NEW! Faster Search Option


how to finish Wenge

drspur's picture

how to finish Wenge (post #147171)

I'm a novice and probably over my head here...but i have built a small Myrtle chest with Wenge kickboards and caps on the top. I'm not sure how to apply a finish. I was thinking that a clear stain first and then a tung oil top coat such as Waterlox but I have a hunch that the Wenge won't take to that very well. Any suggestions?

WillGeorge's picture

I have never used Wenge but I (post #147171, reply #1 of 6)

I have never used Wenge but I have used much Panga-Panga that I think is about the same wood? Not sure. I found that it loves to be as God made it! Some color may get in there but I doubt it! But then again I am NOT a finisher. And my second thought is why use very expensive Wenge if you want to change it?

My Panga-Panga does NOT take on any stain or whatever except into the grain pores. It seems to take on a oil in some areas.

Maybe do what I did? Polish it with sticks of different grits on a linnen buffing wheel.

Hand oils may work over time?

Have a great day.. Life is wonderful even if you are having a bad day!

gdblake's picture

Drspur: Anytime you plan to (post #147171, reply #2 of 6)


Anytime you plan to use a new finishing technique test it on scrap wood first.  Same goes for putting any type of finish on a wood species you aren't familiar with.  That said, Wenge really pops under a clear finish, I can't imagine wanting to stain it first.


We're all here because we're not all there.

drspur's picture

Clear stain is what I was (post #147171, reply #4 of 6)

Clear stain is what I was thinking, then a topcoat finish of Waterlox.  the difficulty is that the Myrtle and the Wenge are next to each other so what goes on one will go onto the other.  thanks for your help.

SteveSchoene's picture

I'll agree with Murrak.  (post #147171, reply #6 of 6)

I'll agree with Murrak.  Shellac is a good first step, then you can use an oil based varnish such as Waterlox. 

By the way, Clear Stain seems like an oxymoron to me, promoted I suppose by folkswho do sell a heavily diluted varnish as "natural" stain, for reasons best known to maretting departments. 

Test your finish on scrap, FIRST, or risk having to scrap your finish.

murrek's picture

Try a thin coat of bullseye (post #147171, reply #3 of 6)

Try a thin coat of bullseye sealcoat dewaxed shellac followed by an oil based varnish.  Since the sealcoat uses an alcohol solvent, the natural oils in the wenge don't interfere with it drying.  Once the shellac dries, the natural oils are locked in the wood and you can use an oil based top coat without drying prolems.  There is an article in FWW about this, try searching "finishing oily woods."

Just make sure you apply a THIN coat of sealcoat, it can get messy if you apply too much or overbrush.

drspur's picture

Thanks, that is helpful.  (post #147171, reply #5 of 6)

Thanks, that is helpful.  found the article too.