Finishing a Maple and Walnut End Grain Chessboard

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Ward Green

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Ward
So I have been working on a chessboard and need some advise for finishing.

I have convinced myself to rub out my finish to a nice semi gloss. However, I need a path to get there. I have considered lacquer, but I am not experienced enough to speak to how I should prep the end grain prior to finishing. Additionally, I am afraid of the finish yellowing. I have seen some videos on YouTube which show chessboard with a pre lacquer sealer. Is this necessary and if so, what should I use?

How would you suggest I finish this board? Should I use some shellac, sanding sealer, or follow the manufacturers pre lacquer suggestions?

As an FYI, I have few finishing tools at my desposal. If I am going to spray on a finish, it will probably be aerosol.

As a final question, what is your opinion on mitre splines for this board?


 

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bowman

Board of Directors, Events Director
Neal
Staff member
Corporate Member
Ward,
You have done a fantastic job with this! For the splines, it's hard to tell from the pictures as to how thick the chessboard is. If you can get a 1/8" cut in the corners, I think that would go a long way in giving the corners some additional strength.

I haven't heard about lacquer turning yellow, but I have heard that for polyurethane products. Shellac sticks to anything, and anything sticks to shellac. Supposing you have a few scrap pieces, I would try different finishes to see which gives you the look you are going for. I have done a couple of projects with a couple of coats of shellac, followed by 3-5 coats of lacquer, all of which were brushed on.
 

Jim M.

Woody
Corporate Member
Beautiful board. I just finished a chess board for a gift (not an end grain like yours though). I used 2 coats of tung oil followed by 3 coats of minwax polycrylic, clear satin, lightly sanding between each coat. The finish came out nice without the shine chess players hate.
 

Joe Scharle

Joe
Corporate Member
I put salad bowl finish on a couple I made as gifts. I haven't seen them in years, so I can't comment on yellowing but no one's called to complain!
It is a high gloss finish.
 

Jeff

Jeff
Corporate Member
Nicely done Ward.

I have considered lacquer, but I am not experienced enough to speak to how I should prep the end grain prior to finishing. Additionally, I am afraid of the finish yellowing.
How have your prepped or sanded the end grain so far? What's the texture feel like? End-grain is like a bundle of straws so I don't know how it feels as finish is added to it.

You could try ZinsserSealCoat (100% dewaxed clear shellac) brushed on or buy a few cans of Zinsser rattle can shellac at Lowe's for a quick spray on sealer. Then just continue with clear, dewaxed shellac. I have no experience with lacquer, but Mohawk has an assortment of spray-on aerosol products including a pre-lacquer sealer. Unfortunately, the Mohawk website isn't helpful on how to choose a specific product for an application and the assortment is confusing with poorly described information for use.

https://woodrepairproducts.com/product-category/mohawk-aerosol/
 
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