Looking for more help finishing (sealing) hickory

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Forum topic by Dougan posted 10-17-2016 06:07 PM 564 views 0 times favorited 1 reply Add to Favorites Watch
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14 posts in 1743 days

10-17-2016 06:07 PM

Several months ago I asked you all to help me finish some beautiful calico hickory end tables that I had built. You were all incredibly helpful, and the advice to use Watco Danish Oil to make the grain pop was spot on.

However, after the danish oil, I struggled a bit to pick how to seal it. On some scrap, I tried my standby, a wiping varnish made from minwax fast drying polyurethane, and the change in color seemed to detract from the natural look of the hickory + danish oil. So I opted for a water based finish (polycrylic). This gave me a minimal change in coloration which was nice, but it seems to be not so durable—I still can dent it with a fingernail, and I feel like if I put a glass down on it, I would get water rings.

I’m doing a repeat of the same project and I’m to the point of choosing a varnish/poly/etc to coat over the danish oil. Does anybody have any recommendations for me that would be more durable than the polycrylic with less color alteration than the minwax polyurethane?

I’ll note that there’s always debate over putting a water based finish over something oil-based like danish oil. I applied the danish oil months ago (project got put on hold during a move) so it’s fully cured, and I’m willing to put a water-based finish on it if that’s what it takes. I keep hearing newer water-based finishes are super durable, so my gut tells me that’s the route I should go down if I want something that won’t change the table’s color much, but I don’t know much about these products.

Thanks in advance!

1 reply so far

View Kirk650's profile


656 posts in 1202 days

#1 posted 10-17-2016 07:46 PM

I’ve used the Danish Oil and I’ve used water based Poly, but I’d have to run some sample tests before I put the water based material over an oil based material.

In my experience, the Minwax water based Poly holds up very well. I have it on my Ash workbench and it’s been there for 8 or 10 years.

My usual top coat over the Danish Oil is Waterlox – 4 coats of the satin. I know that works.

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