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Discussion Starter #1
I've been making some tealights and votive candle holders out of red oak and finishing with semi gloss poly finishing with a 600 grit wet sand with oil and I have been getting great results. Now I bought 5 bf of 8/4 African mahogany and am wondering if the poly will work the same or as well on this wood? I paid about 50 bucks for this piece of stock and should get 2-3 sets of the holders I'm making and want to make sure the poly won't screw up this wood or have some kind of negative affect.
 

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Polyurethane has more adhesion problems than many other finishes. The African Mahogany wood that you are wanting to finish has a higher oil content than many other woods so a little extra prep work is needed. After sanding when you are ready to stain and finish I would wipe the wood down with acetone to clear as much oil from the surface as possible. Then it has an appearance very similar to Honduras mahogany so it has a grain texture that will show through the finish. If this is something you don't wish you might fill the grain with a pastewood grain filler. Finally I would seal the wood with Zinsser Sealcoat as a barrier coat to give you better adhesion to the wood and topcoat that with your polyurethane.
 

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I really like Waterlox on Mahogany. Seems to bring out the grain and impart a nice color. I like the way you can control the gloss according to the number of coats you apply when you use the "original" formula.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the advice guys!
I'll have to pick up the waterlox. I've never heard of it and sounds like something worth testing out.
I did cut a little 3in piece of the wood and am testing my poly finish process I do to see if it turns out as good on this as it does my red oak projects. There's so many finishing methods it's crazy. I'm always looking to learn though.
The reason I've been using the oil based semi gloss poly is the semi gloss doesn't give as much of a plastic look as high gloss if you do light coats and sand but it does give just enough gloss to allow the flame of the candle reflect on the wood, and of course it's easy lol. There's a saying we had in the marine corps, " keep it simple stupid" lol the poly is inexpensive and about as simple as it gets if you use it right and finish with a wet sand. I'll definitely check out the waterlox next. I'll probably test a couple finishes to see what kind of look I can get and how easy the finish is to put on.

Thanks again guys for the solid advice :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I just sanded the first coat of that poly with 320 grit on the cut off piece I'm testing and man that African mahogony smooths out extremely well. It already has a finished feel and look. It's definitely a very nice wood. I'm going to enjoy working with this stuff more often
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Treeoflifestairs.com said:
For the price you can't beat the African mahogany. I made my front door out of it. I used a polyurethane on it. I forget what brand and type.
Those are some really nice looking doors!
I've been using the minwax poly from HD. I like using the oil based stuff. It's done well for me so far. I'll know how my finish method turns out on this test piece in the morning once I put my final sanding on it with a 600 wet sand
 
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