What sort of finish for this table covered with leaves?

Old 05-25-06, 12:12 PM
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What sort of finish for this table covered with leaves?

I am about to construct a side table, and for the surface of the table I will be covering it with leaves that I preserved in a glycerine solution last year. The table is MDF, and the leaves will be glued to it.

I want a thick finish over the leaves, in order to smooth out the uneven surface created by the leaves. I'm pretty sure I want an amber-colored finish.

I was thinking of polyurethane or shellac. But I've heard polyurethane can't handle flexible surfaces well, and I'm worried that the leaves will have some give that can cause a problem.

With shellac, I don't know if it could be applied thick enough, and I'm not sure the best way to apply many layers of it. Also, since this table will be beside a couch, it will be used for drinks and I'm worried about water marks on the shellac.

I looked into an epoxy clear coat, but the leaves will bend around the edge of the table and I don't see how I can apply epoxy on the edges. I'm not the epoxy will give the look I want anyway.

Anyone have any thoughts on the best way to finish this table?

Old 05-25-06, 03:19 PM
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Sounds like quite a challenge.

Note that there aren't any film finishes (clear, at least) that I am aware of that handle flexible surfaces at all. They will all become increasingly brittle over time, which is normally fine, but on such a surface they will begin to crack and make a mess.

Your best bet is going to be the epoxy, though it isn't amber. If you call the manufacturer and ask them what to color it with, you can dye it. I know of some folks that have done this to darken up a kitchen table made of maple (maple stains pathetically with dark stains so the dark epoxy was the trick).

They will also have advice for doing the corners and edges. I've seen it done. It may require more than one coat with a good scuff sand in between.

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