Last week I finished an outfeed/assembly table and decided that it wasn’t slick enough even after hitting it with 220 grit paper so I decided to finish it so I could sand it higher and give some protection since it will also become a main work area.
Traditionally I’ve always used some type of oil-based polyurethane (the yellow stuff) and i’s tough as nails but I didn’t want to make this thing yellow. I used Purebond plywood over the cheap rubbish from Lowes because it has a much nicer face (and no voids) so the extra 70 miles would be just thrown away if I used the yellow stuff.
I’ve seen a lot of people using a water-based varnish (it’s practically all that Matthias Wandel uses) so I tried some Varathane satin floor finish and I cannot rave how much I love this stuff. I know it won’t be as durable as the yellow poly but I don’t mind to redo the finish in a year.
In what usually took two or three days to do, I was able to do in an evening. So far three coats and I’ll let it set overnight and sand it tomorrow and add another coat to see how it turns out. Cleanup is stupid simple and no worries if I get it on my hands, it wipes right off.
I had sticker shock at nearly $50/gallon but after looking at prices of other finishes, the normal yellow poly is nearly the same and it ends up being much more expensive when buying quart or pint sizes.
For anyone on the ledge deciding whether to use the water-based varnish over oil, try it…you’ll be surprised!