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Thread: what your finish schedule for Sapele?

  1. #1
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    what your finish schedule for Sapele?

    A piece of Sapele spoke to me last week and ended up in my truck. I'm going to use it for an entryway table top. The table base is metal, something my wife commissioned years ago.

    The table top doesn't get any wear, it just has a few pretty things on top of it, so durability isn't very important.

    I don't want to darken the piece much if any more than it is, but wouldn't mind accentuating the grain a little.

    Before I start my own experiments, I was curious what others have used on Sapele.

    FWIW, my go-to finish is Arm-R-Seal, but I have some GF poly, tung oil, and BLO on the shelf.

    Cheers,
    Mark McFarlane

  2. #2
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    Mark, I made some Sapele doors to match the trim in a house. I was trying to match the color so this may not be what you are after, but the process should work for nearly any color, including natural. I first sprayed the raw wood with yellow Transtint dye, then Sealcoat shellac, and then my topcoats of GF's EnduroVar.





    John

  3. #3
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    For kitchen cabinet refacing in the last house I used GF Endurovar. We moved a little over a year later and it held up to typical kitchen cabinet wear and tear. But the sapele darkened a bit, especially where the sun hit the directly during the day. I don't anything is going to prevent sapele from darkening.

    This was taken in progress


    This was just before we moved
    “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness..." - Mark Twain

    Diapers and Politicians need to be changed often... Usually for the same reason.

  4. #4
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    Thanks John and Julie for sharing. I don't mind if it darkens a bit, in fact I was a little surprised at how much it lightened up when I milled it. It went from a creamy amber-chocolate color to something closer to slightly aged white oak when I planed it.

    FYI, the QS board of Sapele I initially purchased ended up having black stains that went all the way through the 4/4 boards. The black stains looked like something stickering on iron would make. I thought it was surficial, so I jointed and thicknessed and the stain was still there, so I resawed 1/8" and then 1/4" and the stain was still in the middle of the board. The stain was much lighter, but it still made the wood unusable for the project at hand.

    The dealer let me exchange the board (which I returned in 5 milled pieces) for a new board that didn't have any stains. The only downside there was the 2 hour round trip drive.

    This is my first experience of lumber showing a stain all the way through it.
    Mark McFarlane

  5. #5
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    Thanks everyone for the help. I ended up using the following schedule:

    1) 2 light coats of rattle-less can shellac
    2) GF Antique Walnut gel stain
    3) 3 coats Arm R Seal semi
    2) 2 coats Arm R Seal satin

    Happy with the results. I really like this wood.

    This was originally going to be an afternoon project, but the 16 finishing sample boards took a week.

    Thanks again
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by mark mcfarlane; 03-14-2019 at 9:29 AM.
    Mark McFarlane

  6. #6
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    That turned out nice, Mark. Matches well with the metal base. Kudos to your wife as well!

  7. #7
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    I'm about to finish a bench made of Sapele. I going to try 3 test pieces before committing. Straight Osmo PolyX, Osmo oil with Jatoba tint, and what Darrel Peart does with his furniture, brown orange stain, following by Sam Maloof's oil.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Carlson View Post
    I'm about to finish a bench made of Sapele. I going to try 3 test pieces before committing. Straight Osmo PolyX, Osmo oil with Jatoba tint, and what Darrel Peart does with his furniture, brown orange stain, following by Sam Maloof's oil.
    Mark, it would be nice to see what you end up with if you have time to post a pic when you finish. I'll definitely be doing more work in Sapele in the future.
    Mark McFarlane

  9. #9
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    Mark, that regimen gave you a very nice look with the gel stain accentuating the pore structure, etc. Great job!
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    Mark, that regimen gave you a very nice look with the gel stain accentuating the pore structure, etc. Great job!
    That was the strategy. Nice that it worked. I slightly preferred sanding the board after applying the gel stain, but it is challenging to do that evenly across a top this large, so this schedule got second place yet was the winner.
    Mark McFarlane

  11. #11
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    Mark, one thing I didn’t mention because I haven’t done this with Sapele, but a lot with mahogany, is start with a dark brown or reddish brown grain filler. I first give the piece a shellac wash coat, then filler, sand, 2nd filler, then sand, then seal with shellac and on to the finish coats. It does a nice job highlighting the pore without adding color to the main wood field.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Mueller View Post
    Mark, one thing I didn’t mention because I haven’t done this with Sapele, but a lot with mahogany, is start with a dark brown or reddish brown grain filler. I first give the piece a shellac wash coat, then filler, sand, 2nd filler, then sand, then seal with shellac and on to the finish coats. It does a nice job highlighting the pore without adding color to the main wood field.
    Thanks Phil, that is exactly the look I was going for, I'll try yours on the next project .
    Mark McFarlane

  13. #13
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    Very nice.

    I hope the dog doesn't put his paws on it. Looks like he wouldn't have far to reach.
    Regards,

    Kris

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kris Cook View Post
    Very nice.

    I hope the dog doesn't put his paws on it. Looks like he wouldn't have far to reach.
    Yep, Abbie is a Great Dane puppy rescue. Still growing. She can reach from the front of the table over the back of it without lifting a paw. We're babysitting her.

    She keeps lying her head on the kitchen counter when I'm making something, a very different experience from my 15 pound dog. She's fairly well behaved, but still under training, and came from a rescue home where she was spoiled. Has a small heart valve problem. I don't know if the original owner knew of the heart problem, or it is quite possible they couldn't afford to feed her. 8 cups a day is our target for her. Our little dog eats that much in 2 weeks.
    Mark McFarlane

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