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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello All,

I could really use some suggestions on a finish for my almost finished dining room table. This is my first project of this size so I welcome all criticism as I am looking to learn.
Where I am:
The tabletop is made from a walnut tree that was cut down locally from storm damage, "solar kiln" dried for a year and air dried for another year, as you can see it has some very intense figuring, but this was the look my SO was looking to get. The finish I used here was an amber shellac base coat to bring out some of the beautiful colors, many coats of Aqua Coat grain filler and topped with 3 coats of general finishes Enduro Conversion 2K Varnish (Satin) applied with an HVLP sprayer. I am generally happy with how it looks and I really hope all the additional measures I had to take to use the conversion varnish prove useful in durability.

The question:
I am now looking to finish the table base/skirt, its all kiln dried black walnut from a local lumberyard and has significantly less figuring and is pretty solid in color and tone. I really don't think a film forming finish like the 2k varnish is the best option for the base as I will not be filling in the grain (it seems it would be way to tedious to do well on all the angles) and could just make it more prone to the film being damaged, but I could be convinced otherwise. I came across rubio monocoat (Rubio Monocoat) but for the life of me can’t figure out if it is just a very well-advertised gimmick or the real deal. Does anyone have any experience working with it? Do you think it would be a good option for the base? In general, I would like something that is either "satin" or lower in sheen; HVLP sprayed would be great but am not opposed to a wipe on application. Some other finishes I've had experience with include,
Arm-R-Seal (seems it may really yellow the walnut)
Waterlox Original (really hoping with something significantly less sheen on this project.

Sorry for the messy pictures! I don’t like to apply finish in the shop (basement) so they are awaiting their destiny in the garage.

All suggestions and recommendations welcome!

Thanks
Wood Floor Flooring Rectangle Hardwood
Table Property Furniture Wood Rectangle
Wood Floor Flooring Rectangle Hardwood
 

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Unless the amber shellac was the de-waxed variety you may be in for adhesion problems with the conversion varnish. Generally about the only thing you can put on standard shellac is old fashion varnish, shellac or lacquer.

If you are not wanting a film finish for the base Watco oil finish works well on walnut. With that finish it's best to sand to 400 grit dampening the wood and raising the grain with each grit change.
 

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I like Rubio monocoat, but it does end up a matte sheen pretty much. Just to let you know since your top has a fair amount of sheen. You could spray a few coats of semi gloss lacquer on the base and it would be fine.
Mike Hawkins
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Unless the amber shellac was the de-waxed variety you may be in for adhesion problems with the conversion varnish. Generally about the only thing you can put on standard shellac is old fashion varnish, shellac or lacquer.

If you are not wanting a film finish for the base Watco oil finish works well on walnut. With that finish it's best to sand to 400 grit dampening the wood and raising the grain with each grit change.
I am not sure I own any none dewaxed shellac as I only typically use it as a base coat. But you are correct that would have been an issue. I used the following shellac BT&C Tiger Flakes Shellac in the amber tone. When you say watco do you mean their danish oil or the standard oil wipe on poly?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I like Rubio monocoat, but it does end up a matte sheen pretty much. Just to let you know since your top has a fair amount of sheen. You could spray a few coats of semi gloss lacquer on the base and it would be fine.
Mike Hawkins
What about the rubio monocoat followed by their universal maintenance oil Universal Maintenance Oil
In the description it says it gives the finish a sheen closer to satin, which is what the top is.

As far as lacquer, I do not have much experience with it other than nitro lacquer for tiny boxes I have made in the past. Could you recommend some lacquers that would be good here and any precoats that would be needed to really make walnut pop.
 

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I am not sure I own any none dewaxed shellac as I only typically use it as a base coat. But you are correct that would have been an issue. I used the following shellac BT&C Tiger Flakes Shellac in the amber tone. When you say watco do you mean their danish oil or the standard oil wipe on poly?
The link you show only has the dewaxed shellac. Shellac in it's natural form has a lot of natural wax which a lot of finishes won't adhere to. The dewaxed version they just filter the shellac better removing the natural wax making it to where most finishes will adhere. The wax really became a problem when they came up with polyurethane. It doesn't adhere real well even to polyurethane so because polyurethane became so popular the dewaxed shellac was developed. Before then painters finishing knotty pine wall paneling would put a coat or two of shellac on the knots to help prevent sap from bleeding through and then finished the walls with varnish. The old varnish would adhere just fine to the standard shellac but poly wouldn't.

Sorry, I forget Watco has started making a lot of different products. When ever I think of Watco I only think of the Danish oil finish. I finished a walnut clock case with it in 1973 and the finish looks the same today as when I did it.
 

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The "Like" was not only for your great table build, but also for asking the question about Rubio Monocoat.

I have wondered the same thing about Rubio Monocoat. I read the MSDSs from Rubio and wonder whether it is hype or there is something special in their secret sauce. Thanks for asking, and I look forward to the responses.
 

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Sorry, I forget Watco has started making a lot of different products. When ever I think of Watco I only think of the Danish oil finish. I finished a walnut clock case with it in 1973 and the finish looks the same today as when I did it.
Rustoleum owns the Watco brand now....
 

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If it were me, I'd hit it with two coats of conversion varnish and be done with it.
 

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I’m kinda with JL here re: the top. .

You might give some thought to darkening the base with either a medium or dark brown dye, or tinted shellac.

I‘ve used alcohol based dyes to tint shellac (Behlen Solar-Lux).

I’ve heard more cons than pros about Rubio. And it’s not cheap!

Nice table.
 

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I don't feel competent to discuss advanced finishing, but I want to say that you make a nice table. Looks like really good proportions from the photos.
 
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