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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-24-2020, 11:39 AM Thread Starter
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Default Finishing Live Edge

Hello I'm preparing some live edge slabs that I cut about a month ago which I will use for shelving, to make a big table and a couple of desks. The only thing is that they are giving me a very hard time on choosing a product. At this point it's worth mentioning that some are oak and some are maple, but the maple ones are the hardest.
On the maple, which is the one that concerns me mostly I've already tried ebony shellac which had a very yellow tint that didn't look nice to me, general finishes gel stain antique walnut, either on its own or mixed with mineral spirits, which both were too dark, I've also tried waterlox which to me didn't seem to do anything in terms of color, and also a light stain which was water based and I liked this more than the rest.
So what I actually need is some suggestions from people that have done this in the past or have knowledge on what to use on the maple. I generally like a dark color on the wood, but not that dark that would cover the grain or the beauty of the natural wood itself. I don't know if there is a way to enhance the grain but also apply stain over it. So any advise on finishes or stains is more than welcome. Thank you. I'm also attaching a photo I have of one of the maple slabs so that you get an idea of what I have.

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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-24-2020, 11:51 AM
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You could try one of the lighter stains like Golden Oak. You could also try a tinted polyurethane over the bare wood.

Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-24-2020, 12:50 PM
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That is a gorgeous piece of wood you have there. If you could keep the bark on it would be very pretty as a table. (Pity they nicked the one side of the crotch, tho...)

I've built two sofa table using Maple/Walnut and applied 6+ coats of Waterlox - sanding with 320 on one or two coats during the wipe-on - and ended up with a super smooth satin finish that really emphasizes the grain. You'll get density with added coats.

I'm in the school that avoid stains unless you need to match up color density between different pieces of the same wood - did so on a walnut piece and it helped a lot. I use Amber Shellac on Oak for a Craftsman look, a warm stain on Pine if it fits the piece, and but prefer no stain usually and find the finish that accents the grain best. Experiment on matching scrap until you find something....

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-24-2020, 12:53 PM Thread Starter
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You could try one of the lighter stains like Golden Oak. You could also try a tinted polyurethane over the bare wood.
I tried that this morning, it's definitely better, any ideas on something darker ?

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-24-2020, 01:11 PM Thread Starter
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What are your opinions on Rubio Monocoat ?

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-24-2020, 01:41 PM Thread Starter
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That is a gorgeous piece of wood you have there. If you could keep the bark on it would be very pretty as a table. (Pity they nicked the one side of the crotch, tho...)

I've built two sofa table using Maple/Walnut and applied 6+ coats of Waterlox - sanding with 320 on one or two coats during the wipe-on - and ended up with a super smooth satin finish that really emphasizes the grain. You'll get density with added coats.

I'm in the school that avoid stains unless you need to match up color density between different pieces of the same wood - did so on a walnut piece and it helped a lot. I use Amber Shellac on Oak for a Craftsman look, a warm stain on Pine if it fits the piece, and but prefer no stain usually and find the finish that accents the grain best. Experiment on matching scrap until you find something....
Thank you!! That's a good advice as well. I'm gonna have to fill this crotch indeed. I found the log on the side of the road and this cut was made already probably from those who cut the tree down.
I like the idea of just finishing the slab instead of staining, just with something that can darken it enough. Do you have any suggestions? Not dark as brown lol but a warm color

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-24-2020, 02:12 PM
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I did an entry table with a live edge slab. I used oil based wiping polyurethane, no stains. Wiping makes it hard to screw up though you will want to put more coats on. The oil based products make for a much harder finish.

Measure twice, cut once and CROSS OUT THE WRONG MARKS.

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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-24-2020, 04:15 PM
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I tried that this morning, it's definitely better, any ideas on something darker ?

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More coats will darken it. Make sure the coats dry well in between. You could also try mixing in a darker stain, just make sure the two are compatible with each other.

Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-25-2020, 11:27 AM
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I don’t thank any stain is going to make it prettier - darkening it will give it an unnatural appearance. It almost seems that you are looking for what we get with Walnut - totally different wood. The advice to use repeated coats of a finish will add depth and patina - again, play with a scrap piece of Maple and see what you get first.

Wipe-on is an ideal technique as it dries more quickly and requires less or little sanding. I used Waterlox on my Maple sofa table and love the grain enhancement - there are a number of good oil based finishes to choose from. I have read extensively about finishing and am amazed at the variety of approaches. My results have definitely been a good result of this research.

Do some homework and learn about them before you choose as they will add up in expense once you start to try them (ask me how I know)....

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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-25-2020, 12:03 PM Thread Starter
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I donít thank any stain is going to make it prettier - darkening it will give it an unnatural appearance. It almost seems that you are looking for what we get with Walnut - totally different wood. The advice to use repeated coats of a finish will add depth and patina - again, play with a scrap piece of Maple and see what you get first.

Wipe-on is an ideal technique as it dries more quickly and requires less or little sanding. I used Waterlox on my Maple sofa table and love the grain enhancement - there are a number of good oil based finishes to choose from. I have read extensively about finishing and am amazed at the variety of approaches. My results have definitely been a good result of this research.

Do some homework and learn about them before you choose as they will add up in expense once you start to try them (ask me how I know)....
I agree and after putting a lot of thought into it I decided that this would be the best choice. Even though I have to say that yesterday I applied MinWax Polyshade Pecan and over that this morning I applied Waterlox and it really gave it a very warm look, a lot like the one I had in my head.
What would you suggest to use for finishing? Either with or without stain, doesn't matter.
Waterlox, odie's oil, monocoat or clear shellac ? I'm sure you have a lot more experience on finishing than I do. So I appreciate your help a lot!

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