12 Best Finish for Walnut- Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

If you have a structure created using walnut, you already know that you have an asset that needs to be cared for to serve you for as long as possible. The best finish for walnut offers so much for the decoration and protection of items created using this wood type.

Most of the finishes that you will use for your walnut structures are either stains, polyurethanes, oils, and more. They are high-performance and contain intensifying pigments that are available as water, wax, or oil-based foam- These elements allow the products to easily penetrate the wood grains, leaving a smooth and elegant finish while also offering protection from the typical defects.

Additionally, these formulas have numerous application methods that require no professionalism. For instance, you can either use a brush or a clean piece of cloth. They are also available as spray paints or finishes for confined areas.

However, the challenge comes when it comes to selecting- This is highly influenced by the competitive market that has led to the diminishing of product quality. Therefore, you can always reference this article wherever you have the next project. It details the very best finishes that you can use for your walnut structures.

I’ve gone further to provide a buyer’s guide with the necessary aspects of different finishes that you must consider before shopping for the products.

List of The Best Finish For Walnut:

1. General Finishes Oil Based Gel Stain, Antique Walnut

Just like other wood types, Walnut also requires a good finish that exposes its natural beauty. And, if you are looking for the best finish for the walnut to give you that, then you need the General Finishes Oil Based Gel Stain, Antique Walnut.

This superlative product has an oil-based formula that leaves a shiny water-resistant coat, preventing the wood from rotting. Besides, it’s the only stain which contains the most finish feel among all the General finishes’ products.

As a gel stain, this commodity tends to be very dense to flow. Meaning, it does not penetrate deeply into the wood pores compared to the liquid oil-based paints. However, this does not relent the Antique Walnut since it leaves a more even finish on woods like Pine, Aspen, and many others.

Summary of the key features

  • This product poses no difficulties in application methods, as you can easily apply using either a cloth or a foam brush.
  • The stain has a dense nature; thus, it prevents it from spilling or splashing.
  • Its heavy-bodied formulation allows it to flow with ease, preventing runs or even drips.
  • This merchandise does not require sanding; therefore, you can finish all your projects on time.

Image of the best finish for walnutPros

  • Easy to use.
  • The gel dries faster.
  • Its dense nature allows for multipurpose use.
  • Ideal for use on hardwoods.
  • You can either use a foam brush or a lint-free cloth for application.
  • Guaranteed finishing feel.
  • Durable.


  • It doesn’t penetrate deep into the wood pores.
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2. General Finishes Water Based Wood Stain, Walnut

Walnut materials respond well to water-based stain finishes, which is why you can also choose water-based formulas such as the General Finishes Water Based Wood Stain. It’s a high-quality product with intensifying pigments that produce rich dark colors leaving your surface gentle and glittering.

Additionally, this formula saves you both time and energy as you can easily apply using either a brush, clean cloth, or even a spray can. Even though it’s a water-based colorant, the product has a formulation that provides workability equal to oil-based stains.

You will also notice that the stain is ideal for indoor use only, as it has a low odor, low VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds), easy to clean with water, and non-combustible. You can also archive unique finishes by creating custom colors.

Summary of the key features

  • Enhance the overall finish by intermixing the GF products with water-based stains, or you can mix with any GF water-based topcoat to create custom colors.
  • The commodity is suitable for indoor use as it doesn’t contain any hazardous effects on the environment.
  • Despite being a water-based stain, this product has all the advantages of oil-based colorants.
  • It also has a thicker formula that allows for controlled penetration to the woods’ surface.

Image of General finish for walnutPros

  • Easy to spread.
  • You can use either hand application or spraying.
  • It diminishes the blotting effect on softer woods.
  • A large area of application.
  • You can easily blend it with other GF products.


  • The product is not as thick as oil-based products.
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3. Ultimate Walnut Oil by Mahoney’s Finishes

The Ultimate Walnut Oil by Mahoney’s Finishes has all you need to give your kitchen utensils, butchery blocks, wooden knives a luster finish- Which adds that stain-feeling to your utensils while maintaining the safety of your health.

When used professionally, this superior product offers a wide range of applications, such as protecting against scratches, abrasion, and spills. You can use this wood salad bowl finish on various surfaces, including wooden floors, furniture, and other woodworking projects.

This commodity also prevents you from overworking. Therefore, you can effortlessly apply several coats until the wood archives saturation- wipe off any excess layers, then give it a few hours to dry out.

Summary of the key features

  • The product comes in a smart design nozzle that allows you to control the application process more comfortably.
  • This stain quickly penetrates the wood pores, and it also easily dries living a well-finished surface.
  • It does not contain dangerous toxic smells or any chemical substance that can threaten your health conditions.
  • You can use this product for most of your woodworking applications.

Mahony, the best finish for walnutPros

  • The stain is well-designed with your health as the top-notch.
  • Multipurpose use.
  • It is easily absorbed.
  • It comes in an easy to use casing.


  • The product is not ideal for application with a brush. 
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4. Mahoney’s Finishes Walnut Oil Wax

You will never face any trouble with all your wooden kitchen appliances like the salad bowls, cutting boards, or other furniture if you use Mahoney’s Finishes Walnut Oil Wax. This high-performance product offers reliability since it protects your projects from all inhibiting factors resulting in wood rot, scratches, abrasion, and spills.

Additionally, it’s elementary to apply as you only need to wipe or immerse the entire workpiece into the stain. The commodity does not contain any petroleum distillates since it may cause some server health issues.

Mahoney’s Finishes have an excellent composition of oil-based enamel that provides that glossy finish, which is also water-resistant. Besides that, it also has extensive area coverage and dries in no time.

Summary of the key features

  • The product has a guaranteed safety for use in the kitchen appliances.
  • You can effortlessly spread by either wiping with a clean, soft cloth or profoundly immersing into the stain. 
  • The merchandise does include petroleum distillates as one of its ingredients.
  • It offers protection to your wooden appliance while still beautifying your turnings.  

 Best Finish for WalnutPros

  • Easy to apply.
  • It dries quickly.
  • The product becomes completely safe for food contact after it has dried.
  • It covers a wide area of application.
  • Completely natural.


  • The stain takes more than an hour to dry entirely.
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5. Watco 65351 Danish Oil Wood Finish, Black Walnut

Meet the Watco 65351 Danish Oil Wood Finish, Black Walnut; it’s among the best finish for walnut that you can find in the market today. The formula is appropriate for all indoor ventures, including bare, sanded, or stripped surfaces. However, this product does not have a recommendation for use on floors.

The 65351 Watco model features an oil-based formula blended with oil and varnish that can deeply penetrate the wood pores offering ultimate protection. Moreover, this commodity has a fast drying time of only 6 hours, with a comprehensive area coverage of up to 85 square feet.

You can complete most of your projects in less than an hour, thanks to the easy application methods that prevent chipping, spills, abrasion, and peeling. The Danish oil wood finish allows you to create a rich, warm glow that exposes the wood’s natural feel and look.

Summary of the key features

  • This product boasts of its oil-based pigments, which makes it easily penetrate the wood pores.
  • Your wooden appliances have assured protection against chipping, abrasion, spills, and even peels with this commodity.
  • You can use this stain on either bare, striped, or sanded surfaces and get the same quality finish.
  • It takes a short time to dry completely.

Oil finishPros

  • The product covers up to 85 sq ft.
  • It deeply penetrates the wood pores.
  • Suitable for a variety of indoor applications.
  • The commodity stains, seals, and protects.
  • It leaves a natural hand-rubbed appearance.


  • This stain only covers up to 85 sq ft.
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6. Minwax 61340444 PolyShades – Stain & Polyurethane in 1 Step, Antique Walnut

The Minwax 61340444 PolyShades stands out among the best finishes for walnuts as it allows for dual application as either stain or polyurethane in 1 step. You can simply accomplish this by using it over polyurethane finishes- whereby you can change the color of the finished projects without the need to sand out the existing coat. 

The 61340444 Minwax stain also comes in an optional aerosol can that makes the application more straightforward, especially for hard-to-reach areas. You can also clean the finished surface with mineral-spirit or soap and clean water with ease.

On top of that, this commodity comes in optional colors, which you can use to make customized designs on most interior wood surfaces.

Summary of the key features

  • This stain comes in an ordinary container or an aerosol can, thus giving different application options.
  • You can learn how poly shades can help change your finished or stained wood by viewing the poly shades color transformation guide if you are a beginner.
  • You can effectively use the product over polyurethane finishes without removing the existing finish.

Minwax walnut wood finishPros

  • It comes in diverse colors.
  • Ideal for use on interior wood surfaces.
  • Easy to clean using mineral spirits.
  • It offers long-lasting protection.
  • Rich stain color.
  • Available in gloss or satin finish.


  • You can only find it as gloss or satin finish.
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7. Minwax 70006444 Wood Finish Penetrating Stain, Special Walnut

Apart from its ability to penetrate deeply into the wood fibers and highlighting the natural grain, this commodity also protects the wooden materials from inhibiting factors. The product also comes in at least 28 beautiful colors that you can choose from depending on your preference.

Minwax 70006444 Wood Finish is ideal for walnuts since it adds beauty to any bare, stripped, or sanded surface. This stain also swanks with its ability to stain unfinished wood furniture, trims, wood doors, molding, cabinets, and hardwood floors. 

Want to know why it’s America’s favorite wood finish? The reason is that it does not interfere with the woods’ natural beauty. Instead, it prolongs its usability period.

Summary of the key features

  • This product allows you to get a well-finished surface in three simple steps: preparation, staining, and then protecting.
  • You can stain in only one day as this commodity has a short drying period.
  • The merchandise exists in 28 beautiful colors to match your project’s requirements.

Minwax wood finish for walnutPros

  • Ideal for many wood applications.
  • Rich color in one coat.
  • It only dries in two hours.
  • The product prevents lapping for even colors.
  • It offers a semi-transparent dark finish.


  • You have to wait approximately 4 – 6 hours before applying the topcoat.
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8. Watco 65851 Danish Oil Wood Finish, Dark Walnut

Just as its predecessor, the Watco 65851 Danish Oil Wood Finish, Dark Walnut creates a warm glow with rich pigments that leaves your wood with a hand-rubbed finish. Besides, the product protects your projects from spills, chipping, and abrasions.

This stain further offers effortless application techniques since you can employ several spreading methods of your choice to complete your job in less than an hour. As an oil-based product, it quickly penetrates through the wood pose, thus offering ultimate protection. 

Additionally, the Watco 65851 takes an exact time to dry while covering a large area of approximately 85 square feet.

Summary of the key features

  • The product assures protection against abrasion, peeling, spills, and cheeping.
  • It contains unique oil-based ingredients that give it the ability to protect the wood. 
  • This stain also enhances the natural beauty of the wood while still offering protection.
  • It dries up in as little as 6-hours with assured durability and reliability.

Oil finishPros

  • It covers a large area.
  • Quickly penetrates the wood grains.
  • Seals and protects in one easy step.
  • You can simply brush or wipe to spread.
  • Suitable for bare, stipped, or sanded surfaces.
  • The product has exceptional performance in tight-grained woods.
  • It offers a dark finish.


  • This stain takes up to 6-hours to completely dry.
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9. General Finishes Oil Based Penetrating Wood Stain, Spiced Walnut

General finishes products are well known for their unparalleled performance as wood stains– This does not exclude the General Finishes Oil Based Penetrating Wood Stain, Spiced Walnut, which promotes uniform alignment. 

The formula also prevents blotching and streaking, thereby ensuring that your wooden material retains its beauty with an even stain distribution. Moreover, you can topcoat this colorant with other water or oil-based products- This includes GF Arm-R-Seal, flat out flat, or even gel topcoat.

There are no hassles in cleaning the finished surfaces since you can use mineral spirits to remove the stack specks of dirt. The application methods also require no complication as you can use either a brush or simply wipe on with a clean cloth.

Summary of the key features

  • The stain can adequately penetrate the woodgrains to offer beauty and protection.
  • It prevents streaking and blotching, thereby maintaining the woods’ natural appearance.
  • This product is compatible with other water or oil-based stains.
  • You have optional application methods such as a brush or even wiping off with a clean piece of cloth.

Image of the best finish for walnutPros

  • It leaves a smooth well-finished surface.
  • It also maintains the woods’ natural beauty.
  • The product prolongs the wood’s life.
  • Liquid oil-based.
  • You can apply over a raw wooden surface.


  • As a liquid oil-based stain, you might experience some spills splashes.
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10. Minwax 70006 1 Quart Special Walnut Wood Finish Interior Wood Stain

The Minwax 70006 1 Quart Special Walnut Wood Finish Interior Wood Stain deserves its position on this list of the best walnut’s best finish. It will leave you with well-finished projects that have assured protection from wood-rotting inhibitors. All gratitude goes to the oil-based enamel that gives it the potential to penetrate deep into the wood pores.

However, this product requires top coating with either helmsman spar urethane or polyurethane finish to achieve an excellent finish. You will also face no complications during cleaning as you can effortlessly clean using mineral spirit.

The Minwax 700061 is also ideal for bare wood with easy application methods such as using a paintbrush, roller, or even a spray-can for the hard-to-reach areas.

Summary of the key features

  • This product contains oil-based pigments that profoundly penetrate, stain, and seal at the same interval.
  • It also has an extensive area coverage ranging between 125 to 150 square feet per gallon. 
  • As an ideal product for most DIY projects, this stain has low VOC rates and low odor.
  • It’s a special walnut that leaves behind an even semi-transparent coating.

Minwax wood finish for walnutPros

  • Effortless application methods.
  • Ideal for interior wood projects.
  • Easy to clean using mineral spirit.
  • Obtains a well-finished look when top coated.


  • Although it has low VOC levels, it can be hazardous if swallowed.
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11. Dura Seal Penetrating Finish Quick Coat – Dark Walnut

This product entails remarkable features that render it one of the best finishes for Walnut. For instance, it incorporates semi-transparent ingredients that are well-formulated to color, seal, and accord exceptional durability.

The Dura Seal Penetrating Finish Quick Coat – Dark Walnut unleashes all its capability, mainly when used on surface-coated floors. However, this excludes surfaces that have a wax-based finish.

This commodity also integrates a rich blend of two high-performance ingredients, including oil and resin- That gives it a high penetrating power on all wood grains offering protection while still maintaining the woods’ natural appearance.

Summary of the key features

  • You can use the satin with or without a finish coat but still achieve the same astonishing results.
  • The product takes only two hours to completely dry, thus saving you both time and energy.
  • This commodity offers protection and also seals the wood with a durable semi-transparent coat.
  • Its ingredients have a formulation of oil and resin that gives it an excellent penetrating ability.

Walnut wood finishPros

  • Suitable for surface-coated floors.
  • It provides exceptional durability.
  • The product comes in different beautiful colors.
  • Easy application techniques.


  • This stain is not appropriate for wax-based finishes.
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12. OSMO Wood Wax Finish Transparent – Walnut

And finally, on my list is the OSMO Wood Wax Finish Transparent – Walnut. This merchandise combines all the merits of oil and waxes to form a natural oil-wax-based (microporous) stain.

Therefore, using this product on your wood materials provides a water-repellent finish and also guaranteed durability. The colorant further gives you the mandate to choose a transparent satin by applying one coat or intensive satin-gloss achievable with two coats. 

OSMO Wood Wax stain requires no priming or sanding between coats before the first application, thereby saving time and cost. Additionally, this product resists liquid spillage, and when dry, it’s safe for the immediate environment.

Summary of the key features

  • This commodity combines both wax and oils to form a high-performance stain that smooths the wood surfaces.
  • You can use this product to form either a transparent or intensive satin-gloss.
  • The stain requires no sanding for spot repairs or future applications.
  • Using this commodity will leave your projects with a breathable finish that does not crack, flake, or peel.


  • The product has assured durability and hardwearing.
  • Ideal for all interior use.
  • It’s dirt and water-resistant.
  • Highest coverage.
  • Natural oil-wax-based.


  • To achieve an intensive satin-gloss, you have to apply two coats.
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Best Finish for Walnut Buyers’ Guide

Walnut materials and other soft or hardwood materials require reliable finishes that can provide excellent quality with guaranteed durability. It needs to be fast drying with easy application methods, and for this reason, I recommend using the best finish for walnuts.

However, you will always face challenges in realizing which is the best one in the market today. But worry not since you have the below guide to always refer to when buying or ordering these products.

Why You Need The Best Finish for Walnut

  • Numerous application methods. These products save your time and energy during applications as you can spread in several ways, including using a brush or wiping off with a clean cloth. You can also conveniently apply in confined areas using a spray can.
  • Water and dirt repellent.  Your wooden projects are rest assured of protection from water and dirt as these stains form a water and dirt repellent film.
  • Durable. The products assure durability by repelling most of the inhibitors that may cause wood rot, which poses a threat to your health.
  • Easy penetration. The commodities are available in different compositions, including water, wax, and even oil. These elements enable the stains to penetrate the wood grains offering protection.  
  • Dries-quickly. Most of these products dry in the shortest time possible, exposing the woods’ natural beauty.
  • Multipurpose. As woodworking walnut finishes, you can use these stains for a wide variety of applications involving wood finishing.
  • Wide area coverage. The products also help you save on the cost by covering a vast area per square feet.
  • Colors. You can choose any color matching your project demands.
  • Low odor and VOC. These colorants are safe for domestic purposes since they have low odor and VOC levels.

Factors to Contemplate When Choosing The Best Finish for Walnut

  • Composition

The composition of the ingredients matters a lot since it determines the capability of a specific stain. There are numerous compositions, including water, oil, or wax-based. However, some products like the OSMO Wood Wax Finish Transparent – Walnut has both oil and wax, which results in a durable and robust finish. 

You should also note that these features enable the stain to penetrate deep into the wood pores to protect against inhibiting factors.

  • Application methods

There are various application methods that you can employ for each product. For instance, some require a brush or merely wiping with a piece of clean cloth. You can also use a spray can for the hard to reach areas. 

However, this depends on the type of stain since some like the General Finishes Oil Based Gel Stain, Antique Walnut have a gel-like solution which is not ideal for spraying. You also have the Minwax 61340444 PolyShades – Stain & Polyurethane in 1 Step, Antique Walnut that comes in either a typical container or in an aerosol can.

  • Drying period

All these products have got a specific drying period. Therefore, you should contemplate a stain that can dry quickly to save on your time and energy. The standard drying period ranges from one hour to six hours.   

  • Coverage area

The coverage area depends on whether your product has a liquid or gel composition since liquid can quickly spread to cover a broader region in contrast to gel. The functional site also depends on the package. Thus, you should choose a specific product depending on the size of your project.


For the sake of your health and also to save on cost, choose the best finish for Walnut. These stains guarantee your project’s durability since they deeply penetrate the wood grain to offer protection and give an elegant look.

Moreover, they are straightforward to apply and cover a wide area per square feet. But this does not limit me to say that I choose General Finishes Oil Based Gel Stain, Antique Walnut as my personal best- This product has a gel solution that prevents spilling or splashing, among other outstanding features.

But choosing depends on your project demands, and you have all these constructive articles to guide you through. I wish you a productive shopping time.

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Tyron Otieno

Tyron is an avid woodworker and writer. He founded this website to help other woodworkers, whether hobbyists or professionals by sharing his knowledge and experiencie after a decade of woodworking.