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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I've been on a walking/hiking stick kick lately, going on hikes and hunting for fallen branches that will make good walking sticks. I have made 6 or 7 of them now but I'm having trouble finding the right finish. On most of them I will leave sections of bark, or the under layer of bark, and then strip the rest and do my sanding. After the last round of sanding I'm happy with the raw colors of the wood, these are oak btw, but when i apply the finish they darken. So I'm wondering if there is a finish that does not darken and is not glossy? Open for suggestions :) thanks.
 

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......if there is a finish that does not darken and is not glossy? ....
Most finishes refer to a "clear finish" which is usually the amber finish that you don't want. The term you are looking for is "water white". Most solvent based 'water white' finishes must be sprayed and many of those are 2-component finishes.
I am not familiar with the water based finishes and acrylics but I believe they are what you want. Others will chime in. I thought that at least I could help by stating the proper nomenclature.
 

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There's three that I've used.

CAB acrylic lacquer. It works well sprayed, but can be retarded and brushed on. It's available in a satin and dries very fast. Dries clear, and stays clear.

Waterbase polyurethane. Most all I've tried stays clear, and dries almost as fast as the CAB acrylic lacquer. It works well sprayed, or can be brushed with a synthetic bristle brush, or a foam brush. It's available in a satin. Since you don't have large flat areas, the finish should be easy to apply. I may not use a foam brush as on a "stick" there may be abutments that could catch on the foam.

Pure 100% Tung Oil. Not any of the "Tung Oil Finishes", as they are an oil base varnish mix. It has to be the pure oil, or also known as "China Wood Oil."









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Rick Mosher
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Most solvent based finishes will darken the wood some, water based is the way to go for that natural no finish look. I like Bona Traffic floor finish. It has a hardener and is very durable. It only comes in satin but that could be rubbed out to a flat finish. Target coatings makes a Super Clear one component cross linked polyurethane that is very good as well and it comes in a flat sheen. These are both interior products, if you are going to leave your sticks outside then an exterior finish would be needed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Sounds like water based is the way to go. I'll do some tests today. Thanks for the responses guys.
 
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