How to Finish Walnut Wood

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Walnut is a beautiful, dark wood. This type of wood adds elegance to any room, no matter what piece of furniture it is. People prize walnut for its beauty and also its endurance. Natural finishes are best when working with walnut. Do not cover your walnut furniture with a stain. Instead, use a simple oil finish to enhance the beauty and the grain of the wood.

Things You'll Need

  • Sandpaper
  • Sander
  • Rags
  • Oil
  • Give the wood a good sanding first. Start with 180-grit sandpaper. Sand the whole project.

  • Wipe off the entire piece with a damp rag to remove all traces of sawdust. Do not leave any sawdust behind.

  • Sand the whole piece again using 220-grit sandpaper. Make sure to get your walnut wood as smooth as possible for the best results. Remove all the sawdust after sanding.

  • Feel the surface of the wood. Look for imperfections or spots that are not perfectly smooth. Re-work these areas is necessary.

  • Purchase linseed, mineral, teak or Danish oil. Use mineral oil for food preparation projects such as cutting boards. Do not use linseed oil on outdoor projects. Use the Danish or teak oils on previously unfinished projects. Use the rags to apply the oil.

  • Rub the oil in well. Follow the grain of the wood when applying the oil. Do not apply too much oil at a time since too much will not absorb properly. Work the oil into the surface of the walnut wood.

  • Allow the coat of oil to dry for at least 24 to 72 hours, depending on the weather and the type of oil you use.

  • Apply additional coats of oil until you have the look and protection you desire for your walnut wood piece. Adding up to four coats of oil is a normal amount. Use a clean rag each time.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not leave oily rags lying around. The oil generates heat and will spontaneously start a fire if left unattended for a long period of time. Do not simply throw the rags in your regular garbage can. The best way to dispose of the rags is to put them in an old coffee can and fill it with water. Put the lid on the can and then put it in your garbage can.

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