Walnut dining table finishing ideas - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 Old 11-09-2015, 11:13 PM Thread Starter
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Walnut dining table finishing ideas

I'm getting close to finishing up my walnut dining table build. This is my first dining table and first experience working with this much walnut, so I think it's wise to get advice from those with more finishing experience.

I started up some tests on a couple scraps tonight. I've used Zinsser Seal Coat on a lot of stuff because I really like how it makes the grain pop before adding top coats. I also picked up a quart of General Finishes Arm-R-Seal a short while ago and used it on a small project by itself. It was really easy to apply and 3 coats looked really nice.

So, I'll do 2 coats of Seal Coat on one scrap and try the Arm-R-Seal on top of that, 2 or 3 coats, sanding with 400 grit or steel wool between coats. On another scrap, I'll just do 3 or 4 coats of Arm-R-Seal, again lightly sanding between coats, and see how that comes out.

My question is... do I need the Seal Coat, or will just Arm-R-Seal produce similar results? Can anyone predict what I'll learn from this test, or suggest other options?

As always, thanks in advance for the help.
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post #2 of 6 Old 11-10-2015, 06:59 AM
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With walnut it is traditional especially on a table top to fill the grain with a pastewood grain filler so you don't see the texture of the wood in the finish. Normally walnut has a glass like finish and the grain filler is necessary for that. You can get a grain filler at Sherwin Williams however theirs only comes in a natural color. They can tint the grain filler though to a walnut color. Another option would be to order a walnut grain filler from Mohawk. http://www.mohawk-finishing.com/cata...asp?ictNbr=105 . A qt. is enough to do a dozen or more tables. You brush the filler on like paint and let it thicken to a paste. Then you rub off the excess with a coarse cloth in a circular motion. Another option is to squeegee the excess off with a squeegee like you clean the windshield of a car with. Clean all that you can off the surface and allow to dry over night. Then what residue is left do a light sanding and then the table is ready for what ever finish you choose.

The Seal Coat isn't necessary however it is easier to sand than urethane so it might save you some work to use it. In any case I would recommend getting the equipment to spray the finish if you don't already. It doesn't have to be a high dollar sprayer. I use a harbor freight #97855 sprayer I get with a coupon for 21 bucks. A table top shows everything and it's very difficult to brush urethane without brush marks. If you are going to brush it you can minimize the brush marks by adding Flood Penetrol to the urethane and use as soft of a paint brush as you can find. Brush the finish on as thin as possible with as few strokes as possible. The more you brush it the more the brush marks will show. You pretty much have to build a little thicker finish and then hand rub it out to get rid of the brush marks.
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post #3 of 6 Old 11-10-2015, 10:00 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the great information Steve. Helpful as always.

I hadn't really thought about a wood grain filler, but you have convinced me to get some and try it out on another scrap from the table. I have a Sherwin Williams store nearby. I'm a fan of their paints, but have never used their wood finishing products. I've had mixed results with getting help from the store staff, some are great, but others obviously don't want to be there. Can you tell me the specific product I should ask for?

I may also look into the sprayer option. I have a Harbor Freight store about a mile away. My concern there is that I have a small basement shop and it's getting a little cold out to set up spraying in the garage. Arm-R-Seal says it can be applied by wiping on (my preferred method of applying finishes when I can) or applied with a foam brush or paint applicator. Would I still have issues with uneven spreading and marking over the table surface? Same issues as brushing on? It's not a huge table, about 3' x 5.5'.
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post #4 of 6 Old 11-16-2015, 11:42 AM Thread Starter
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Okay, I looked into the Mohawk wood grain filler. I'd be paying over $60 after shipping and handling for just a quart of the filler and a quart of solvent. I'll go that route if I have to, but if anyone can help me out with the specific product I could get at the local Sherwin Williams store, I'd like to check that out.
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post #5 of 6 Old 11-16-2015, 12:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeanK View Post
Okay, I looked into the Mohawk wood grain filler. I'd be paying over $60 after shipping and handling for just a quart of the filler and a quart of solvent. I'll go that route if I have to, but if anyone can help me out with the specific product I could get at the local Sherwin Williams store, I'd like to check that out.
Go by and ask for SHER-WOOD Natural Filler. Tell them what wood you are using it on. I cant remember right off if it needs to be tinited or not, but tell the the wood you are using and they should be able to take it from there.
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post #6 of 6 Old 11-16-2015, 07:57 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Randy. I stopped by the store and they didn't know what I was talking about. Nothing by that name was in stock, but the sales guy said he'd check with a manager tomorrow and took down my name and number.

Anyone use the CrystaLac product sold at Rockler? I'm thinking I may just go with extra coats of the Arm-R-Seal and be okay with a bit of grain coming through.
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