Help with Waterlox Original


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We're hoping you can help. We are putting in walnut counters in the kitchen and have read every page of the Waterlox site for help and problem solving. We're still stumped as to why we are getting this strange pitting, or waves in the finish. This is after four (4) coats of Original Sealer/Finish. We were hoping to see it smooth out by now. We really have done everything right from the beginning!

Counter Coat#4.jpg

Counter pitting Coat#4.jpg

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From that picture i can see the the grain of the walnut is absorbing the finish and as it cures it shrinks slightly and forms a depression. Walnut is a coarser grained wood and if you want a glass smooth finish you will need to fill the pores.

There are many ways to do this but most of them you do before you apply the first coat of finish. Where you are at the best way to finish filling in the pores would be to sand the finish back some. Not a lot because you don't want to go through into the wood but enough to smooth the surface. Then apply another coat of finish. You may need to do this a couple times.

I would use a high grit of sand paper and a random orbit sander to accomplish this probably 400 git. The finish must be well cured before you can do this likely 5-7 days.

This is one piece of advice there are other options and I hope my fellow forum mates chime in and mention techniques I haven't thought of.

Your other option is to live with it. Filling the pores is something you don't need to do. It is all aesthetic and to taste. Most of my walnut furniture gets 4 coats of a very thin polyurthane. I personally like it because i feel like pore filling till the surface is smooth makes the top look like it's just plastic. Nice looking plastic, but still plastic.

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Thank you all! We will try to sand a bit more as suggested but will also keep in mind that it's simply the grain. This is our first ever woodworking project so every photo we looked at from Waterlox showed a complete glassy and smooth finish.  We've been trying to "fix" something that is likely not broken. 


And we steered away from the epoxy fad because we previously did not want the plastic look.  


Thanks again!! Glad I found this forum. 

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I have used lots of waterlox sealer. I love the finish. I don't fill the open grain. Some do. Matter of preference. But I do not like waterlox in a plumbing area. Also the number of coats you have is maximum. A year or 2 later it can become gummy if it is too much. It is a good base coat for a varnish. I like General armor seal semi gloss oil. Another matter of preference. I use waterlox with 3 or 4 coats for non plumbing areas. 

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I think it's looks great in your photo. Wood is a natural medium, and should maintain some of it's natural appeal!

I made a walnut countertop about 10 years ago, and I finished it with 4 coats of salad bowl finish.

After it cures, you could always wax it to get a wonderful "touch factor".

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