How to finish black walnut - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 11 Old 06-11-2012, 10:30 AM Thread Starter
Senior Member
TS3660's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Ft. Mill, SC
Posts: 1,461
View TS3660's Photo Album My Photos
How to finish black walnut

I am making a case for a Knights of Columbus sword for my dad. The sword was his dad's. I've already gotten started and am prograssing well. It is black walnut. I am wondering if I should stain it or just poly? I want it to really say "Hey, this is a showpiece".


"Veggie burgers aren't bad if you put enough meat on them"
TS3660 is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 11 Old 06-11-2012, 10:43 AM
Senior Member
sawdustfactory's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: North Bend, WA
Posts: 4,801
View sawdustfactory's Photo Album My Photos
Why would you want to put stain on walnut? Let the natural beauty show!

That bowl was perfect right up until that last cut...
sawdustfactory is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to sawdustfactory For This Useful Post:
Dominick (06-11-2012)
post #3 of 11 Old 06-11-2012, 10:58 AM
Senior Member
Dave Paine's Avatar
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Eastern PA
Posts: 7,222
View Dave Paine's Photo Album My Photos
Second no stain

Most people stain other woods to look like black walnut.

This is normally dark, and so the only options would be to dye or stain to be even darker.

Personally I would not change the colour. Let the grain show as is.

You may want to use shellac to accentuate the grain before applying poly, especially if it is water based poly.
Dave Paine is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #4 of 11 Old 06-11-2012, 11:00 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 25,995
View Steve Neul's Photo Album My Photos
Traditionally walnut should have the grain filled with a pastewood filler because of the open grain. Then lightly sand with 220 paper to get the excess off and finish with a clear coat. Polyurethane would work fine. If you use a walnut woodfiller it will darken the wood a little but not as much as stain.
Steve Neul is offline  
post #5 of 11 Old 06-11-2012, 11:18 AM
Old School
cabinetman's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: So. Florida
Posts: 24,027
View cabinetman's Photo Album My Photos
I like the look of Black Walnut when wiped with BLO (50/50 with naptha). When dry apply film finish.

cabinetman is offline  
post #6 of 11 Old 06-11-2012, 12:01 PM
Log dog
Dominick's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Northeast illinois
Posts: 7,935
View Dominick's Photo Album My Photos
Im with cabby on this one. I also would use BLO, or even Danish oil on walnut works well. Let dry and finish with a clear coat.

When it's's rustic
Dominick is offline  
post #7 of 11 Old 06-11-2012, 02:03 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 305
View ed_h's Photo Album My Photos
For a walnut piece that doesn't need the abrasion or stain resistance of a table top, many would choose a more subtle finish than polyurethane plastic. Also, IMO, fillers, unless required for some other reason, mask the natural beauty of the wood. Likewise, stains or other artificial coloring shouldn't be necessary.

For just a little more, you can do it yourself.
ed_h is offline  
post #8 of 11 Old 06-11-2012, 02:20 PM
Senior Member
bob sacamano's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: la mirada ca
Posts: 566
View bob sacamano's Photo Album My Photos
im no finishing expert. with that said , i have done MANY MANY walnut pieces . i always use minwax antique oil.

its an easy way to go. and looks great !!!!!!!!!!

build it right or not at all
bob sacamano is offline  
post #9 of 11 Old 06-11-2012, 03:13 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Coastal NC
Posts: 1,160
View HowardAcheson's Photo Album My Photos
I would check with some "expert" and be sure that your finish does not end up affecting the metal in sword. Oil based finishes particularly off-gas for quite a while and the gas becomes concentrated in an enclosed container.

HowardAcheson is offline  
post #10 of 11 Old 06-12-2012, 05:02 PM
oleStanman's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Mi. and Florida
Posts: 21
View oleStanman's Photo Album My Photos
Just my buffalo nickles worth, but I stained the highly figured burled walnut gun stock on my Thompson Center .50 cal. Hawken rifle with a purely homegrown stain. It was made from disolving the juice from a plug of chewing tobacco ("Days Work" brand to be exact but I believe "Mules Ear" would work as well) and some dry snuff my brother gave me. I let the concoction fester in a Mason jar with turpentine, linseed oil, and rubbing alcohol for a couple weeks, with an ever so often stirring and mashing to extract the juice and stain. After I strained the mess through the leg of an old panty hose (I rinsed out the panty hose before giving it back to Ma) I tested it on an area of the stock that would not show. Once I applied it to the stock with an old Argile sock, it highlighted the grain and subtle features of the wood nicely. I allowed it to dry on the stock for a day, then wiped the stock down with alcohol, then sprayed satin polyurethane in one heavy cote, then steeled wooled for smoothness. It was a thing to behold. I will post a photo of the gun that I just presented to my son for safe keeping. I learned the secret formula from the owner of Dixie Gun Works in Union City, Tn. about 30 years ago while visiting his business and buying a percussion handgun.

The finish didn't smell or give off any other foul odors. Thought about trying coffee grounds as well, but never got around to it. Walnut husks work well but you better wear rubber gloves as it will take 50 years and a tub of lye soap to get it off your fangers and a wire brush to remove it from under them fangernails....Like I said, just my buffalo nickles worth...Stan

Design by CAD, measure with calipers, cut with axe, whittle to fit...

Last edited by oleStanman; 06-12-2012 at 05:06 PM.
oleStanman is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to oleStanman For This Useful Post:
mike1950 (06-12-2012), trc65 (06-12-2012)
post #11 of 11 Old 06-12-2012, 07:11 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 7
View voorhees woodworx's Photo Album My Photos
Im gonna have to try that one out OleStan!

" The second mouse, always get's the Cheese! "
voorhees woodworx is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Finish for Black Walnut Cookies EM3 Wood Finishing 22 04-28-2012 09:11 AM
everything black walnut jwkwildland General Woodworking Discussion 7 02-07-2012 08:47 PM
tung oil finish over black walnut picture frame wangjue Wood Finishing 2 11-04-2010 10:12 PM
lighter finish for black walnut klr650 Wood Finishing 3 10-15-2010 03:47 AM
Black Walnut JMendez035 General Woodworking Discussion 7 06-04-2008 08:29 AM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome