In my post titled “Why Would Anyone Steam Walnut?” I wrote about my disappointment with the effect steaming has on the color of walnut lumber.
I have read of various options for enhancing the color of steamed walnut. On this dulcimer I decided to try garnet shellac.
I sealed the grain with 1lb cut blond shellac and then applied a coat of 1lb cut garnet shellac. The garnet shellac brought out brown tones and vastly improved the coloring.
I was still disappointed; the sapwood was still obviously darker than it should be and the subtle colors the wood had before steaming could not be replaced.
I had taken care to apply the garnet shellac evenly to avoid blotching.
While sanding the shellac in preparation for the next coat I sanded a little heavier over the sapwood and a few other areas. This added a little contrast and also gave the piece a little bit of an antique look.
After applying the first coat of clear finish I’m thinking the results are looking promising.
When given a choice I still prefer the color of natural, unadulterated wood.