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finishing walnut

Tyler Member

Is there a finish or treatment one can finish walnut with to prevent the wood from turning the patina color it normally turns to with age, keeping the original color?

12/27/14       #2: finishing walnut ...
Robert Member

Doubt it. Humans have been trying to halt the aging process ever since water was deemed a liquid. Best they could come up with was to slooooooooow the inevitable; but to completely prevent it......nope.

12/27/14       #3: finishing walnut ...
Denny J

Total darkness

12/28/14       #4: finishing walnut ...
Scott Marshburn  Member


The patina is what makes woods like walnut and cherry such a sought after wood. Most of the time customers want us to speed up this proses not slow it down.

12/28/14       #5: finishing walnut ...

staining it (pigmented stains will protect best against UV's and a thin pale grey stain made with white pigment or just a white stain should work...make samples until you find the look you want) and then finish it with a non yellowing clear (Target's 9000 or 7000 come to mind). This should keep the darkening at least for awhile.

12/28/14       #6: finishing walnut ...
Paul Snyder  Member


As it ages, walnut gets lighter and more orange in color. If you want to keep it brown, stain it.

The piece of walnut in the picture is from a 40 year old table. That's the color you expect to see from aged walnut.

View higher quality, full size image (480 X 640)

12/28/14       #7: finishing walnut ...
Robert Member

Staining will only sloooooow it down but it will not prevent a color change which is what Tyler is asking. Nice photo though; Walnut looks beautiful when Mother Nature takes over.

12/28/14       #8: finishing walnut ...
Paul Snyder  Member


I understood the question and agree with your reply... you cannot stop wood from oxidizing with age and changing color. I didn't mean to imply staining stopped wood from oxidizing if that's how you interpreted my response.

What I did intend was to offer the OP a way to keep the wood color brown if that is his goal. Applying a "walnut" pigmented stain will keep the wood looking brown as it ages. The wood will have orange highlights, but will appear brown thanks to the stain.

Tyler - what is your goal?

12/28/14       #9: finishing walnut ...
Robert Member

OH no, I didn't misinterpret I was simply answering the question that Tyler asked, that's all . That however is a real nice picture of how Walnut ages.

12/28/14       #10: finishing walnut ...
Tyler Member

My customer likes the color of walnut as when constructed and would like it to stay this way as long as they can. I was wondering if a clear stain might help prevent the walnut from turning the patina color or if anyone had any ideas on this subject.

12/28/14       #11: finishing walnut ...
Scott Marshburn  Member


Hi Tyler.
Here is a photo of the seat of a chair that I made for my daughter 9 years ago. The finish that I used was Hydrocote Danish Oil Finish Medium Walnut. I put 3 or 4 coats rubbing it in with a fine scotch bright pad. Letting it dry overnight then scuffing between each coat. After that I used a bee’s wax to polish it out.

View higher quality, full size image (1280 X 853)

12/29/14       #12: finishing walnut ...
Denny J

I would think the best shot at keeping a uniform color over the long haul would be to have a toner mixed to your target color and spray that on the wood, then clear over the toner. As long as the toner sits on top of the wood it should act as a barrier of sorts. ICA CNA stains would also be a good choice as they are WB, non yellowing and are very finely ground pigments that should build a layer of color on the wood.

12/29/14       #14: finishing walnut ...

Does anyone have advice for aging new walnut to look that?

12/29/14       #15: finishing walnut ...
Paul Snyder  Member


Tyler, you can't stop the wood from changing color as it ages, but you can slow it down by using a finish that contains UV inhibitors.

The alternative is to stain the wood a color close to it's current natural color.

DJW - expose the finished wood to direct sunlight for a couple weeks - that will give the color change a good push. Time will do the rest.

12/30/14       #16: finishing walnut ...

I once had boards of all the species with the common stains represented in five by five inch sections along each piece. I happened to hang them next to the roll-up door next to the spray booth where they recieved full afternoon sun. The walnut board bleached out entirely on the natural section and the stained portions were much lighter, but the sample of boiled linseed oil, although lighter with age, kept some color and was beautiful. I believe that oiling walnut will help it to retain its color.

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