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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, I'm very much a beginner woodworker and new to the forum. I've been working, combining metal and wood projects (welder working with wood) and I've got a table top almost ready to finish. It's curly walnut with a 3" wide tiger maple stripe down the length, just offset of center. I'm trying to figure out what the best, simplest way to finish this while keeping the maple very light, and warming the walnut. I have de-waxed shellac that I liked using before top coating with water based poly for the maple on previous projects, but it doesn't highlight walnut like I want. I want a nice contrast.

I'm wondering if I can shellac the whole top then carefully top coat the maple with water based poly, then top coat the entire table top with oil based poly? Or is that not a thing? If there isn't an easy solution I think I'll just use oil based poly and deal with a yellowed maple stripe.

Sorry about the long-winded explanation. All feedback is appreciated.

Here's a pic after glue-up. I'm learning...




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Oil based and water based aren't compatible without a barrier layer between them. I've read that shellac will form that barrier but I haven't tried it.
 

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welcome oh nameless person to the forums...

can't help w/ the finishing...
but...
you don't happen to have a picture of the end grain do you???...
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks. It's Nate. Sorry, I don't have a pic of the end grain. Would that help?


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Thanks. It's Nate. Sorry, I don't have a pic of the end grain. Would that help?


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well Nate...
Welcome to the forums...
the gladiators and lions will will be by shortly...

yes, an end grain picture will be nice...

you said you mix steel and wood...
are you putting this top on a steel frame/base??
how do you intend to fasten the two together...

about where are you located in the country...
could you fill in your profile w/ some basic information...
 

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Welcome to the forum N/A.

Stick, an end grain photo may be a mute point, now. It's glued up! It looks good now, so, I can't wait to see it with some finish.

I have to ask, N/A, what is the top going to be use on/for? The use may drive the end finish. At the very least, I would suggest that you fill the knot voids. Epoxy is good for this. The joints look good but the photo suggests that it may need a little more sanding to level it out. Glue mixed with saw dust, fill any voids and sand before the glue dries and it will blend in the joints.

You might want to check out some of the show and tell projects on the forum and see what the other members did for finish. There are several projects using Walnut and Maple as complimentary woods.

What type of finish are you looking for? Warm and natural, popping grain with a tough sealing finish, what? A little more info and the guys will jump in with suggestions. Some of the members are outstanding at finishing and will offer some suggestions.

Welcome, again.

Bill
 

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Sweet table top! Walnut and Maple were made to go together.

Personally. I am super happy with Minwax Wipe-On Poly (oil based) on walnut. Really brings out the color and grain, super clear and doesn't add much color at all. Dries very hard so it can take some wear. Looks great on maple. Very forgiving as well. I don't think you'd get much yellowing of the maple with ***. In general, you should do a test piece before committing a finish to your project.

I would not mix water and oil based finishes. You can do it but why bother? 3 or 4 layers of *** will be pretty tough and let all the beauty of that figured wood show through. I'm really not a fan of water based poly - it seems to add a slight cloudiness, some people call that "plasticy".

It would be ok to use shellac as a sealer if you want but I would just stick with *** for all the coats. If you use shellac, superblond will add the least color.
 

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When I use the American walnut I give it a coat of walnut stain and wipe it off then let it dry and You will get a rich chocolate color to the walnut. Try it on some scrap.
Shellac turns maple an mellow warm yellowish color. I will remind you that they don't recommend using WB poly over shellac, although I did it for years with no problem. You should use sanding sealer ,which is a diluted DEWAXED shellac. Then you can use the WB poly.

If I want to get the maple as white as possible, I dilute the WB poly at 50/50 water/poly. This seals the wood and raises the grain at the same time. Then when dry sand it off and repeat ,it might raise a little more grain, then sand it with 220 and apply the poly at full strength or slightly thinned and it will look as white and bright as it was before it was finished.

You can also seal the walnut you stained with shellac sanding sealer and then coat with poly.

Another thought,since it is all glued together, you might want to tape off the walnut before it is stained and seal the maple with a couple of coats of dilute poly ,then tape off the maple and stain the walnut, this will protect the maple from getting the dark stain on it.

GOOD luck, try some scrap samples first.

Herb
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Sweet table top! Walnut and Maple were made to go together.

Personally. I am super happy with Minwax Wipe-On Poly (oil based) on walnut. Really brings out the color and grain, super clear and doesn't add much color at all. Dries very hard so it can take some wear. Looks great on maple. Very forgiving as well. I don't think you'd get much yellowing of the maple with ***. In general, you should do a test piece before committing a finish to your project.

I would not mix water and oil based finishes. You can do it but why bother? 3 or 4 layers of *** will be pretty tough and let all the beauty of that figured wood show through. I'm really not a fan of water based poly - it seems to add a slight cloudiness, some people call that "plasticy".

It would be ok to use shellac as a sealer if you want but I would just stick with *** for all the coats. If you use shellac, superblond will add the least color.

Great! I think I'll give it a try.


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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks. I appreciate the comments. I'll have to do some research into filling the knots etc. Ive always just polyed over them and left them. This will be a coffee table for a friend. I would love to accentuate the grain on both woods and create a durable finish. I realize the table needs sanding and leveling. Don't think it'll get close to perfect but good enough for me.

Here's what it's going on. It'll get wooden feet.




Here's a few other projects I've done.
Record cabinet with sliding drawer.






Excuse the junk...



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you have talent...

all I have to offer is to slot your screw holes to allow for wood movement...
will you be adding an apron to the top???
 

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you have talent...

all I have to offer is to slot your screw holes to allow for wood movement...
will you be adding an apron to the top???
I agree. One of the very early mistakes I made was trying to lock panels like that down. They all cracked. You have to allow for seasonal wood movement, especially from side to side.
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Ahh, okay. That makes sense to slot the screw holes. I will do that.

I will say that wood work has given me fits, getting edges straight, weak seams, unsightly screw ups, etc. You don't want to know how long it took me to get this table top to be this okay, with many efforts to straight edge these boards. It's still crooked. I've found creative ways to hide the blemishes. Working with wood makes me realize how many tools I don't have, lol.

I'm excited to see how this top turns out after the wipe on oil poly. I'm not planning to do an apron, but I did pick up a router and will try doing a round over edge, after some practice.


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Very nice work there. I love the use of metal and wood together.

Here's a little secret - the measure of a craftsman is not how many mistakes he makes but well he hides them.
 

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I will say that wood work has given me fits, getting edges straight,

w/ a straight edge, (clamp on is easiest) your router and a trim bit you can be golden...
Freud Downshear Helix Flush Trim Router Bit - justfreud.com
Straight Edge Clamp from JustClamps.com

set the guide very near to the edge of the board, let the top bearing bit ride against the guide and the router on top of the guide...
you will cut/end up w/ a very clean/straight ready to glue 90° edge...
or....
set the guide back away from the board's edge and run the router it's self against the guide...
keep in mind you are only going/want to remove as little material as needed to ''clean/straighten'' the edge...
really screwed up edges are cleaned up (hogged) a lot easier easier w/ the straight guide and a circular saw and finished w/ the router...
now you can run the board through the table saw to make the opposing edge parallel...
strongly recommend a glue-line blade for this cut...
Freud Combination Saw Blades - justfreud.com
FWIW... don't waste your money on the Bora brand... VOE...

NOTE...
there is nothing stopping you from ''trimming/jointing'' your material upside down...
guide to the bottom..
router on top...
bit bearing against the top.. (takes a bit w/ a bottom bearing)...
this works really well on narrow material..


weak seams, unsightly screw ups, etc.
how so???

You don't want to know how long it took me to get this table top to be this okay, with many efforts to straight edge these boards.
what do you think is the fly in the ointment??

It's still crooked. I've found creative ways to hide the blemishes.

now your craftsmanship is showing...

Working with wood makes me realize how many tools I don't have, lol.

what do you have????

and as far as your skill set goes.. with the brain trust that resides here it will definitely improve...
get polished is more like it...
you have already shown that you have talent/skill...


I'm excited to see how this top turns out after the wipe on oil poly. I'm not planning to do an apron, but I did pick up a router and will try doing a round over edge, after some practice.

weak seams....
improve them w/ splining...
unless you mean joints...
for your slot cutter, more is better in the long run...
a range of thickness cutters and different bearing diameters..
Freud Tools | 2" (Dia.) Stacked Slotting Set


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but I did pick up a router and will try doing a round over edge, after some practice.
you now get overloaded w/ the PDF's...

(some say I live for this)...
 

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more...

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not enough ya say...

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