Sealing the Black Walnut used in our Yurts

We used locally sourced black walnut to make for the countertops and furniture in the yurts. Almost every guest will comment on how beautiful the black walnut is. Most will run their hands down the kitchen countertops and are amazed at how smooth it is. Then they are concerned that they will mess them up if they put their drink directly on the wood. Blake did a lot of research before we decided to use Waterlox Original Sealer VOC Compliant. We applied 4 coats, sanding between each coat, and then we used Waterlox Original Satin Finish as the last coat. We like that the satin finish makes it not as shiny. The VOC product is more expensive, but we felt it was worth it. This product does have a slight brown color to it but it worked out beautifully on the black walnut and white oak that we used in the build.

In the White Oak Yurt, the black walnut slabs for the kitchen counters were cut so the outer edges are mirrored. Above you can see that black walnut is more of a maroon color after it is slabbed and sanded smooth. Once it is sealed the colors become rich brown shades. The white oak cabinets were also sealed with Waterlox.

Kitchen cabinets and counters after sealing with Waterlox Original Sealer.
Kitchen cabinets and counters after sealing with Waterlox.

Bathroom vanity top before sealing.
Vanity and mirror after sealed with Waterlox. We also made the shelves in the bathroom out of black walnut.

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We know that we won’t be able to keep the countertops looking perfect with so many guests coming, but so far they are holding up nicely. You can’t treat them like a cutting board, but you can put a glass down and not worry about permanent ring marks. We tested this by putting a glass full of ice on a scrap piece that was sealed and then coming back 4 hours later to check on it. There was a ring of water around the glass but there wasn’t a remaining ring on the countertop after we wiped off the water. If you are trying to decide how to seal your wood furniture we highly recommend Waterlox products.