Gdubs97

Newbie. Finishing questions about walnut table and solid cherry mantel

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I have attached two photos of the wood I'm looking to finish. The cherry mantel is 8' long by 8" deep and 3" thick. I have been browsing this site and I think my best bet (ease of use and quality finish) is to use arm r seal.  Any comments on this?  How many coats?  Sand between coats?  How long should I wait?  Right now its sanded to 220 all around. 

This other piece is going to be my dining table. It's a 2" thick walnut slab. I have someone that can sand this whole slab down for me to whatever grit I tell him and I'm confident I can finish it if I'm given direction. I have a steel guy that I use so he will make the U shaped legs of no 4 finish stainless steel 1" x 3". 

Im thinking about using Sam maloofs poly oil finish.  I have seen the finished product on various slabs and they use the same combination of tung oil polyurethane and linseed oil and I like it a lot.  I'm thinking five coats of the Sam maloofs product and then two or three coats of wipe on poly.  Do you have any suggestions for this?  Am I sanding with a fine grit between every coat? This is a very expensive slab so I don't want to mess this up. At the same time I want to be able to say I worked on this table  that is going to be a part of my family. 

I just cannot see paying someone $3,000 to finish this slab when I can do it myself with some guidance  also, I plan on coating both of these in my garage which is pretty cold  as I'm located in the Northeast. 

Thanks ahead of time

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Welcome to the forum and nice walnut slab. For me having 3 kids, ars wouldn't cut it for protection on a dining table. I'd go with water lox. Issue is that it's quite expensive and stinks to high hell until fully cured but it is done tough stuff. 

Sanding between coats is normally a good thing but it's not like a bar wood sanding. More of a gentle touch up to remove any weird did or dust that settled in before curing.

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Five finish coats is a lot of work.  The only reason I would use that many coats is if I was going for a glass smooth finish where you can't fell the grain.  With the right product you should not need that much to protect your surface.  ARS wipe on would be great for your mantle - say 2 or three coats wipe on wipe off with a rag. sand lightly between coats.  You could use the same for the table.  If you want to build up some thickness on the table, I have applies ARS with a sponge applicator with great success (practice first).  Just apply liberally all over the surface (you can even pour it on then spread it around with a foam applicator - its faster Then finish the coat with full length continuous overlapping strokes the grain with a 3" wide sponge brush. Dab the excess off the sponge at the end of each stroke.  Then walk away. It's quick and easy - entire table top in less then 5 minutes.  Have a light source positioned so the you can easily see any missed spots and correct as you go

I sand lightly with 400g between coats.

I have tried making my own Sam Maloof formula once and had a very long drying time.

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The only time I've ever gone to that much trouble with a finish was for a small box, which I coated many time with danish oil, sanding wet with 600 grit on each coat. The result is a wonderfully buttery tactility, but there is almost no protection for the wood. For a table that sees any use at all, a good build of poly is the absolute minimum I would recommend.

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On 2/27/2017 at 7:44 PM, Brendon_t said:

 

Welcome to the forum and nice walnut slab. For me having 3 kids, ars wouldn't cut it for protection on a dining table. I'd go with water lox. Issue is that it's quite expensive and stinks to high hell until fully cured but it is done tough stuff. 

Sanding between coats is normally a good thing but it's not like a bar wood sanding. More of a gentle touch up to remove any weird did or dust that settled in before curing.

Thanks. I was actually told to coat with 2-3 coats of Waterlox after I do the 5 coats of th Sam maloof formula. I don't want it looking like a thick layer (bar counter like) but I don't want to feel the wood grain either. 

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On 2/27/2017 at 7:53 PM, Ronn W said:

Five finish coats is a lot of work.  The only reason I would use that many coats is if I was going for a glass smooth finish where you can't fell the grain.  With the right product you should not need that much to protect your surface.  ARS wipe on would be great for your mantle - say 2 or three coats wipe on wipe off with a rag. sand lightly between coats.  You could use the same for the table.  If you want to build up some thickness on the table, I have applies ARS with a sponge applicator with great success (practice first).  Just apply liberally all over the surface (you can even pour it on then spread it around with a foam applicator - its faster Then finish the coat with full length continuous overlapping strokes the grain with a 3" wide sponge brush. Dab the excess off the sponge at the end of each stroke.  Then walk away. It's quick and easy - entire table top in less then 5 minutes.  Have a light source positioned so the you can easily see any missed spots and correct as you go

I sand lightly with 400g between coats.

I have tried making my own Sam Maloof formula once and had a very long drying time.

 

On 2/27/2017 at 8:17 PM, wtnhighlander said:

The only time I've ever gone to that much trouble with a finish was for a small box, which I coated many time with danish oil, sanding wet with 600 grit on each coat. The result is a wonderfully buttery tactility, but there is almost no protection for the wood. For a table that sees any use at all, a good build of poly is the absolute minimum I would recommend.

But what if I do the Sam maloof coats and then the protection coats on top?  Like waterlox?

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At this point I have to ask why you need a sealer at all.  Both cheer and walnut a relative close grained and you should be able to apply any finish directly. 

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Grab a few tester boards of walnut and go through your exact finish schedule with a few different mixes,no corners cut and take notes. I'd be willing to bet you decide against 8 costs of anything.  

For me, 3 coats of arm R Seal is the max number of coats that I think still looks natural. More and I see a thick finish.

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Putting poly on top defeats the purpose of the 'Maloof' finish process, as far as I see. The color is effectively the same, but you would loose the silky feel. Maybe@Eric. will pop in. I recall him mentioning a relatively simple application of ARS that produces a silky surface.

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1 hour ago, Ronn W said:

At this point I have to ask why you need a sealer at all.  Both cheer and walnut a relative close grained and you should be able to apply any finish directly. 

I have no clue at all. That's why I'm on here. Trying to learn what I should do. 

1 hour ago, Brendon_t said:

Grab a few tester boards of walnut and go through your exact finish schedule with a few different mixes,no corners cut and take notes. I'd be willing to bet you decide against 8 costs of anything.  

For me, 3 coats of arm R Seal is the max number of coats that I think still looks natural. More and I see a thick finish.

That sounds like a great idea. Now to find walnut test boards that don't cost too much. 

24 minutes ago, wtnhighlander said:

Putting poly on top defeats the purpose of the 'Maloof' finish process, as far as I see. The color is effectively the same, but you would loose the silky feel. Maybe@Eric. will pop in. I recall him mentioning a relatively simple application of ARS that produces a silky surface.

I do want a silky surface. I noticed rockler site suggests to use Sam Maloof Oil/Wax after their oil poly mix. 

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13 minutes ago, Gdubs97 said:

 

That sounds like a great idea. Now to find walnut test boards that don't cost too much. 

 

It'll all be cheaper than screwing up that big slab. 

Waterlox is a beautiful and tough finish without all the other crap over or under it.

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All the above are basically on the same track.  Test boards for finishes are wonderfull things.  IF you haven't done one before I suggest that you find a piece 3 to 6" wide and about 12" long. If you are doing a total of 3 coats, divide the length into 4 roughly equal parts.  Sand the whole board as you plan to in the finished piece.  Then tape of the first section and leave it bare.  Apply the first coat to the remaining sections.  Let dry. Sand (if you plan to sand between coats - lightly with 220 or finer).  Then mask of the second part and apply the second coat to the reaminder. Rinse and repeat. When you are done you will be able to see the results of each step of your process.  Don't forget to label each section for future reference.  I have a couple of dozen sample boards from previous projects.  It's a nice reference to have.

If you are not sure what product(s) you want to use, make 2 boards and them compare the results vs the ease of each system.  When I did my first super high gloss project it took me 4 boards to arrive at my decision.

Good luck and, above all have fun.

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Here is the finished product. I ended up having someone finish it. They did use arm r seal. He said I could use anything to clean it up and he was spraying some cheap orange wood cleaner. Any comments on that?

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Looks like zebrawood.

The finish looks good.  I hope you didn't pay money to have that done for you...because it's cake to apply.  It's a novice finish and easy to execute, even your first time.  You should try it yourself on the next one. :)

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Do not use orange cleaner, windex, all that other crap. Just a damp cloth and a little dish soap for times of greasy mess. Make sure you wipe table dry after cleaning. 

 

-Ace-

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46 minutes ago, AceHoleInOne said:

THanks for the response.  I appreciate it  

Do not use orange cleaner, windex, all that other crap. Just a damp cloth and a little dish soap for times of greasy mess. Make sure you wipe table dry after cleaning. 

 

-Ace-

 

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Table has marks on it when I put a plate down without even moving it etc. One end of the table has a decent sized area that just feels rough. The person that did my table kept telling me he was on 6 or 7 coats of the arm r deal but I don't think he did enough. What's your take?  Disappointing because he said he would fix it right away and then disappeared and doesn't return texts or calls. Obviously he doesn't stand behind his work. Should I just lightly sand and give another coat?  I bought a gallon of arm r seal and will do the Cherry mantel myself.   Thanks

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Smooth up the surface with Scotch Brite pads (maroon & grey ) or 320/400 grit sandpaper, wipe clean and recoat is your most practical path. Tougher film building finishes aren't as sensitive to heat , abrasion and moisture. So it's a trade off.

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Make sure you give the finish enough time to let it cure before using it.  A plate should not leave a mark in ARM-R Seal.

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So I am doing a similar project, finishing a cherry dinning table.  Going back and forth between ARS and Waterlox.  I am guessing the plate marks listed above was caused by the ARS not being given enough time to cure between coats.  I am leaning towards Waterlox because it seems easier to fix if my kids mess up the surface.  Are they both basically modified tung oil?

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Welcome!

I've had ARS finish on my desk for 2.5 years with plates, cold water cups, hot coffee cups, and a lot of abuse from my kids and none of it has left marks that are visible in normal use. I'm sure I could find some scratches if I looked with a magnifying glass, but it's been very tough in my experience. Ive only used waterlox on a low-wear item, so I can't compare them.

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Thanks!

I bought the table on craigs list a few years ago for almost nothing, it's marked vt wood studios.  The grain is gorgeous.  I stripped it because the previous owner attempted to add stain and water poly with a bad result.  I used wipe on poly but never liked the plastic feel and my kids and cats have scratched it.  I have read a tung oil based finish will be easier to maintain and will not require stripping to repair.  Any thoughts?

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I have a wiping poly on my dining table. just make sure to do 4-5 coats to get the finish thick enough.

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