Re: What to use to get the natural wood look
Excellent story, it would certainly be a shame to cover up old walnut and lose the character. Interestingly if it had been inside an old stall, it may have been "fumed" by ammonia that develops from animal urine, which is another "old timey" method of wood finishing to bring out character. It's another thing that works great for white oak and other grainy high-tannin woods, have a look at any "Gustav Stickley Craftsman" furniture and you will see how the ammonia fuming was used to bring out "ray fleck" in quarter sawn white oak, it is a signature look.
Originally Posted by AR1
IMHO using antique walnut for super boxes seems like a waste though, since it'll certainly degrade some over time, and you don't get to see it very often. Might be better to use on a piece of indoor something, where you can put a wood stamp or a photo of your grandfather on the back. And try to find something instead of linseed oil, as that tends to impart a yellow color. Beautiful old walnut that gets colored by yellowish linseed oil is a crime, but tung or danish don't change the color so much. Be sure to prep the surface carefully, staining a rough surface is another way to turn a good product bad.
Finally, I definitely recommend some kind of sealer that soaks in, not just lays on the top, for outdoor products like our woodenware. This is one reason I don't care for shellac or spar, since they form a sort of hard coating that breaks down and cracks eventually due to UV rays and water migration. The water-sealer I use mostly soaks in (keep applying until it doesn't soak in any more) and then doesn't really make a hard top, so it doesn't crack. We shall see regarding durability and UV resistance eventually, but so far with 1 gallon I've covered dozens of supers, and I still probably have 1/2 gallon left. Using tung or danish oil or linseed oil works, but each of those impart some off-colors, and it takes a lot of "hand rubbing" to get a really nice look. This stuff you can just slather it on and it doesn't run, since it soaks in or runs off, doesn't leave drips.
Regardless good luck, try some experiments before you risk your hard work to a new staining method!
USDA 6a, 8 frame equipment