New speakers with American Rock Maple veneer- oil, wax or wipe-on poly?


Disabled Account
2003-03-17 4:30 am
Hello all,

I've just completed my second set of stereo speakers, using American Rock Maple timber veneer. This is a very light coloured veneer. I would like to bring out the grain and give it a slight gloss finish, with minimal yellowing or darkening.

Some pictures of the veneer here:

I've had good experience with Rustin's Danish Oil and Liberon Black Bison Fine Paste Wax. The veneer was darkened, but to good effect.

You can see how the 7 coats of Rustin's and 2 coats of the wax darkened some Tasmanian Myrtle here:
I wonder whether I should try something else to keep the veneer relatively light.

If you have an some experience finishing with this veneer, or other very light coloured veneer eg. Bird's Eye Maple, I would love to hear your thoughts. I'm looking achieve a furniture fit-and-finish...


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Most oil based products will yellow and darken over time.
Shellac is not much fun to apply, but Zinnser Seal Coat will add just a hint of color:

A quart of it is about $10.

I think 2 or 3 coats of it, with light sanding and maybe a final waxing, is a really nice look. The pic below is 2 coats of Seal Coat, then one coat of water based lacquer over it. The shellac was wiped on, but the lacquer was sprayed.


Nice job on the speakers.

I think most finishes will darken the wood to some degree. What about pure tung oil? it's similar to the danish oil (I've used Watco Danish oil for years), but I think the danish oil (natural) yellows the wood slightly.

I've also used Deft clear laquer with excellent results. It's non-yellowing and like all laquers easy to apply and dries fast.



Disabled Account
2003-03-17 4:30 am

That's very nice work. What kind of maple is that?
Actually a "hint of color" is exactly what I'm looking for, but not too much yellowing. Unfortunately I don't have spray equipment for the lacquer.

Did you brush or spray that product? Unfortunately, I don't have any spraying equipment.
It's birdseye maple.
You can brush on or wipe on shellac with a cloth, but it's a bit tricky. The product dries very quickly, and each successive coat will begin to melt the previous coat. So it would be a good idea to practice applying it to some scrap first.

Fortunately, it sands easily, and can be removed with denatured alcohol in the event of a mistake, such as a run or brush mark. And it's compatible with most any other finishing product, in case you decide you'd rather apply something else over top of it for a different look.
No water based finishes on veneer.

I ruined a nice set of cabinets by appling a water based poly to a cherry veneer. It looked like pruin face. The water swelled the wood and pulled in loose from the plywood.
I have tried several, but really like Deft. It waterproofs also. The oils and waxes look better, but a Deft coated cabinet is going to last forever.

I ruined a nice set of cabinets by appling a water based poly to a cherry veneer.

Sorry to hear about that. I'm not too crazy about water based stuff. What kind of adhesive did you use on the veneer?

The oils and waxes look better, but a Deft coated cabinet is going to last forever.

You can use Watco natural danish oil to enhance the grain, let it fully cure then coat it with the clear Deft laquer.

When I spray on the Deft, I lightly sand (dry) between each coat with 400 grit wet/dry sandpaper. I lay down several coats (maybe 5 or 6) and after the final coat has dried I use the green scotch brite pad to finish it off. It leaves an almost silky feel to the finish.