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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

I am new to the forum so hello!

I am attempting to finish a black walnut live edge slap for a coffee table. After reading Bob Flexner's Understanding Wood Finishing and reading online forums on walnut finishing, I came to the conclusion that amber or garnet shellac looks great on walnut apparently (will have to test to verify).

My question is this: Can I use BLO then amber or garnet shellac then wipe-on Waterlox varnish?

I know that french polishing uses the oil then shellac combo, but I wanted something more durable. I read that using wipe-on varnish over shellac is common practice as well. Why not use them together?

If you have any experience with this, feel free to shed some light.

Thanks for the help!
 

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The Nut in the Cellar
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Experiment on scraps to see what you get. I personally don't use BLO and prefer to use danish oil instead. I think it absorbs into the grain just as well, but cures harder than BLO. You can tint the DO to match what a garnet shellac would produce and it will "pop" the grain just as well. I would then follow the cured DO with the Waterlox.
 

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I think you can definitely skip the BLO and maybe the garnet shellac.

Waterlox is made with Tung Oil and pops the grain plenty on its own. It's also pretty dark and may very well do the same thing you were looking to do with the garnet shellac. I think (but not sure) that Waterlox is intended to be used on bare wood.

My recipe for Waterlox (original) is to flood on the first coat and keep brushing it around until it looks like it won't absorb any more, then wipe off the excess. Depending on how it looks after that, I might do a second coat the same way. After that dries, I apply thin coats with a brush until I see the sheen I like.

Do properly dispose rags soaked with Waterlox; the spontaneous combustion thin is real...
 

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If you get garnet shellac, make sure you get dewaxed shellac. Shellac flakes come in both waxed versions for use as the top coat, or dewaxed shellac that can be used under other top coating products.

If you can’t find dewaxed shellac, ask for help, there are several good web sites that specialize in shellac.


In woodworking there is always more then one way to accomplish something.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for all the responses! I am going to do some experimentation on some scrap pieces I have to see for myself, but might forgo the BLO. I just don't want the black walnut to be too orange looking. I like the darkness and the grain contrast in walnut and want it to shine through.
 
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