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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Let me start by saying I have zero experience w wood finishing. I’m making sofa end tables using live edge black walnut. Sanded them using 80,120,240 & 400. Used Real Milk Paint Pure Tung Oil mixed 1:1 with citrus solvent. Applied 3 coats and waited 2 weeks between each coat. Sanded w/ 400 grit between coats. I can see some striping or squiggly lines/marks throughout the wood in certain areas when the light hits at a certain angle. (Kinda looks like stretch marks 🤣) Is this just the nature/character of the wood or did I mess up? It doesn’t look “bad” necessarily. Any help/tips/info would be appreciated. In the photos below you can see where the slab was cut into two pieces (making 2 tables) and it's mostly in what would have been the center of the slab prior to cutting into two.



Brown Table Wood Rectangle Sleeve

Water Rectangle Road surface Wood Sky

Brown Wood Road surface Beige Grey

Brown Property Door mat Rectangle Wood
 

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The marks are natural to that particular piece of wood. It's caused when the tree was growing the grain of the wood grew in a wavy direction around. Then when it was cut and machined flat the white spots are the top of the wave and in between is end grain which absorbed more of the tung oil and got darker. It probably wouldn't be as pronounced if you hadn't sanded to 400 grit. Sanding that fine more or less polished the wood making it less absorbent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The marks are natural to that particular piece of wood. It's caused when the tree was growing the grain of the wood grew in a wavy direction around. Then when it was cut and machined flat the white spots are the top of the wave and in between is end grain which absorbed more of the tung oil and got darker. It probably wouldn't be as pronounced if you hadn't sanded to 400 grit. Sanding that fine more or less polished the wood making it less absorbent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The marks are natural to that particular piece of wood. It's caused when the tree was growing the grain of the wood grew in a wavy direction around. Then when it was cut and machined flat the white spots are the top of the wave and in between is end grain which absorbed more of the tung oil and got darker. It probably wouldn't be as pronounced if you hadn't sanded to 400 grit. Sanding that fine more or less polished the wood making it less absorbent.
Thanks for the response. Is there anything I can do to reverse the over sanding and even it out? Or just enjoy the character of the wood as is?
 

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Thanks for the response. Is there anything I can do to reverse the over sanding and even it out? Or just enjoy the character of the wood as is?
It would have to be chemically stripped and start over with your sanding procedure but stop at 120 grit. Having it sanded coarser would also mean it would probably take a couple extra coats of tung oil. In the end you won't be able to get rid of the spots, it would just be less pronounced.
 

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Officially it's curly figure as in curly maple. People pay up to a 30% premium for it as mentioned above. It happens in a lot of woods. I just discovered a piece of curly alder in my lumber pile that is going to become part of a jewelry box. It can be difficult to work with, tearing out when planed, so be careful with planer and jointer. Sandpaper is your friend, or very shallow cuts with a scraper.
 

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If you have any of this material left over I would suggest you make a test piece rather than experiment on your finished work. Take the scrap and treat it exactly as your finished work, then experiment with that. It is hard from a distance to suggest solutions to a problem we may not fully understand.
Shellac is generally recommended as a barrier between incompatible finishes. So if you want to put a lacquer over your tung oil, put a light coat of shellac down first. Shellac sticks to anything, and anything sticks to shellac.
 

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I’ve never had success building sheen with Pure Tung Oil. Maybe I’ve just been too impatient. Sutherland Welles Polymerized Tung Oil or Waterlox (actually Tung oil based varnish) both build gloss and should be compatible with the finish you’ve already put on.
 
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