03-22-2010 07:37 PM
Just picked up a used butcher block style solid wood table. Has some dings, scratches, and a few areas where the clear coat has been worn away. My intention is to refinish the top, but would prefer not to change the color. Am not sure if the current finish is polyurethane or some varnish. The block pieces range from light to medium, and don't want to fool with colors - just get a durable kid-friendly surface where we don't need to use coasters or placemats if possible.
question 1 - any strippers that won't alter the color but just take off the clear coat?
question 2 - what type of polyurethane (or other) is most durable for a kitchen table in an active home?
question 3 - on the deeper dings, is there a clear filler that should be applied after stripping, but before applying the new top coat, that fills the void?
many thanks - AJD.
03-22-2010 08:29 PM
You didn't say what kind of wood or whether or not it was end grain. True butcherblocks are endgrain.
Strippers should not change the color much. Make sure you use one that has methylene chloride in it.
As for film finishes...
If you want little to no color - an alkyd resin/soya oil varnish like Pratt & Lambert #38 is an excellent choice.
Depending on the wood if a little bit more amber color is OK; then Waterlox Origianl an phenolic resin/tung oil varnish is one of the most durable varnishes around. Much more durable than any of the poly varnishes at the big box stores.
Finishing is an 'Art & a Science'. Actually, it is a process. You must understand the properties and tendencies of the finish you are using. You must know the proper steps and techniques, then you must execute them properly.
03-23-2010 11:50 AM
Another finish option would be a pour on epoxy topcoating such as envirotex light. These are designed to be used on bar tops so they are great at repelling moisture stains however they are a softer finish.
The early bird may get the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese
03-23-2010 12:14 PM
First an epoxy coating is a very bad idea. WHEN (not if) it fails fixing it or removing it is a very big project. Epoxy also needs to be top coated with varnish to protect it from light. It's quite moisture resistant UNTIL it develops a crack or check, and then things start to fall apart.
If you want the most durable, find a professional that will apply a two-part (catalyzed) polyurethane or conversion varnish. Expect to pay a good chunk.
If this table was finished commercially more than 5-10 years ago, it had lacquer on it, not a varnish. That was a much less durable finish that any of the oil based varnishes you could choose.
03-23-2010 12:36 PM
He is talking about regular dining room table, not a noraml butcher block that most of us would use for cutting.
03-23-2010 12:39 PM - edited 03-23-2010 12:42 PM
Most strippers will not remove the color. I know Kutzit doesn't.
If you go the route of BLO, shellac, varnish then you will have great top protection.
As for filling dings and dangs, any clear filler should do.
May want to try Timber Mate for color shade. They will send you free sample so you can try it on piece of scrap.
PS: You may want to consider leaving the dings in wood...
it adds to the character of item and saves the history too.
03-23-2010 07:46 PM
Scott - don't know what kind of wood. This was a hand made custom table that supposedly used to be a door. made in 1984 according to the stamp on the bottom. Not endgrain - see photo for lap pattern of 1x slats. I can't really tell if it was stained or not, but like the current color. appreciate your comments. AJD.
03-23-2010 07:55 PM
Tony - I really don't mind the dings and minor scrapes too much, but there's one or two deep divots that are a distraction. It actually has a burn mark in one of the leaves where a chandolier fell on the table in a house fire and I don't want to take that out. Am certainly concerned about sanding too much as don't want to end up with a wavy top. good to know if that the stripper won't pull out the stain if there was one. see photo above... just can't tell. thought about brining in one of the leaves to the local Woodcraft or Rockler store here in Dallas for an assessment. I've seen other posts across this category that mention those other brands mentioned above.
help me - BLO? what's that short for?
thanks for your help... AJD.
03-23-2010 08:46 PM
If those dents are not that deep, I'd leave them alone. How deep are they anyway?
They are on leaf so really, it wont interfere with the look of table until the leaf is lifted.
I'd think twice before filling. If you do, make sure you choose your colors carefully.
You don't want to end up with a spot.
Especially if this top was laminated with different kind of woods.
Nothing but light sanding after you strip it.
BLO = Boiled Linseed Oil
03-24-2010 05:08 AM
Just to clarify a bit. Strippers WILL remove pigmented stains, where the color is held in place by the binder of the stain. (I don't really that sort of stain in your picture but there could be a light coloration from such stain.) It won't affect the natural wood color, including the patination brought by time. Sanding, more than the tiniest of amounts WILL affect the color, because generally the darkening that sun and oxidation have caused over the years is only "skin deep".
That is an unusual pattern of boards, almost a crazy quilt. Do all of the joint lines go all the way through from top to bottom? It almost looks like some boards have been inset into others, or that some sort of veneer has been laid up.