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Want a natural finish for oak mantel

We have a stripped antique oak fireplace mantel. We want the natural look with no stain. What is the best options for this? This mantel has a decent amount of scroll work and lion heads and the scrolled woodwork is rather dry.

Re: Want a natural finish for oak mantel

I am a diy when it comes to finishing but several years ago I was turned on to a couple of products from Rockler and my results looked so "pro" that I have used nothing else since.

"General finishes Seal-A-Cell" for a base coat.

"General Finishes Arm-R-Seal" for the top coats.


Re: Want a natural finish for oak mantel

I have become partial to shellac for interior furniture finishes over the last few years. It takes a little getting used to not brushing it out since it sets up so quickly. Since you mention it is an antique I would stay away from any poly type finishes (personal preference). If you get some brush marks in the finish, don't worry about it, the next coat of shellac will dissolve out the brush mark as it bonds to the previous coat. It sets up very quickly so you can get the first two or three coats on in a day. There are some good links on how to apply shellac (a couple different methods), a google search will bring them up.

Re: Want a natural finish for oak mantel

if you have stripped it all down, (i just breiefly read the orig. post) then i would go with a "early american #201 or so) stain...i thing it will flow well with what you are wanting...mabie its just me...it looks beautiful in my home.

Re: Want a natural finish for oak mantel

Furniture wax or furniture oil would probably do the mantle some good. I use Bri-wax for this but it has certain medical precautions so you might not be able to find it now.

Re: Want a natural finish for oak mantel

My personal prferance would be oil based "Old Masters" polyurathane. It has about the best self leveling properties of and finish I have ever used and an extremely hard surface. You would want to use gloss or semi-gloss. bHere's a project I'm currently working on, it's stained with Minwax antique oak stain and one coat of Old Masters poly so far.


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