Winner! Walnut Bench

By Dr. T. in Algonquin, IL.

Winning Category

I milled this custom bench out of 8 quater walnut and sprayed 2 coats of Behlen Hickory Dye.  The 8 quarter was much darker than the 6 quarter after running them through the 12inch DeWalt Planer, but I am happy with the final product.  I did not want to risk having too much overlap and spill marks using a rag to dye, so spraying was much more effective in getting the results I wanted.  I originally purchased the American Walnut color by Behlen, but was disappointed as it was much more red than walnut is naturally.  The Hickory seemed to match the walnut color I was seeking much better.  I implemented the best products available to create a seamless match with the maple chair seats.   I added three coats of Old Masters Wood Grain Filler on the table top and it created a super smooth finish.  I used one coat on the bench and chair seats as I wanted it to be rougher than the table top.  I used Behlen's dye to color the walnut and maple seats as I did not want to have any fading from the sun on this wood.  Behlen dye has a UV protective in the solution to keep the color as is.  The match was nearly perfect, but took a few more coats on the seats to get a similar blend of color.  General Finishes Arm R Seal Gloss and Satin were used on the bench, tabletop and seats.  The ArmRSeal really popped the grain on the walnut.  I can not be more happy with the results.  I added the dye and sprayed 1 coat of the gloss, then the 3 layers of grain filler.  It is worth mentioning, reading the instructions on the can, I did sand up to 320 then applied the dye and ArmRSeal gloss on the table top.  I felt this did a better finish then following the sanding suggestion on the can.  I followed the directions on the can when I was building the bench and the finish was not as impressive as the tabletop.  This may have been because I used less of the grain filler, and this is not saying it looked bad, it just was not as smooth as the tabletop.  I also added some mineral spirits as the gloss seemed to dry much smoother.  The can instructions seem to guide you to apply by hand, but I sprayed all of the dye and all of the finishes at about 25 psi with a gravity feed gun.  Husky was the brand I used.  I feel more comfortable using the gun on such a large project, and the most expensive project I have done.  Overall the General Finishes products were fanastic on the walnut.  I used dye on the walnut as I did not want to color the wood, but enhance and try to keep it the brownish color it was when I milled it.  Regardless of what you read and get sold on, the walnut color does fade in the sun and will turn blonde very quickly.  The Behlen dye also did not raise any of the grain as other dyes have a tendency to do.  It seemed that the combo of the dye and the General Finishes ArmRSeal kept the original beauty of the wood, and did not make the project look plastic once completed.     

Project Category

WoodworkingChairs & Benches

Products Used

  • General Finishes ArmRSeal Gloss
  • General Finishes ArmRSeal Satin
  • Old Masters Wood Grain Filler
  • Behlen Dye and Reducer Hickory Color

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