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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I need help figuring out how to finish this box. This is my first walnut box and I am fairly new at woodworking. Story I have to tell is a bit of a tear jerker, so get ready.

Two years ago my Mom died at 84. In going through her things, I found two carved flowers in a file folder. They are are a little rough, not quite finished, but still pretty nice. They are carved from some sort of soft wood that I don't recognize. After doing some more digging, I figured out that the flowers were carved by my younger sister, some time in the 1970's. She died of leukemia in 1980. I have some other, more advanced carvings that she did, but these must have been works in progress when she passed.
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So, it so happens that I have twin granddaughters who are 5 years old.
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Ofcourse, they know little about their Aunt Kathy, so I decided to incorporate the flowers into boxes for the twins. The boxes will not be jewelry boxes, just "special things" boxes.

I have made one of the boxes so far. It is not finished yet. It is made of black walnut and tiger wood. Since the wood types are so different, the flower is fitted loosely into the top.
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Now the questions. First, what's the best way to finish the walnut? Second, any ideas on how to finish the flowers? They are soft and probably need some sort of hard finish. I am definately finish challenged, so any ideas would be appreciated.
 

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Great story, great looking box and a great treasure for your girls.

Now to give you my opinion on finishing. I would use a polyurethane wiping varnish (but then I use it on everything I build). It provides a tough finish, applies easily with no brush marks or effects from dust. For me it is the only way to go unless you have a clean room for finishing. I was introduced to General Finishes wipe on products in 1965 and have used them ever since. I am sure there are other brands that may be as good; but I have had no reason to try them.

Thanks for sharing your story.
 

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Soft woods will work fine (in most cases) with the same finishes, you'll probably just have to apply more to the softer woods because they'll soak up more of it, generally speaking.

I'm a fan of the danish oil and wax or BLO/Tung oil options, personally. I like poly but in this case the "natural" finish will be more appropriate, in my opinion.

By the way, your story is definitely a tear-jerker. Thanks for sharing, though. Special boxes you've built there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the advice and kind words. I have done a little testing on the walnut and agree - BLO is going to be the way to go with this project.

I'll post both boxes when done. I have until Christmas to get them done and it may take that long. Another year before I retire and make all the sawdust I want!
 

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What a great story! Beautiful work on the boxes. I like the Danish Oil finish option as well. It keeps the feel of the wood very natural and you can wipe it and control the look.

Will the family all be together at Christmas? It would be cool to have a couple of stories to tell about their aunt. Short ones though...five year olds...I've got one! :laughing:
 

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pretty...

only thing more beautiful then those boxes is that story...and those boxes are amazingly beautiful!!!

one thing i thought of...are the carved pieces already glued in? if not, maybe finish them seperate?!?!

just a thought.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
In fact, the carved flowers are not glued in yet. I have the option to finish them separately. I was even considering some type of heavy protective finish, even plastic, since they may be subject to heavy ware as the girls grow up. Not sure how to do that.
 
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