Finish for black walnut bar top - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 5 Old 12-11-2015, 02:11 PM Thread Starter
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Finish for black walnut bar top

I have a live edge, kiln dried black walnut slab that I'm planning on making as my bar top for a bar I am building out of heritage wood....Douglas fir barn beams, hemlock flooring and pine beams. My question pertains to finishing the walnut. I have been trolling the forums for ideas. I like the idea of tung oil but I am wondering about a great sealer...it is a bar that will be used. My constraints are that I want it finished before Xmas. I have the slab already prepped with black epoxy in the holes and large grain fissures and sanded down to 220. What is the best finish...balancing looks, durability and time frame? I have used polyurethane and prior heritage harvest tables I have made. Is that ok with the tung oil? I've seen various opinions on this.
Thanks for any info I can get. My wife is anxious to get this done for Xmas.
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post #2 of 5 Old 12-18-2015, 10:59 PM
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I don't have a lot of experience with walnut but i've finished it two different ways and I think I liked both just as much. perhaps the first approach better.

1.) Finished simply with several coats of waterlox original. The color only seems to get better with time. I used it on a vanity and with respect to water it's held up pretty well. [first picture is uncoated - third is waterlox]

2.) Stained it with watco danish oil (medium walnut) and then several coats of polyox (water-based poly). I did that on my kitched countertops and it's held up great. It does get some scratchs from knives and such, but is easily recoated (as is the waterlox). [second picture]

Downside to the waterlox is the smell and the time between coats. If you have good cross ventilation, the smell is not bad.
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post #3 of 5 Old 12-19-2015, 08:40 AM
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If you want a thick glass like finish then tung oil wouldn't be feasible. Tung oil would work though but you need to use 100% tung oil. Tung oil was originally used for hulls of boats but you need several coats in order to make your bar top waterproof. Just do a light sanding between coats with 220 grit or finer paper.

If you want a normal glass like finish you might use an oil based polyurethane. If you want a thick finish you might consider a pour on epoxy.
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post #4 of 5 Old 12-20-2015, 04:04 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info. I have gone ahead with 100% tung oil that will have a top coat of polyurethane. So far, I have done the bottom of the bar top and it looks great. Going to flip it tomorrow, give a final sand and do a first coat of tung oil. Two coats of that plus the poly. I might make it for Xmas. Thanks for the pics....looks great!
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post #5 of 5 Old 12-20-2015, 06:16 PM
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I don't believe I would mix the finishes. If you've started with tung oil I would stay with tung oil. It will make a touch durable film finish just like the polyurethane but will take many coats.
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