All Replies on Finishing poplar kitchen table top

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View sadams's profile

Finishing poplar kitchen table top

by sadams
posted 08-09-2016 04:00 PM

4 replies so far

View jwmalone's profile


768 posts in 1557 days

#1 posted 08-09-2016 07:32 PM

I’ve finished poplar with oil based Polly, And had no problems (not table tops). If you think about it you finish floors with basicly an obp and it takes a beating and is exposed to sunlight through the windows and what not. They make poly now with uv protection and not near the amber of varnishes, just remember most poly by nature does not flex any contraction and expansion will cause you serious problems, it also allows water vapor to pass through. Maybe a spar urethane which are pretty clear would be better for a table top just keep that wood expansion thing in mind. Spar varnishes and urethanes aren’t as hard as polly but guess you just have to pick what you think is the lesser of the evils kinda like voting for a politician.

-- "Boy you could get more work done it you quit flapping your pie hole" Grandpa

View Robert's profile


3956 posts in 2335 days

#2 posted 08-10-2016 11:21 AM

How about a glass top?

I’ve done this before on desks and other tables works out really well.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View OSU55's profile


2658 posts in 2844 days

#3 posted 08-10-2016 11:47 AM

Wanting to preserve the natural color as much as possible, brush applied, and using ob poly, I’d use a wb based finish as a conditioner. About any will work. Thin the wb 1:1 with water, brush it on and keep it wet for several minutes by adding more, then wipe off until “dry”. After it’s actually dry, light 320 sanding, repeat. A little heavier 320 sanding, then finish with ob poly. This will seal the poplar and prevent blotching and maintain the color, but provide plenty of adhesion for the ob poly. Test on scrap, 1 coat or 3 coats of conditioner might be needed. I wouldn’t use a spar varnish for indoor furniture, too soft, has a lot of color. If you use ac in the summer and a humidifier in winter, wood expansion is a non issue.

View Cooler's profile


299 posts in 1698 days

#4 posted 08-15-2016 12:47 PM

I was asked to re-finish the table tops at the local Starbucks store years ago. The factory finish had failed in less than a year. The table tops were Baltic birch.

I sanded down to bare wood, used filler where customers carved their initials, and then applied four coats of oil based poly (semi-gloss Minwax). I let the finish dry overnight, lightly sanded between coats and used a foam brush for application. The final coat I applied thick and allowed it to self-level.

I waited 200 hours (7 days) after the final coat before delivering the table tops. I did these two tops at a time so that they would not be out of business while waiting for the table tops.

Starbucks re-models their stores on a 10 year cycle. The table tops were in excellent condition when they were retired after about 9 years use. This is pretty heavy use, with multiple wipe downs daily and many, many customers daily. Some of which throw backpacks, lap top computers, and an occasional spilled drink.

The finish remained hard, clear and undamaged.

There are probably other finishes that will do as well, but the only finish that I’ve used and that has been provend this tough is the oil based poly.

-- This post is a hand-crafted natural product. Slight variations in spelling and grammar should not be viewed as flaws or defects, but rather as an integral characteristic of the creative process.

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