Finishing walnut for a very specific look - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 11-12-2018, 02:40 PM Thread Starter
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Finishing walnut for a very specific look

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Hi guys, Iíve looked quite a bit around this forum and canít find the exact question Iím looking for, Iím sure this is a pretty basic question though so sorry if itís been answered somewhere else.

I need to finish a piece of walnut wood for some decorative trim in the house Iím building, and Iím going for a VERY specific look. The wood was expensive too, so I donít want to just mess around until I get it right like I usually do.

Every where I look on the internet, the tutorials people post describe their desirable outcome as having 2 things that for this specific job I DONT want to have.

1. They always describe trying to create warm reddish or brownish colors. Whereas what I want is best described as a ďcoldĒ color scheme. With as little red as possible.

2. Everyone seems to be trying to even out the colors and hide sapwood, but I actually really like the sapwood. I would like to create a high contrast look with very dark browns and very light obvious sapwood and emphasized grain, so Iím pretty sure I donít want any dye or stain.

Aside from that the only considerations are I prefer a matte finish, and I donít like wood that looks overly waxy to the point where it looks kind of fake to me.

Iíll include a picture of a cutting board I found that has similar coloring to what Iím looking for.

Any help is appreciated or just a link to someone explaining how to make this type of finish. Thanks!

Last edited by Steve Neul; 11-12-2018 at 08:49 PM.
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post #2 of 10 Old 11-12-2018, 02:56 PM
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I stained some Dark Cherry if I recall

This thread shows some walnut plugs I made and stained them darker.
See post 5:
https://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f2/m...d-build-37911/

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #3 of 10 Old 11-12-2018, 06:25 PM
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If you want something like the cutting board, I would go with Danish oil. Very easy to apply, dries with a matte finish. Lacquer also works well, and you can choose your sheen.
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post #4 of 10 Old 11-12-2018, 08:48 PM
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Walnut will naturally have a red cast to it. I don't know how to kill the red and retain the sapwood. The way to cancel the color red in wood is with a green dye. This would turn the sapwood green though. I think you would have to stain the wood with a stain with a raw umber pigment to cover the green in the sapwood to achieve close to that look. It would just darken the overall color and the sapwood a little.
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post #5 of 10 Old 11-12-2018, 09:02 PM
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Looking at the pictures of the cutting board, it was stained with a dark stain then sanded. This is very clear on the right side of the face. You'll see that some of the sapwood clearly has stain on it. Take a look at the end grain and you'll see what I mean. The left face is also sanded better after the stain was applied.

Last edited by Old Skhool; 11-12-2018 at 09:09 PM.
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post #6 of 10 Old 11-12-2018, 09:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firehawkmph View Post
If you want something like the cutting board, I would go with Danish oil. Very easy to apply, dries with a matte finish. Lacquer also works well, and you can choose your sheen.
Mike Hawkins
It does look like a Watco Danish oil finish dark walnut blend they used to sell. (Could have gotten the same look other ways)
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post #7 of 10 Old 11-12-2018, 11:40 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies!

So I like the look of this danish oil, Iíll get myself some of that and try it out.

If I sand it afterward like old school said would I reapply another coat after I sand it? Not sure how that works, Iím interested in that you pointed that out though.

After I get the color I want, I understand it would still need to be sealed, or no? Maybe Iíll try to find something that goes on very clear and matte.

I think I might also try putting a light danish oil on the sapwood and a dark one on the heartwood and see if I can keep them separate. Interesting point was made about green tint, but i donít know if I want to mess with that, Iíll try to keep it simple if I can.
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post #8 of 10 Old 11-12-2018, 11:47 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Neul View Post
Walnut will naturally have a red cast to it. I don't know how to kill the red and retain the sapwood. The way to cancel the color red in wood is with a green dye. This would turn the sapwood green though. I think you would have to stain the wood with a stain with a raw umber pigment to cover the green in the sapwood to achieve close to that look. It would just darken the overall color and the sapwood a little.

Actually I think I spoke too soon on that, I would be willing to try it if you have a brand you recommend. Could I just add some green pigment to the danish oil? Lol Iím really in over my head with this sort of stuff, not normally my line of work
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post #9 of 10 Old 11-13-2018, 06:57 AM
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Quote:
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Actually I think I spoke too soon on that, I would be willing to try it if you have a brand you recommend. Could I just add some green pigment to the danish oil? Lol Iím really in over my head with this sort of stuff, not normally my line of work
You would have to tinker with adding pigment to Danish oil. That isn't something normally done. It would have to be a universal tinting color like the paint stores put in paint to make it or you could mix green oil based enamel. It would have to be done sparingly or you could easily make the wood look like you put paint on it. Dyes would be a lot more transparent. The only dye I use is this one. https://www.mohawkproducts.com/Mohaw...ain-p/m520.htm Even with a dye the green is used very thin. I mix enough denatured alcohol in it to make it look like lime coolaid and apply it with a sprayer. What ever you try be sure to try it on scraps first.
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post #10 of 10 Old 11-14-2018, 11:43 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the help Steve!
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