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Tips for Finishing Walnut
THERE’S NO DENYING that most walnut looks
great with nothing more than a few coats of oil.
Here we’ll show you some tricks to make your
walnut projects look even better.
by Jeff Gorton
Make Sapwood Disappear
Even select walnut boards are likely to contain an
occasional streak of light-colored sapwood. Some projects
benefit from the contrast provided by skillfully
placed sapwood, but in most cases it’s merely a distraction.
If you can’t afford the luxury of avoiding all sapwood, we’ll show
you how to make it less conspicuous. Even though the initial investment
for dye, shellac and glaze materials will set you back about $100, most of these
products are highly concentrated and should last you many years.
Dyeing sapwood looks paint-by-number simple but there are a few tricks. The key
to the process is getting the dye color to match the heartwood color. Don’t
bother with dyes labeled “walnut.” Buy red, blue, yellow and black water-soluble
dye powder and custom mix a sapwood. We gradually adjusted the color of the dye by adding drops of
blue and black to reach the purplish gray hue of kiln-dried walnut.