Author Topic: Finishing walnut  (Read 655 times)

Offline smallpatch

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Finishing walnut
« on: October 18, 2020, 08:57:08 AM »
Ok guys,
Iíve only built one walnut gun before, and it was a simple southern gun, so not a lot of attention paid to a super fine finish.
Can one of our gurus please explain to me th process of filling the grain and a good semi gloss final finish?
Thanks in advance!
In His grip,

Dane

Offline smart dog

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Re: Finishing walnut
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2020, 02:17:19 PM »
Hi Dane,
I usually use a method I borrowed from Taylor.  In my case I use Sutherland-Welles polymerized tung oil either low or medium gloss, however, the procedure could use any good finish.  I apply it with 220 grit sand paper and sand until a thick slurry of finish and sawdust accumulates on the surface. Then I let it dry thoroughly into a crust and sand it off smooth with 220 or 320 grit paper.   That really fills the grain on walnut.  I usually do that just once but I know Taylor sometimes repeats the process another time.  After sanding smooth, I apply finish in small dabs and rub it in until I have the look I want.  Below are guns finished that way.  The first has a nice low gloss sheen and the second a higher gloss:















dave
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Offline Dennis Glazener

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Re: Finishing walnut
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2020, 03:41:45 PM »
Ok guys,
Iíve only built one walnut gun before, and it was a simple southern gun, so not a lot of attention paid to a super fine finish.
Can one of our gurus please explain to me th process of filling the grain and a good semi gloss final finish?
Thanks in advance!

Dane,
I normally used a black filler I got from Jim Chambers. There was a supply problem but I think it was solved. If interested check with Jim.

I thought the black filled grain looked really good. I think Jim used/usesvthecsame filler on walnut.
Dennie
"I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend" - Thomas Jefferson

Offline Pukka Bundook

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Re: Finishing walnut
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2020, 05:14:54 PM »
In the UK,  We used fuller's earth as a grain filler.
I use that, or wood ashes usually, and a linseed finish.
It takes time but looks right as well.

In No way saying Dave's /Taylors work Doesn't look right!!
Just another way of arriving at the same place.

Just thinking now,...Is fuller's earth the right name?....No, it is Pumice powder!  I knew the fuller's earth didn't sound right!  (edited to add the pumice bit)

« Last Edit: October 19, 2020, 08:43:41 AM by Pukka Bundook »

Offline smallpatch

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Re: Finishing walnut
« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2020, 05:19:05 PM »
Dave and Dennis,
Thanks for the response.  Do you stain at all, or just leave it natural?
In His grip,

Dane

Offline flatsguide

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Re: Finishing walnut
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2020, 05:47:54 PM »
Sorry nothing to add about finishing but...

Smartdog, those are beautiful guns, the checkering, carving and inletting is just perfect.
Cheers Richard

Offline Eric Krewson

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Re: Finishing walnut
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2020, 05:54:14 PM »
I use Birchwood Casey walnut grain filler, put it on, sand it off, put it on sand it off until the pores are is filled. It works well but the above mentioned procedures would probably be quicker.

I follow up the sealer with a Chamber's oil finish.

 

Offline wmrike

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Re: Finishing walnut
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2020, 06:16:41 PM »
I have always been partial to the hard-to-find Pilkington's red-brown stained oil.  It imparts a soft color to the wood and, to my eye, does more to highlight grain and patterns.  The application technique is the same as the others have said - wet the wood, apply oil, sand the whiskers the first time, then just oil and sand with progressively finer paper.

Offline smart dog

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Re: Finishing walnut
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2020, 06:30:03 PM »
Hi Flatsguide,
Thank you.  Dane, I stain based on my objectives and the kind of walnut.  Eric's post shows a nice black walnut stock, unstained.  While there is considerable variation in color, American black walnut generally looks like Eric's gun.  Personally (no pun intended), I do not favor that color.  It has a cold purplish-brown hue.  If I am not trying to make black walnut look like English walnut, I usually give it a coat of LMF's walnut stain.  This works wonders on black walnut and brings out more red.  I also sometimes stain it with alkanet root infused in mineral oil. I test scrap pieces to see which stain brings out the best color in that particular walnut stock.  If I am trying to match the look of English walnut using a black walnut stock, I first paint the stock with pure yellow aniline dye.  That kills the cold purple brown completely.  Then depending on the specific piece of wood, I might stain over the yellow with LMF walnut stain or alkanet root, or nothing.  The photos below show guns with black walnut stocks made to look more like English walnut:
 
























If I am using English walnut, I usually stain it with alkanet root.  The guns I showed in my previous post where stained that way.  Also, during the whiskering process, I sometimes stain the stock with pure black aniline dye.  As I scrape it off, it reveals scratches and rough spots but also embeds in the grain giving the finished stock an old mellow look.  Here is an English walnut stock done that way:











dave
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Offline smallpatch

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Re: Finishing walnut
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2020, 07:20:05 PM »
Thanks Dave, most appreciated!
In His grip,

Dane

Offline Dennis Glazener

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Re: Finishing walnut
« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2020, 02:09:50 AM »
Dave and Dennis,
Thanks for the response.  Do you stain at all, or just leave it natural?
I never stain black walnut, I think it usually takes the life out of it. I do like to use Chambers tinted oil finish.
Dennis
"I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend" - Thomas Jefferson

Offline Daryl

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Re: Finishing walnut
« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2020, 02:49:03 AM »
I tried staining this pistol's stock, then put it under the lid of the photpcopier.
The stock was completely filled until it was like a mirror, then the third thin coat after that
was polished.  The finish was like a grande piano, however it was black due to the stain.
Like Dennis noted, it took the life out of it. So- out came the sand paper and after finishing
the second time, this is the result with True Oil. No filler, just the oil.




Daryl

"a gun without hammers is like a spaniel without ears" King George V

Offline sdilts

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Re: Finishing walnut
« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2020, 03:03:59 AM »
Ok guys,
Iíve only built one walnut gun before, and it was a simple southern gun, so not a lot of attention paid to a super fine finish.
Can one of our gurus please explain to me th process of filling the grain and a good semi gloss final finish?
Thanks in advance!

Dane,
I normally used a black filler I got from Jim Chambers. There was a supply problem but I think it was solved. If interested check with Jim.

I thought the black filled grain looked really good. I think Jim used/usesvthecsame filler on walnut.
Dennie

The filler you are referring to was Constantine's filler.  Unfortunately it is no longer available. I have had good luck though using a product called GoodFilla, available from Woodcraft. I use the ebony color.

Offline Dennis Glazener

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Re: Finishing walnut
« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2020, 03:06:06 AM »
Thanks, good to know.
Dennis
"I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend" - Thomas Jefferson

Offline Dennis Daigger

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Re: Finishing walnut
« Reply #14 on: October 19, 2020, 03:08:51 AM »
I've been using Pilkington Classic Gunstock Finish (red brown permutation) since Flecto's Plastic Oil and Sealer was reformulated in the early '80s.  Both of these finishes are used the same.

I finish sand the stock with 220 paper then remove the whisker twice to fully open the pores.  The Pilkington is diluted to a water consistency and brushed on the stock.  Depending on the porosity of the wood it can take 3-5 of these treatments drying for a day between before the finish starts to show a build up on the wood.

The remainder of the process is stages of using small squares of 320 wet/dry paper to develop a slurry of finish and sanded wood particles to finish filling the pores.  The final stage is small squares of 400 paper lightly worked with the grain and then lightly wiped clean.

Any of the commonly available commercial oil finishes can then be used to develop what ever surface luster is desired.  The two English rifles in my earlier post were done this way.  The percussion rifle didn't have the final oil put on for a matte finish but the flintlock did get Birchwood oil.
Dennis

Offline Not English

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Re: Finishing walnut
« Reply #15 on: October 19, 2020, 04:42:30 AM »
Fascinating thread! I don't really have anything to add other than a respected gunsmith told me I should try orange aniline dye on walnut. I never have, but for some reason it's stuck with me for 35 years.