Walnut and Pore Filler

Robert Horky

Member
Messages
457
Location
Orland Park, Illinois, USA
I am making a dining room table. Walnut as you may guess. Being in the open pore family of woods, I read that many use a pore filler to smooth it out and give the finish a smoother, richer, possibly glossier look. I have made walnut end tables, coffee tables, etc. and never used pore filler but am looking for some guidance/experience. Is it worth using? What brand? Application techniques? Any and all comments welcome. My finish will be a Danish Oil followed with some clear poly. Thanks for any and all help.
 

Vaughn McMillan

Administrator
Staff member
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32,850
Location
ABQ NM
I've never used a pore filler myself, but I figured I'd comment in an attempt to bump your question back up to the top of today's posts. ;)
 
Messages
3
Location
Recently moved to East Texas
When working with any open grained wood, my experience has taught me that if I apply a polymerized type oil, such as "Daly's Profin, I apply it with 600 grit wet/dry paper and the slurry that develops with rubbing action fills the open pores nicely, I put on enough finish so that after getting a good rub in, I can wipe up the access across grain using paper towels. After the first coat dries, I use a 800 grit or 0000 grade steel wool or a white nylon the finishing pad to smooth the first coat of oil, then add a second coat with a rag. After the second coat dries, I generally stick with the white nylon rubbing pad, this even out any imperfections in the previous coat. Rag on a third cat, moving in one direction only. Be sure to make ample use of tack rags between coats. The third and final coat doesn't require a rub out, but you could apply a high grade rubbing wax and buff with an electric car buffing pad foe the ultimate shine. The Daly products are available in both a Satin and high gloss. The product is available in most high quality finishing stores, it is manufactured in the Seattle, Washington area.

Steve Tibbetts
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glenn bradley

Member
Messages
9,723
Location
SoCal
There are levels of smooth in finishing just as there are levels of sharp when sharpening. I'm not much on the "mirror" finishes but, they can look cool and certainly do have their place depending on the style. If you're shooting for a very glossy look that falls a bit shorter than "mirror", sanding in an oil finish and the resulting slurry fill will yield a smoother surface than skipping this step. This allows your top coat to continue to "fill" any remaining irregularities more easily without the full-on mirror surface. For examples and techniques, materials from those wizards like Jeff Jewitt, Peter Gedrys or Michael Dresdner are very informative.

Although I have seen folks who "rub out" poly finishes, abrasion resistance is one of the things poly does best. This means I would want my surface as close to what I am after before I applied a polyurethane product. A good read from the amazing Mr Jewiit here. Catch some of Jeff's videos if you have a Fine Woodworking online account; some people make things look soooo easy ;-) All that being said, I focus on surface prep and keep the film to a minimum for most items. A dining table would not be one of those places as it will see years of bumps, slides, spills and temperature "spots" from serving dishes and coffee cups. A poly will serve you well here.
 
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