcourse, Ive only been using hardwoods for under 3 years.
    I built an all ash coffee table about year and half ago and I remember it took stain and poly very nicely.
    I used a prestain treatment before I stained it. Regular minwax stain and prestain, maybe 10 coats wipe on minwax poly.
    Its in front of the couch in my BIL/SIL apt, it gets more use than any other surface in their apt, food, magazines, feet, and it still looks like I finished it yesterday. Held up well.

    take a few days and listen to the smart people here. Test whatever products your going to use. Dont use a little strip, use a piece so you can see it well, and do exactly what you will do to the panel. (same amount of coats)
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails wood stuff 1172 (Medium).jpg  

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