Nervous! Need Help With Finishing Wood Counter

jillandmattSeptember 4, 2011


We finally have our walnut counter for our island. For months I had planned on finishing it with mineral oil and using it for a chopping. We got it from Craft-Art's DIY store so we are finishing it ourselves. We flipped it so the bottom was up and I tried a sample of the mineraloil. It was not what I had hoped for. The color was too light and had an orange cast. I think there is some "sap" wood in the counter so there was some very blonde stripes and some dark. Anyways, I didn't like the color or look. We talked with the local hardware shop who sells Waterlox and decided to stain the counter a darker color and then apply the Waterlox finish. I have given up the idea of chopping on it. Yesterday we stained it and it looks pretty, but dark! How long do we need to let the stain dry. Hardware store says 24 hours but Waterlox website says 72. I'm in a hurry to get the Waterlox on it because I don't want it to start warping. Also, will the Waterlox darken it more? If it get any darker, it will be too dark.

Thanks for any advice!! Jill

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First, follow the manufacturers instructions---they make and test the product.

Second, always test the product before using on the actual piece. Different colored wood colors differently with the same stain/dye.

Try staining the bottom side and sanding to lighten the color. If that works, sand the top side.

The Waterlox will add an amber tone(oil based). Will not be really noticeable over a dark color.

Finish all sides, top/bottom/edges. Not doing so will allow cupping/warping due to seasonal humidity changes. Large pieces will sometime cup/warp anyways due to the individual pieces of wood used moving at different rates. Such as sap wood and heart wood. That has to be dealt with during assembly.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2011 at 12:20PM
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Thank you so much for the response! I have a couple of questions. I just went out to our new house and looked at it again and I think I do want to lighten it just a little. I had tested the color on the bottom and thought it was not too dark, but when I stained the whole top and we sat it on the island with our white cabinets it suddenly looked a little too dark. What about rubbing it down with some mineral spirits and rags? Will that lighten it, or should I just try sanding? Also, should I be in a big rush to get the waterlox on it to prevent warping? It is 1 3/4 think and 3 feet by 7 feet. Thanks for the advice to waterlox all the sides. I will do that!

    Bookmark   September 4, 2011 at 3:13PM
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Walnut can darken dramatically with the application of oil or oil-based finish. However, it is one of the few woods that will lighten in color over time. (over months to years)

No telling what the "stain" will do because you don't indicate what stain type or color you've applied. But most stains, too, are light fugitive (over years).

    Bookmark   September 4, 2011 at 5:15PM
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Well, I tried the mineral spirits with absolutely no affect. I decided to just leave it the way it is. My husband loves the darker color. I think I just need a minute to get used to it. I tried the Waterlox on a spot on the bottom and it looks really pretty. Good to know it will lighten in time and not get darker!

    Bookmark   September 4, 2011 at 6:37PM
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