mahogany countertop finish

seaduckJune 4, 2011

We are installing mahogany countertops in parts of our kitchen project -- a bar, a counter top, a rarely used lavatory. Not super high-use.

From the forums here, we decided that Waterlox is the way to go, and our contractor agrees. Our cabinetmaker found some gorgeous mahogany, and we feel that we need to 'honor' it.

Our first sample was gloss Waterlox, with no stain. Too shiny for our taste, and the wood is too light, though you can see the graining and -- I don't know the proper term -- the iridescence of the wood, which is beautiful....lots of depth to it.

We have just received a sample, with two coats of satin-finish Waterlox that was stained. The color looks, I guess, like some mahogany furniture we have, tho' maybe slightly more orange. The stain was added to the Waterlox.

I'm disappointed in it, tho' I'm not sure how to express it. The depth of the wood seems gone...that iridescent quality.

Any suggestions on what we should ask for? Is the problem in adding the stain to the WL?

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Depends on what color (composition, not hue) was added to the finish or wood. A dye should color without obscuring, a pigment somewhat less so.

The question to ask is was stain applied prior to the Waterlox (wiped on an off the bare wood) or added to the Waterlox finish?

Clear / gloss finishes tend to show more "chatoyance," in my experience.

The other option, since Waterlox rubs well, is to apply the gloss and rub it down with an abrasive to get the desired sheen level.

You can also get a lot of chatoyance by applying a coat of boiled linseed oil or a couple of light coats of shellac prior to the Waterlox. Since this effect differs on various woods, again, the best is to run a sample board or two.

Here is a link that might be useful: Eye of the cat

    Bookmark   June 5, 2011 at 1:30PM
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Chatoyance! Now I have a word for it! Thanks so much!

And thanks for this answer. The stain was added to a satin Waterlox. But now I have some ideas of what I can suggest to them. (I can imagine the moaning now, not to mention the eyerolling when I start throwing 'chatoyance' around.)

    Bookmark   June 5, 2011 at 6:47PM
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Not sure what it is, but Mahogany really has alot of it. Oils bring it out and really make the grain "pop"

I would experiment with the linseed oil on the bare wood. It will darken the hue, add a darker amber color, and pop the grain. Waterlox original (the semi-gloss) would be my choice for the top coats. Wait several days for the linseed oil to completely dry before the varnish, that way you'll know if the color is right before you lock it in.

Waterlox works best if it is applied in several thin coats. My preference is to spray it with an airless Graco rig. You can achieve almost as good results by wiping on several coats, waiting at least a day between coats. Sanding is not necessary between coats, but I definitely recommend it.

The only drawback of the product is the slow dry time and lingering odor. A hot garage with fans running can take care of that in a few days.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 5:28PM
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