Invisible Yet Durable Tabletop Finish


  #1  
Old 01-28-16, 06:11 PM
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Invisible Yet Durable Tabletop Finish

Hi guys,

I've just made a table with a laminated bamboo top (usually used for a butcher block style island).

I used oil based poly to varnish the bottom, and I dont like the result (the yellow-ish tint) so I want to do the top differently. I want it to look as natural as possible, but I still want it to be sealed to prevent it from warping or splitting

I currently have a can of varathane diamond finish crystal clear finish (satin) from another project, and I'm wondering if this would be suitable, or if I absolutely need to go out and buy a water based poly (looking for top quality here, "good enough" isn't good enough).

Also, does anyone have any other suggestions regarding finishes? I was told wax/oil but I don't know if I want to go that route due to it being a kitchen table and not a butcher block.

Any and all suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

Cheers!
Nic
 
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Old 01-28-16, 08:05 PM
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If the varathane is the oil based version (I think they make both) it will add some color to the wood, as will any oil based polyurethane. Furthermore, they do yellow a little more with age.

The water based polys are almost perfectly clear, and they don't yellow much with age.

Oil based polys are still more durable than the water based, but water based have gotten better and are now quite durable and suitable for kitchen table (or kitchen counter) use.

Oil finishes, like boiled linseed oil, or the products sold as Danish oil or tung oil give a nice natural look to wood, but are less durable than poly. Their advantage is they are easily renewed by putting on another coat whenever they start to look worn. In general, I think they provide the most "natural" looking finish.

I presume you don't have spray equipment that would make catalyzed lacquer an option....it's tricky to work with but provides a beautiful and durable finish.

IIWM, I'd go for the water based poly, satin. 3 light coats per directions. Sand lightly between coats and use a tack rag just before brushing on each coat. If the final coat is too glossy, rub it out with a gray synthetic pad. You don't want to use steel wool around water based finishes. Finish all sides, not just the top.

It's not going to be invisible, but nothing that provides good protection and is durable will be.
 
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Old 01-28-16, 08:47 PM
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Old 01-29-16, 07:20 AM
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Thanks a lot guys - good read XSleeper.

CarbideTipped, the varathane I have is water based and says it won't yellow, but it says nothing about it being polyurethane, so I don't know what it is. It just says diamond finish. It's this stuff: https://www.lowes.ca/interior-stain/..._g1328917.html.

It's not poly and I just noticed it says it only "resists to water" and is for "Use on cabinets, doors, mouldings, paneling, and fine furniture". Doesn't seem like an adequate product for a surface that will get heavy use. I'll just bite it and go spend 20$ on a proper can of Poly.

Thanks again!
 
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Old 01-29-16, 08:34 AM
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Polyurethane is basically a tougher version of varnish. Since your varathane is water based it shouldn't yellow/amber but a water based poly will give a tougher finish .... just not as tough as oil base.
 
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Old 01-29-16, 08:59 AM
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One more vote for water based poly. As said, it will not be invisible but it's the closest you're going to get and pretty durable. I tend to like the amber of oil based poly so it's my choice but regardless of the solvent, keep in mind that a light scuff sanding (220 grit) is called for between coats of poly to enhance the boding of the two surfaces.
 
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Old 01-29-16, 10:12 AM
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I read online that the varathane "diamond coat water based finish" is actually water-based poly, but I find it weird that they don't label it as such.

I'm going to try it, and if doesn't work out, I'll sand and re-finish later.
 
 

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