Dewy

Finish for rough sawn farmhouse table

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Hey fellas, I built this table for my family that should serve us till the end of time. It will be our primary meal table, kids crafts, homework etc... Its  now ready for a sealer after two coats of stain. What would you recommend for a sealer? Wipe on poly? Tung oil? Something else?  I’m out of my wheelhouse building furniture, so any guidance is appreciated.

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Multiple coats of poly. Water based ok as they have improved in recent years. Dries more quickly than oil based. You can wipe on, but given your stated use, you want something that will hold up to use and abuse, so brush or roller as you need to build up the base. Can use a high build version too. You going for gloss, semi, or satin?

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Sweet table!!

 

Rub on will be tough given the texture of your wood.  You'd also need four+ coats of rub on to equal one coat of brushed on.  

 

Are you looking for something that's thin enough to show/feel the max amount of grooves (tough to keep clean), or ending up with a very smooth top through which one can see the grooves (easiest to keep clean) , or something in between? 

 

If you're looking for a thick, clear, smooth surface you can use a two-part clear coat product like EnviroTex Lite.  I think it's only available in gloss, but you could polish the surface with various abrasive materials (think of paint polishing or cutting compounds for automobiles) once your surface has completely cured.

 

I'd avoid shellac or wax.  Not durable, get stained with heat/water, even from a cuppa hot coffee.

 

So-called "Tung Oil" blends can be applied with a brush or foam or rag, then wiped off (follow mfr's instructions for how long to let it sit before wiping it off).  These will cure to a very hard and thin finish.  

 

I'd consider an exterior "Spar Varnish" or "Spar (poly)Urethane" (they are alkyd-based) that's diluted about 2:1 or even 1:1 with REAL 100% mineral spirits.  Don't use the low-VOC mineral spirits, because they have additives that you don't want or need and are $$$.  Get Paint Thinner.  Yep.  It's 100% MS and much cheaper.

 

I suggest Spar because many of them provide a little bit of flexibility, so they don't tend to crack/lift as your wood swells and contracts.  They also provide UV protection and are made for wet conditions.  Spar will, however, add a bit of ambering, even if the label says "clear".  There are some water-based spars for interior use that dry clear.  I haven't used them, so perhaps someone who has will chime in.

 

Regardless of what you use, TEST it on some scraps from your project before committing.  You'll also need several coats.  To keep your finish from muddying your wood, use gloss (also goes by crystal clear, etc.) for every coat other than the final coat.  You'll use your desired finish only in the final coat.  

 

HTH

 

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I'm a big fan of the ease of application and the look and feel of wiping oils like "tung" and Danish oils. Also a bit easier to repair than som.  But they don't provide he durability of poly or epoxy or some of the others mentioned above.  With kids I'd probably go with satin poly.  

 

Beautiful table BTW

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Thanks to all for your informative replies!! After reading your suggestions and doing a bit of research I’ve found that I should be able to do two coats of tung oil and then follow it up with a poly  finish, probably a satin or matte, until I reach the desired thickness. I still want people to be able to feel the saw marks in the wood. I don’t want to loose that character. I’ll give it a go on some scrap and try it out. 
The glass idea is a no go as the table top is not flush all the way across thus glass would not be flush on top.

I’ll post the finished pics when done. Hoping to get the table moved out of the barn and inside the house today. 

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20 hours ago, Ben Lippen said:

I love it. Love that piece ! 

I would wax it, them put a nice piece of glass on top.

I second wax. I built my dining room table, out of cheap, big-box framing lumber (there's a thread here somewhere) and put wax over the stain. It has held up well. You can always slap on another coat if you want. 


As for glass... that's your call. I don't like it, but I like the weathered look. I would never in a million years want to cover up that exquisitely beautiful wood with glass, but it will protect it, if you want to go that route.

Good job on the table. It's beautiful.

Edited by Belmo

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A ton of bad information here, do more research, and do yourself a favor and let the stain sit for at least two weeks before you go over it with whatever product you choose.  PLEASE don't choose epoxy.  .  .

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19 hours ago, RI: best part of CT said:

Dang that’s gorgeous... is it old chestnut barn lumber?

Thank you. It’s just regular rough sawn oak that I sanded down enough to take the pulp off of but still leave the rough sawn look.

19 hours ago, Oakman said:

A ton of bad information here, do more research, and do yourself a favor and let the stain sit for at least two weeks before you go over it with whatever product you choose.  PLEASE don't choose epoxy.  .  .

Oakman, Can you elaborate on letting the stain sit for two weeks before a seal coat? Did a bit of looking but can’t find anything other than to wait 72hrs at most??

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22 mins ago, Dewy said:

Thank you. It’s just regular rough sawn oak that I sanded down enough to take the pulp off of but still leave the rough sawn look.

Oakman, Can you elaborate on letting the stain sit for two weeks before a seal coat? Did a bit of looking but can’t find anything other than to wait 72hrs at most??

Sure, just personal experience. I’ve been doing finish work and restoring wood boats for about 20 years. I guess I should have clarified my statement a bit more, if you used an oil based stain, they really are not engineered to dry that well. With the rough sawn wood, you are going to have a lot more soaked into the wood than if you were staining something sanded to a smooth finish, and sometimes the stain can interfere with the bonding of the top coat. I really don’t use water based stains so if that’s what you used disregard my comments and follow the directions on the product. I just always let oil stain dry a bit longer then suggested. 

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