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Thread: Help fixing Watco DO finish

  1. #1

    Help fixing Watco DO finish

    Hi there. Ran into some issues with a black walnut counter top I’m finishing, hoping someone here can provide some thoughts/insights on my plan to unwind it.

    To provide context, I decided to use Watco DO (black walnut color) and a wet sanding application. I flooded the counter, let it sit for 5-10 mins, wet sanded with 120, let it sit for 30-60 mins, wet sanded with 120 again, let it sit overnight (slurry on), wet it down with the DO again 24 hrs later, sanded with 220, and wiped off all the slurry and finish (just finished).

    There are two issues I’m encountering. First, the watco went on much darker than anticipated, so the finish overall is overly dark (lacking the separation I was looking for between sap and heartwood). Yes, likely from not wiping off the slurry the first day which I should have foreseen, but the DO didn’t seem that dark/thick. Second, I’ve got some dark mottling/patching, which I assume is just dried/stubborn DO that didn’t free up with the 220 sanding.

    Right now the countertop is fully wiped down (nothing coming off when I wipe with clean rags) in my garage drying. My plan is to let it dry/cure a bit (48-72 hrs) and then sand it with 320 followed by a sanding of 600 (no more DO). My thinking is that the sanding will loosen up/remove the persistent DO and some of the top layer coloring while leaving the pore filler and penetrated stain, resulting in an overall lightening/differentiation (remove some of the top layer of the DO).

    I assume I could also give it a light wipe with some thinner or mineral spirits to take off some of the DO before it cures, but I dont like the potential unevenness of that fix.
    Thoughts? Other ideas? Appreciate any help.

    Thank,
    Rt

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Michiana
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    I use Watco DO quite often, but avoid the tinted versions. I find the suspended pigment solids always give me uneven results. If I'm going to stain the wood, I use stain or dye. All that said, I would have expected your sanding process to have evened things out. I might try a wipedown with mineral spirits to get any surface accumulation off, followed by a couple days of drying time. Then sand to 320 grit and follow with Natural DO. After a couple more days hit it with a quality paste wax.

    Here's a couple examples of Watco Natural DO and wax on Black Walnut



    Sharp solves all manner of problems.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Columbia MO and Howard County MO
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    I agree with Rob Luter. Watco has been trusted for years. The tinted versions are a fairly new development, at least around here. I do like the tinted versions for soft woods that won't be rubbed. For me an appeal of Watco is the ability to freshen the finish over the years.
    Best Regards, Maurice

  4. #4
    Thanks for the feedback and tips guys, much appreciated. I mean, the finish isn't terrible... and it's more even than I probably make it sound. The issue is just that it came out much darker than I wanted overall (I was shooting for better contrast between heart and sap) and there are a couple of spots that formed those undesirable "black holes" (assuming accumulated/cured/persistent DO).

    Interesting on the tinted versions, I didn't realize those were such a recent development. I'll try a soft wipe down with thinner and then plan to sand it back a little with 320/600. While I don't think that will "lighten" things that much since its a penetrating oil, I'm assuming it'll lighten it a little by removing the top layers and the accumulations as well as smoothing out the finish.

    Fyi, below are a couple of photos of the project before and after staining to give you a sense of what I'm working with.

    IMG_2545_mod.jpgIMG_2546.jpg

    IMG_2548.jpg

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    That Walnut has lots of character. I think it looks cool. I would try a coat of natural Watco and rub with scotchbrite.
    Best Regards, Maurice

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Maurice Mcmurry View Post
    That Walnut has lots of character. I think it looks cool. I would try a coat of natural Watco and rub with scotchbrite.
    Yeah, it's funny, some of the counter came out REALLY nice... a little darker than I would have liked, but still really nice patterning. The front left 10' or so specifically. I went through a whole stack of black walnut 6/4 to find those pieces and custom patched a punky knot hole to make it all work, so hopefully I can tweak my way to what I'm looking for in the finish. Crossing my fingers, I'll post the result when I get it done.

    Thanks,
    rt

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