Need help with finish for 100 yr old table

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Forum topic by Coyotexas posted 01-11-2013 09:38 AM 1006 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 2850 days

01-11-2013 09:38 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I am in the process of making a dining table out of White Oak. It was salvaged from a barn. The table top is done except for the finishing. This is my first time working with reclaimed lumber so I have a few questions for anyone that is willing to help.

1. there are a few spots that are soft. It does not hurt the structure, I just don’t want them to get worse or easily chipped. I was thinking of a wood hardener but don’t want to get a discolored spot.

2. Any suggestions on what finish to use. I want a flat finish but we will be using the table every day so I need durability.

Thanks in advance for any help.

5 replies so far

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2876 days

#1 posted 01-11-2013 04:47 PM

I don’t have experience with wood “hardeners” but a good looking durable easy to apply finish is a waterborne poly floor finish. I like Varathane.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View ToddJB's profile


8540 posts in 2645 days

#2 posted 01-11-2013 05:59 PM

I used flooring finish on the dining table I made and it has worked great (2 years in). I used the most satin stuff I could find because I didn’t want any gloss effect at all. It has held up great, and mine is VERY reclaimed. The legs have huge chunks busted out and the top has some pretty deep splits in it.

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

View AJLastra's profile


87 posts in 2743 days

#3 posted 01-11-2013 06:13 PM

There has been a recent trend in the use of epoxy based finish. some new products online if you search and I cant remember the latest one I read about otherwise I’d be happy to send you the link. they are, as Ian Kirby would say, harder then the hobs of hell. Problem is, they dont sand well and the look you seem to want is not something that you’re going to get, as far as the sheen, right out of the can. you want the hardness and durability for the top but you dont want it glossy, and that makes sense. but to get a really nice looking finish, you’ll need to rub the gloss to that dull sheen you’re after. Behlen sells a finish specifically designed for tabletops…Behlen Rock Hard Table top varnish. Not sure how it rubs out though. If you’re not spraying the finish, then the most durable finish you can apply by hand is oil based polyurethane and I think someone has already mentioned Varathane. The fact that you’ll have open pores in this wood will help with the surface sheen somewhat because you’re not doing a filled pore finish.

View madts's profile


1905 posts in 2854 days

#4 posted 01-11-2013 07:48 PM

There is a product called git-rot. It is a very thin epoxy that is used as it name says. To cure wood-rot. I think that is what you are describing. It is not cheap.

-- Thor and Odin are still the greatest of Gods.

View Coyotexas's profile


2 posts in 2850 days

#5 posted 01-15-2013 04:07 AM

Thanks for all the help, I really do appreciate it. I am still researching what I want to use. I will post pics when I finish. Thanks again.

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