Finishing Schedule and Photo: Shellac Washcoat and Mahogany Toner on Poplar

      Here's a picture of some finished Poplar moulding, with the recipe that got it there. October 3, 2007

Here's a picture of my final finish - looks a lot like clear coated mahogany! (With a nc lacquer, of course.)

My final schedule was:
sand to 180
bleach with 2 part liquid
light sand with 220
shellac washcoat (5%)
Zar custom mixed oil wiping stain (spayed on/wiped off immediately)
lac sealer coat
2 toner coats with Mohawk NGR Ultra Light Red Mahogany in diluted lac mix
topcoat with n/c lac
topcoat with n/c lac with a small amount of Zar cherry wiping stain (unmixed and strained through doubled paper towels to filter out most of the pigment - I needed just a hint of orange to tweak final color)
topcoat with n/c lac x 3

A lot of work for me (learning curve thing), but I'm happy with final results. Thanks for the time and generosity from this forum - it would take so much longer without the experience here!

Click here for higher quality, full size image

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor L:
Looks good. Sounds like a lot of work. Maybe cheaper to just start with mahogany and clear coat it.

From contributor R:
Looks good to me too! Nice work for poplar... but if only your client would ante up for mahogany, your life would be so much simpler. But your bank account may be fuller as a result of so much time and effort spent on achieving the desired effect.

I do a lot of on-site finish work for builders that don't want to spend the extra money to complete a library or a set of bookcases in one species of wood, and then want all the different wood types to match and blend together... I just don't get it.

From the original questioner:
You're right about using the mahogany from the start! I was not trying to do that (imitate mahogany, but now I know I can and that is a nice trick to have in my arsenal). Actually was just trying to get the right tone. I was matching some maple casing that was stained reddish brown/tan. I got the overall color/tone right - just the poplar is so much more porous and even though I used a washcoat, I still got too much pigment in the pores. I'm learning and that was a long frustrating lesson.

From contributor B:
Nice color. One of the things about poplar, cottonwood, magnolia, and gum is that they satin so well. That is why they have been used in furniture for a couple of centuries.

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