Frequent Reader
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎07-08-2011

Finishing wormy chestnut

I am in the process of making a couple triangular flag boxes for a couple of my recently deceased friends.  I have been saving some wormy chestnut for a special occasion, and this application seems to be appropriate.  What is the best way to finish these boxes that will allow the wood properties to stand out?  Thanks for your help and advice.

Honored Advisor
Posts: 1,567
Registered: ‎10-21-2009


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...welcome to the WOOD Magazine Forums, particularly to the Finishing & Refinishing Forum. I hope you will visit often. You will find a number of accomplished woodworkers and finishers here who stand ready to assist you with your finishing and refinishing questions.


There are no particular issues involved in finishing chestnut, wormy or other.  But, neither is there a “best way”, especially when there is no guidance with respect to the look you want to achieve.  Flag boxes don’t see much heavy use that would demand a durable film finish.  Therefore, a simple oil/varnish blend may serve you well.  At the same time if you want more sheen than can be achieved with an oil/varnish blend, a film finish may be your only option.  There are also several easy to apply spray options using various finishes in aerosol cans.  In questions about the appropriateness of finish options some definition of your objective is always helpful…



Finishing & Refinishing Forum Host
Veteran Contributor
Posts: 75
Registered: ‎10-23-2009

Re: Finishing wormy chestnut

Arthur, I'm not what you would call a knowledgeable wood finisher; as a matter of fact this is my first post in the finishing forum. However, I've just finished two doll display cases that I built for my daughters out of salvaged wormy chestnut. I finished their display cases with shellac. One daughter wanted a light finish and the other wanted a darker finish so I used blonde shellac for the light and garnet shellac for the dark. This was the first time that I'd ever use shellac so be prepared for a learning curve. I did a lot of reading and then some practice before actually tackling the projects. I have to admit to some frustration along the way as I developed my technique but all in all I was happy with my results. If I were to make a single statement about using shellac I'd have to say that it can be very demanding technique wise in it's application but when necessary can be more forgiving to repair than other finishes. In my opinion the shellac did highlight the features and grains of the chestnut; especially around the worm holes themselves.  Bob