A friend of mine saw the pictures I posted of the Lane Cedar chest that I just finished and asked me to give him a price on refinishing one that he has. He brought it over yesterday and it's a beautiful piece. Very clean and simple design and it has two hinged compartments. It just needs a couple minor repairs and then a sand and refinish and it's good to go. He asked me if I could use a lighter colored stain on it that would go better with the oak trim he has in his house. I showed him a Minwax color chart and he chose Golden Oak. So I picked some up and that was the plan.
It looks like a really nice piece that's solid wood and not just veneer over particle board. When I started sanding it, I found that it's made of solid Black Walnut! Well, the lid, front, and ends are solid walnut. The back of the unit, the bottom, and the bottom of the upper section are solid cedar. The walnut has an aromatic cedar veneer on the inside. There's no way that I'm going to make this lighter but after sanding, it is really nice. I told him about it and he said to do whatever I think will work.
I like this piece so much that I asked him if he'd like to do a trade straight up for the Lane I just finished. He said not really because he really likes it too. I'm kind of bummed about that, but I'm going to take some good measurements and pictures and am strongly considering doing a reproduction of it for myself.
I was thinking that just a few coats of Tung Oil on the outside would be good and that's it, no hard finish. I think it would bring out the beauty of the walnut. Then if it ever gets scratched or anything, he could just hit it with a little sandpaper and re-oil it. Or if it starts to look a little worn, put another coat on. I've used Tung Oil before but it's been a long time. Is that a finish that you can leave just oiled and not put a hard finish on top?
Here's what it looked like before I started...
Any thoughts on that plan?