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Thread: Walnut/Sapwood

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Central, PA
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    219

    Walnut/Sapwood

    I want to stain walnut because I don’t want it to lighten over time. But I want to keep some of the sapwood. Any suggestions will be appreciated.
    Ed Gibbons

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    WNY
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    5,476
    Not trying to be a wise guy, but don't stain the sapwood. Alternatively, you can apply neutral stain base to the sapwood, then your pigmented stain to the heartwood, and then wipe everything off in the normal manner, being careful not to wipe the pigmented stain over the sapwood. Another option is to apply a couple of coats of sealer to the sapwood and then stain it.

    John

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Central, PA
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    219
    A ”wise” suggestion” John. Thanks.

  4. #4
    i have found that watco medium walnut does an excellent job evening out tones in walnut, sap and heart. it's subtle, but imparts just enough pigment to darken the wood a bit without obscuring the grain.

  5. #5
    As another alternative to John's very good suggestion, you could consider glazing in lieu of (or in addition to) staining. Glazing is the traditional method for evening out tones in wood, usually to make a lighter area darker for blending in. In your case you could do the opposite and glaze the darker area only to increase the contrast and preserve the lighter sapwood.

    If you're not familiar with it, glazing is basically the application of a (usually) thick pigment applied over already sealed wood, then wiped off or blended with a dry brush to your taste. It's a lot of fun and safe because it's reversible in the sense that you can wipe off all of it before it cures if you are not happy with the look. There is a lot of info online on how to do it.
    Edwin
    Last edited by Edwin Santos; 01-07-2019 at 1:14 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    460
    Seal the sapwood with 1lb shellac then stain away.

  7. #7
    I am not a woodworker that appreciates seeing sap wood in a project. When my father was alive, he made the base for a china cabinet for my mother. He passed away before he could make the upper half to hold all the dishes. As a gift for my mother, I decided to make the upper portion of the cabinet using the same tooling that my father had used. The project went well until I reached the time to make the full width back panel for the upper cabinet out of walnut. I found that I didn't have enough material to make the entire panel without using a couple of pieces that had some sap wood along one edge. I searched around my Father's shop and located a can of walnut sap wood stain. I tested that stain on some scraps, being careful not to get any on the darker walnut. When I was done, you could no longer tell where the sap wood was, so I used it on the back panel of the cabinet. That was over 15 years ago. As the cabinet has aged, the stained areas and the unstained areas have changed color and still match. I don't know any source for that type of stain.

    However, I have been told that you can crush walnut husks and squeeze out the liquid and use it as a stain. This liquid will stain your hands dark and it is nearly impossible to remove (DAMHIKT). My grandfather, who was a carpenter, told me that he often used this liquid to stain walnut sap wood to match the old growth. I have never tried this.

    Bear in mind that even stained walnut will get lighter colored with exposure to light.
    Last edited by Lee Schierer; 01-10-2019 at 11:30 PM.
    Lee Schierer
    USNA- '71
    Captain USN(Ret)

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