finish on reclaimed white oak

mackswimFebruary 7, 2008

OK, I posted a question a while ago b/c I was planning on making my Oak a dark ebony. Now it is installed it is too beautiful to color! I am trying to find a finish that will NOT change the color. Tung oil makes it too amber. Will a clear urethan work? Thanks!

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Wipe on some mineral spirits or naphtha. That will closely simulate what a finish will do to your wood.

A better question is what is the look and feel you want to accomplish and where and how will the piece be used.

Some relatively clear finishes include super blonde shellac, CAB lacquer, and W/B acrylic. Most oil based finishes will amber the wood somewhat, as will exposure to light (natural patination of the wood). In short, you are unlikely to have exactly the color you see at the moment, regardless of what you do.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2008 at 6:02PM
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They will be used as kitchen cabinet drawers. I love the 'feel' of them natural. But, and a big But, is that I need to protect them b/c of spills etc. I know I don't want a shinny look, nor do I want the amber traditonal oak look on most cabinets. My whole house is a rustic early American look. I've tried to keep the look but with a contemporary flare. Here is another picture of how the set up is. Thanks!

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   February 7, 2008 at 8:13PM
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In short? BonaKemi professional use commercial waterborne polyurethanes. Traffic in satin (matte) or NAturale (absolutely matte). Safe products only if you read the instructions and follow them.

Expensive products...I've used Traffic on kitchen cabinets with good results.

Not intended for spray must have 100% respiratory and other protection to even attempt. Dry brushing with quality foam brushes works well.

Here is a link that might be useful: BonaKemi

    Bookmark   February 8, 2008 at 11:23AM
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I checked out the BonaKemi web-site. It says that I need to stain it first, then put the Naturale on. Do I need to stain it? Any other suggestions? Thanks so much!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2008 at 12:49PM
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With either Traffic or Naturale...if you want the lightest effect...then you seal with BonaSeal.

I have not used Naturale yet, but I may have a project coming up where I will specify the product. I have gotten phenomenal results with Traffic almost flat appearance when dry brushed. My guess is that Naturale will be even flatter in appearance.

The Bona site has an area where you can find a distributor or dealer in your location.

As I said before, these are professional use products that contain some nasty stuff in their uncured state. They are professional use for that reason and I am sure that BonaKemi doesn't want complaints from untrained DIYers who attempt to use the products and screw up and try to blame the product for their failure to get good results...only reasonable, right? This is for anyone wanting to use the best: If you think you can follow directions, stay safe and do it right, then best of luck.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 12:43AM
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thanks, no worries, I hear your concerns. I will have a professional apply it. I really appreciate the tip on the Bona products. Around here I can't seem to find people who have branched out beyond the "traditional" products. I've got some beautiful wood and I want to show it off the best I can.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 10:36AM
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OK about having a professional apply the stuff, but you could DIY if you feel you can do a better job than a professional (it does happen).

As long as you follow label directions, I am sure you could do it.

If the drawer fronts can be layed flat and coated, that would be best. However, if they cannot, then you can still get excellent results with the dry brushing technique I mentioned. You get the best black-colored foam brushes you can find...True Value hardware stores sells them (much better brushes than what you normally find at the big box stores). The brushes are a dense foam and hold the product well. In a vertical application what you do is just apply enough material with each pass so that the surface is wetted with the product and thin enough so you don't get sags, runs or drips. You build up thin coats until you have it where it looks good. I only wait about 30 minutes or so before I apply a second thin coat. You could wait an hour to be sure the previous coat has flashed off enough water and other solvents to be dry enough for another coat.

If applying horizontally, then a flocked foam applicator, such as that made by Shurline is fine.

You can knock down any grain raise after the BonaSeal or any coat of finish. You need a fine sandpaper to do that 180 grit minimum...or 220 grit...or whatever works and leaves no deep scratches. Do NOT use steel wool anytime when finishing with a waterborne material.

You probably would have lots of product left over, as the stuff is only sold in gallons. Mix up small batches in the correct ratio of product to hardener of enough that you think you'll need. You do NOT want to mix it all up at cannot be rehardened or reused.

All of that said...I have to tell you...that I once finished some Ikea Ivar wood shelving with McClosky's Clean Air waterborne polyurethane and got a clear and natural-looking result. This furniture does not reside in a kitchen, so I don't know how that finish would perform in the long run in a kitchen application. But, I do know that these floor finish materials are superior finishing films. You will have to decide whether or not they are appropriate for your intended use.


    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 1:26PM
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Just one more note: on the Floormaster's site I posted a question about who has used Naturale and did they like it. One finisher said that their client didn't like the "feel" of the finish...said it felt like 'shark's skin' I guess that's something to consider here. Wish I had used the stuff myself, so as to give you better advice.

Traffic satin in a film build will eventually give a subtle 'sheen' in a vertical application...that is what I got with the kitchen cabinets I coated. If you want absolutely flat, then Naturale or another absolutely flat waterborne is what you want to look for.

If I use the stuff in the meantime, I'll post back with my observations.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 1:49PM
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Just purchased a gallon (whew, quite expensive!) I'll post some pictures and let you know how it goes.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2008 at 5:17PM
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How much did you pay retail?...if you don't mind revealing that...

If you get into any kind of can email me direct. BTW, it may exhibit a little white haze as it starts to dry...don't panic...that's normal. It will be clear when cured.

Good luck...BTW, white oak is my favorite wood, next to American chestnut. I wish you success!

    Bookmark   February 11, 2008 at 7:45PM
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We are done, and it looks great. We did two coats of the Bona Natural (although the wood would have taken a few more). Very happy with the look. We did it on the island that has reclaimed pine barnwood and that looks great too. I am so happy and so relieved! Thank you so much for the direction.
It was pricey, $125/gallon and we ended up using a 1/2 gallon. Well worth it when I look at what we paid for the wood and labor to build the cabinets.
The smell wasn't bad at all. I just put on our new high powered range hood and that seemed to do the trick. Quite easy to apply, we used a small roller and a paint brush.
Now I am thinking I might do it on our floors. I did 10 coats of tung oil (pure)but we are not seeing the pretty grain as I had hoped...ah, another day!
Thanks again!!

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   February 17, 2008 at 11:52AM
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Glad it worked out fine. I remembered that Bona recommends a roller for application...glad you read the label.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2008 at 7:05PM
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