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Thread: Finish for Black Walnut

  1. #1
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    Finish for Black Walnut

    I just finished cutting a scroll sawed picture in a piece of black walnut. I normally apply 50/50 MS and BLO as a finish to my pictures, but I do not want to have the wood darken because of the finish. Anything I have ever used on black walnut makes it much darker than is natural. It there some finish that will not darken it much? I know anything will darken it a little. Or is it best to leave it without a finish?
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  2. #2
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    I would suggest Blond Shellac, try it on some scrap to see if it is to your liking
    I'm supposed to respect my elders, but its getting harder and harder for me to find one now.

  3. #3
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    The clearest stuff I've found is the water clear water based poly. The only one I have much experience with is general finished wood turners finish. It may still "darken" the wood a smidge because it gives a bit of a "wetting" look, but less so than anything else I've tried. I actually don't like to use it on most stuff without a base coat of something to pop the grain because it doesn't look like much is there so it might be just what you wanted here.

    It will fuzz the surface a fair bit - basically like wetting it with water (unsurprisingly), much more so than an oil finish. Put a thin coat on and then let it completely dry then sand it back out and top coat. It's not too bad but something to be aware of.

  4. #4
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    Clear spray (rattle can) lacquer is pretty clear

  5. #5
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    I agree with the two previous suggestions. Either lacquer or a clear waterbased poly will keep the color pretty close to original raw wood color. For a scroll sawn piece, I think a spray version would be the way to go.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn McMillan View Post
    I agree with the two previous suggestions. Either lacquer or a clear waterbased poly will keep the color pretty close to original raw wood color. For a scroll sawn piece, I think a spray version would be the way to go.
    The rattle can lacquer is a good idea ! I'll second that one from a usability perspective (must've needed more coffee this morning, oh wait that was afternoon... hmm.. ).

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan Mooney View Post
    The rattle can lacquer is a good idea ! I'll second that one from a usability perspective (must've needed more coffee this morning, oh wait that was afternoon... hmm.. ).
    Minwax Polycrylic can also be found in a spray can. It's water-based, pretty much water clear, and actually a bit more durable than lacquer, I think. (I guess a scrolled piece of art doesn't really need a super durable finish, though.) One advantage to lacquer would be that you wouldn't need to scuff up the finish surface of between coats since each new coat "burns in" to the previous coat. With the poly, you would need to scuff it between coats to get proper adhesion.

    Regardless of whether you go with acrylic or lacquer, I'd emphasize using multiple very light coats instead of just a few heavier ones. Runs would be difficult to fix on a scrolled piece, and the best way I've found to avoid runs in a finish is to apply coats so light you wonder if you actually got any on the wood.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

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