best easy-care finish for a slab wood dining table? tung? poly?

Old 09-09-08, 06:58 AM
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best easy-care finish for a slab wood dining table? tung? poly?

I'm looking to have a reclaimed wood dining table made--something quite large with a very thick slab of wood for the top. One woodworker I'm talking with said he could do a 2-3 inch slab of oak for me. The thing I'm stuck on is trying to figure out what kid of finish would be best.

We want it to be really special, but the table will get daily use by an active family with kids, lots of cooking, NO coasters or placemats, etc. (I know, I know, many people here will say just use a placemat or tablecloth! But I want to see and feel and use the table for real, and I don't want any more laundry to deal with.) I'm thinking a finish that allows for the little marks and dings and rings and such ADD to the look, rather than mess it up, would be best. I've seen some tables that seem to have a poly finish that leaves white rings with watermarks, some that seem to show through a lighter color if it gets scratched, etc. I WOULD like to stain it fairly dark, if not unevenly, though... What finish would be best? Stained and then oiled? Many coats of Tung Oil?

I do like the look of a satin poly very much, but I'm thinking you have to be too careful with that. But at the same time, my oak floors have a satin poly finish and they're pretty darn durable...

I'm trying to balance looking good with something that will last several lifetimes and be easy to care for, will age very well, etc. I would VERY MUCH appreciate your expert adivce here!
Old 09-24-08, 09:53 AM
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slab finish

I know exactly what you are looking for and tung oil is your answer! I build slab tables and our dining room table is our test table. It is a oak slab table that is a beautiful piece of sculpture for our dining room yet can take the normal wear and tear of three meals a day for our family of seven! We don't use coasters or placemats and have spilled enough of everything on it over the past 13 years!!!

The key is to for sure not skip any steps in preping the table. Proper sanding is always important. Next apply the tung oil. Pure tung oil needs to be mixed or buy a prethinned product from you local home improvement store. Apply one coat of tung oil and let dry, apply a second coat and let dry, third coat and dry. Do this for at least five coats or more until the finish is even and beautiful. The great thing about the oil finish is that it soaks into the wood and not over the top of the wood. Every five years or so I lightly sand our table with steel wool and apply a few more coats of tung oil and it's as good as new.

I should recommend that if you are going for a dark look you may want to consider using a walnut slab instead of oak. It will give you a natural dark brown look that doesn't need any stain. I never stain any of our projects but instead find the right specie of wood that gives the right look and color.

The other plus to oil finish is if you get tired of it you can coat over it with a spray finish. We use (and recommend) Sherwin Williams KemVar. Make sure the tung oil is very very dry before spaying a finish over it.
Old 09-24-08, 03:22 PM
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I like the durability of three or four coats of oil based polyurethane myself.

Food grade mineral oil is another option.
Old 11-21-08, 12:42 PM
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looking for walnut slab supplier

I am interested in building a walnut slab ding room table. i live in MN, and I am looking for a supplier for a large walnut slab, preferably local if possible. Any help is appreciated
Old 02-12-09, 12:24 PM
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brush streaks with poly

I am trying for a glossy finish on a wooden table with stain. Everytime I try to brush poly it drys with streaks and brush marks. How do I improve that?
Old 02-10-10, 03:27 PM
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Cedar Slab finish / stain options??

I have a 10ft x 4ft cedar slab that i'm trying to turn into a dining room table.

I'm wondering what the best process is going to be to make it look its best. I would love for it to be a semi-gloss or matte finish. I'm not looking for it to be glossy.

Also, i'm really trying to bring out the grain a bit and emphasize it.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!!

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