Wenge/Ash Body Finishing Plan -- Will This Work?

cleaning up last post to clarify and bump....

Did some experimenting with some ash test scraps, getting a feel for different steps and processes.

Im really questioning the necessity, in this application, about worrying about  grain fill, since im keeping with a pretty natural look for both the wenge and the ash. On the other hand, I do want to protect form humidity changes, shrinkage/warpage etc. and general durability.

So a main question now is  do I need to grain to fill for protective purposes, or is it a strictly aesthetic choice, since no paint or poly is being used?

I'm also wondering -- since some posts  here and elsewhere advocate not finishing wenge at all -- of just dry sanding it to 2000 grit and micromeshing it further, then a few coats of the Danish oil for a final protective sheen. Any pros/cons to this approach, considering the protective concerns mentioned above?

Could  such an approach also work for the ash, with the last oil coats being tinted?

thanks all for looking at this thread again....
Ok, so im finally revisiting this  project!
decided to start  on the ash side; after some test scraps, i did a some Cabot pre-stain conditioner followed by a very light coat of Cabot dark walnut stain, wiped off pretty quickly. Its nice --- makes the grain pop a bit and a nice overall hue without it being too strong, though i can tell from test scraps if i did it thicker or another coat it would complement the tones in the wenge pretty well. Drying pretty good so far, though i see i missed a tiny spot. Did it about 12 hours ago.

Was  planning on a Watco Danish oil finish , but im open to other hand applied possibilities ( not set up for spray).


Have a number of options to play with at this point, especially since the stain color  is pretty light at this stage:

A) grain fill w/clear, sand, restain. This could could give me some flexibility  for final options; may be a Zinser bullseye shellac?

B) oil slurry with Watco Danish oil --- i have  cans of  natural  and  dark walnut, but may want to go with something amberish? will do some testing.

this is a cool stage with some creative possibilites.... y'all chime in, please!    :headbang:  making a trip to Lowe's later in the day...
after this stage, I took a different approach this week, and decided to grain fill slightly via the shellac and sand back method, as detailed on this article I found:

got the Bullseye amber and really loved the color; of course its all sanded back now !

Nice thing about this trick is the drying time: i got the level fill i wanted in about two nights.
I've sanded back, up to 600 grit, but its taken off some of the dark walnut stain and there is a tad bit of unevenness where some of the shellac remains, but not bad - i actually think it looks kind of interesting, as its very subtle, not blotchy.

have a few options at this point:
A) another quick light  brush of stain to soften the white that i sanded back down to, then  do the actual finishing with the shellac;
B) as above, but skip the stain;
C) forge ahead with either  the dark walnut or natural Watco Danish oil. could i add a final  topcoat of shellac after that?

for the 'dark side', that wenge is just  such a nice feel and look, that i think ill just sand  and burnish the raw wood through all the micromesh levels and call it a day, but i am considering to top that off with on or two coats of  either the matrual watco or a clear shellac, just as a protector.

update: tried finish it off with just the shellac, but it was much too orange, so i sanded that off with denatured alcohol and 320; consideriing it just another time consuming layer of grain fill :)

Then  did a couple of layers of stain to soften the white, then went with the Watco danish oil... I have about 3 to 5 coats on it.Did the first few about  4 to 6 hours apart or so, the other s about 24 hours in between.I know the first few are  longer than then can's  specified drying time, but not quite as long as some of the other times recommended here. However, since I did NOT do the "flood and wait 30 minutes then wipe excess" process, but rather the "semi French polish with oil" approach i've read about here and elsewhere, i figured it would be ample enough. The technique was  to put the oil on a rag or paper towel and rub it in fairly strongly as i went, rather than just wiping it on and letting it sit -- in essence wiping off the excess as i went. If it got uneven or weird, i'd control or thin with a rag dipped in mineral spirits.

it's been a bout a week since i did the last coat -- looking good, nice shine. Doesnt feel tacky to the touch, but doesnt quite feel fully cured either --  feels a bit grainy , for lack of a better term.  Also looks a bit " soft", like it needs a few more layers for durability.

Question is how to proceed from here to finish it of ---  Apply  a few more coats, dry sanding in between? Wet sand a few more coats?
Im also considering a final topcoat, when all is done,  of the Bullseye clear dewaxed shellac.

any thoughts and ideas for the next stage are needed and welcome! Thanks in advance...

*bump again*  -- need some feedback here, if folks don't mind...

quick sum, so you dont have to read through the whole thread...

swamp ash back:

1) Cabot pre-stain conditioner followed by a very light coat of Cabot dark walnut stain

2) grain filled w/ bullseye amber shellac and sandback, several times

3) tried to finish off  w/ that shellac, but was too orange; sanded that off  ( considering  it another level of step 2). Restained after sanding.

4) Watco dark walnut danish oil, applied by  rubbing in hard and wiping excess as i went ( quasi-French polish approach, as opposed to 'flood and sit"). About 3 to 5 coats. !st couple of coats about 6 to 8 hours apart, then about  24 hours in between. No sanding in between any of the coats.

I've let it sit for about a month; there's  a few tiny  pin head size knobs, which might be oil seepage/residue/dust, but doesnt appear to be anything that a good  #400 cleaning / sanding won't smooth out. Overall,  needs some sanding at this stage anyway.

Sorry for the cell phone pic :)


Sheen is somewhere between matte and satin, which is fine with me, but overall seems to not have enough protection or build at this stage.

question: continue building  with the oil, sanding in between? if so, wet or dry sand?  Or, topcoat now with clear shellac? Taking in all ideas...