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Veteran Contributor
LibertyWW
Posts: 147
Registered: ‎11-06-2009
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Bar Top Finish

All:

I would like to finish the top of my dining table with that 2 part coating that you see on bar tops.  Has anybody used this type of finish before, any suggestions on brands?  Also, how do you treat the edge?  Do you let it run off the edge and how do you clean up the drips?

Thanks,

 

Fred

Honored Advisor
amateur60
Posts: 1,664
Registered: ‎10-24-2009

Re: Bar Top Finish

Unless you have serious facilities to spray explosive and noxious finishes, then there aren't two-part finishes that you want to use on a dining room table.   You may be thinking of the epoxy that gives a thick coating, but that turns out not to be very durable, and almost impossible to repair when damaged. 

 

I seriously question the aesthetic choice as well, though that is of course in the end entirely a matter of your own preferences.  But in any event, there are some questions to be addressed before helping you select an appropriate finish. 

 

What is the wood you are using?  What style is the table.  What is the rest of the decor for the dining room?  Is the color to be light or dark?  Formal or informal? 

 

Community Manager
MSWOODcraft
Posts: 5,391
Registered: ‎10-23-2009
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Re: Bar Top Finish

[ Edited ]

To specifically address the question, yes I've done the two-part poured epoxy for bar tops.

 

My mileage says that it's not so good for table tops.   The mixture doesn't stay put politely at the edges of the table surfaces very well (I've tried it).  In a bar top environment you'd have created a dam into which the epoxy resides.   With a table top you're depending on surface tension to keep the mixture from just dripping down the edges.   It's a crapshoot and you're as likely to get a bad edge as a good edge.

 

This photo shows the job done successfully.  The other three attempts weren'tMatt's End Table 3 (Medium).jpg.   In this case the epoxy coating was a specific request from the client.  The tables are barely used (the house is a museum) and the most abrasion it gets is a Swiffer dusting daily.

 

If you're bound and determined to do it, make it a VERY light/thin application. 

 

 

Best,

Matt Seiler
Wood Online Moderator

Veteran Contributor
LibertyWW
Posts: 147
Registered: ‎11-06-2009
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Re: Bar Top Finish

The table is quartersawn white oak.  I built a kitchen table out of cherry a few years ago.  I used minwax wipe on poly to finish it.  The finish has gone to pieces, we use placemats and hot pads but the finish has gotten really rought where we sit, must be the heat from the plates.  I am looking for a finish that is as bulletproof as I can get.  I also thought about getting a piece of glass made to put over the table top too.  I see bartops that take tons of abuse, no water rings, scratches, or rough spots.  I would rather have the thick plastic look than the fuzzy blotchy look of the finish I have now.

 

Fred

Honored Advisor
Steve Mickley
Posts: 1,567
Registered: ‎10-21-2009

There are other options...

[ Edited ]

Fred;

 

...that you may want to consider before you jump from the frying pan into the fire.  Minwax wipe-on poly (or any polyoneverythane for that matter) would not be my choice for finishing anything furniture, with the possible exception of a work table or a desk for a very active child.  Poly, contrary to popular belief in not "bullet proof"; its primary attribute is its abrasion resistance.  Abrasion resistance is not achieved by being hard; it is achieved by being rather soft and compliant.  The further downside of poly is that it is highly subject to damage from UV, is very difficult to repair, and it yellows quickly when exposed to UV (in addition to cracking and peeling).  Is it possible that your table sees considerable natural sun light in your kitchen?  Further, as poly finishes go, Minwax poly is at the low end of the DIY scale.

 

Epoxy finishes are also easily damaged by UV and are even more difficult to repair than poly.  Further, unless all surfaces of your table are covered with the stuff differential moisture movement into and out of the table may cause problems.

 

You may want to consider a good phenolic resin tung oil based varnish before you opt on the plastic solution.  Waterlox Original gloss would be an excellent choice.  Phenolic resin varnishes offer the hardest varnish finish and varnish made from tung oil is the most moisture resistant.  Further, varnish made from either soya oil or tung oil and phenolic or alkyd resins are not subject to UV damage nor do they yellow anywhere near as much as linseed oil based poly.  They are also much easier to repair should they become damaged...

 

There is a whole world of varnish out there beyond poly; Clearer, "warmer", harder, more difficult to damage, easier to repair, less "yellowing".  You won't find these products in the big box stores but they are worth the effort to track down...

 

Steve

Finishing & Refinishing Forum Host
Senior Contributor
sitesr
Posts: 330
Registered: ‎10-22-2009
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Re: Bar Top Finish

Fred, Listen to what Steve said.  I had the same situation with my table and he recommended Waterlox.  That is what I used and I after a year, I couldn't be happier.  I got my Waterlox at the local Woodcraft store.  It is kinda pricey and it takes a while to put on, but it is worth it.

Ron

Honored Advisor
amateur60
Posts: 1,664
Registered: ‎10-24-2009
0

Re: Bar Top Finish

First, it only takes a little care to avoid problems.   I plan eventually to make a formal dining table.  It will have a shellac finish. 

 

With white oak, for a film finish, you almost have to fill the pores.  Thick films with open pores create a kind of pitted look that can really look cheap.  I'd splurge on a gallon of pore filler from Sherwin Williams (gallon is the smallest size.)  It's the only one I know that has more than a few percentage points of the mineral silex as the active ingredient.  If you plan to color the wood at all I would use a powdered water soluble dye to set the basic color.  Then I'd seal this with about a 1 1/2 lb. cut thin coat of shellac, and apply the pore filler, tinted using artists oil paints or japan colors so that  you sample boards have shown that when top coated it is just a little darker than the dyed base color.  After wipng off the excess pore filler, making sure no haze obscures the grain, and letting it cure for about a week, before applying any varnish, I would apply about 4 coats of Waterlox gloss varnish,  sanding with 320 grits between brushed on coats, ensuring that the you have used large sanding blocks to first initially flatten the wood, and then leveled each coat so that by the time you have reached the penultimate coat it has been sanded very evenly.  Then I would let it cure for about a month and start a rub out process to bring the finish back to a gloss finish.  Just short of really high gloss looks MUCH better on furniture.   This will be a very durable finish, but no finish short of a hardened titanium alloy will be bullet proof. 

 

It is just a basic part of living to protect table tops from head, abrasive dishes and pots, and spills left on for long periods of time.  Kids of any age never need to pound on good tables with hammers or the like.  (They should have toys and shared time in the workshop to give constructive opportunities for pounding, sawing, driving screws, slopping paint, and the like.   

 

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