Massive mahogany counter top- now what to finish it with?

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Project by Scott Landry posted 10-03-2015 06:49 PM 3002 views 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

11 foot counter top made of 2” thick mahogany the which we flattened by hand with my new Lie-Nielsen low angle jack plane and a few wooden block planes. Took two of us a couple hours to flatten, but it was worth it. This project is not too exciting, but I was hoping for your input on what to use for the finish.

-- Every project is an opportunity to acquire new tools and any solution that requires buying a new tool is the correct one.

11 comments so far

View Spacehog's profile


87 posts in 1764 days

#1 posted 10-03-2015 07:02 PM

I’m sure plenty of people have a finish that they like, but I’ll chime in with one. I like a really thick conversion finish called Envirotex Lite. It’s a bit tricky compared to some finishes, but it’s well worth the trouble in my opinion. It pours on instead of brushing on and it is VERY thick compared to most finishes. I thought you might like if for a counter because I’ve seen Envirotex Lite used a lot to finish bar counters. The finish is crystal clear and I have even seen it kind of heal itself. There was a knife gouge in the finish on the bar where I work, but over time the gouge got smaller and smaller and eventually disappeared. My friend told me that was because the finish is still kind of in liquid form. So if there is a gouge or something, the finish will gradually flatten itself back out. I can’t say for sure how that all works, but that is what I was told. The finish is pretty top notch though from my experience. Even though it is kind of expensive, it actually works out to be a fair price if you compare it to using several coats of something else.

-- Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might...

View kimosawboy's profile


172 posts in 3210 days

#2 posted 10-03-2015 11:25 PM

Depending on your usage is what drives a finish in my books…
Is this a kitchen counter, shop counter….. it all depends..
My first thought was ’’‘pleaze do not use a thick glass like finish’’’’’ and lo and behold Spacehog chimes in..
Different strokes for different folks…... I find those pour on finishes really horrible to look at, but thats just me.
Anyways nice counter, nontheless..
G Vavra

View waho6o9's profile


8539 posts in 2816 days

#3 posted 10-03-2015 11:56 PM

I’d soak all 6 sides with Watco Natural Danish oil until the top was saturated.

Wait a couple of weeks and then wax it.

Nice work Scott!

View Spacehog's profile


87 posts in 1764 days

#4 posted 10-04-2015 12:23 AM

Haha, I could see an argument for a more natural look. I could easily see how thick glass like finishes aren’t for everyone. But if you do like that sort of thing, then the pour on stuff is the way to go in my opinion. I personally would not use a finish like that if the counter were for your shop. But if it was for a bar or something, then I think it would be a good fit. I respect kimosawboy’s opinion though.

-- Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might...

View Billy E's profile

Billy E

162 posts in 2319 days

#5 posted 10-04-2015 12:36 AM

The oil and wax route is great if you’re ok with it developing a worn look over time. I’d probably go with Epifanes gloss varnish, 2:1 with accelerator. It makes an excellent hard indoor finish. Expensive, but nothing like 11 foot long, 8/4+ mahogany. That’s assuming it’s a kitchen counter. Remember to finish on all six sides. I’d put it in like a granite countertop, that is, measure, size and finish first, then lay it in place and caulk it down. If you try to finish it in place, you won’t be able to get all the sides.

-- Billy, Florence SC

View Pezking7p's profile


3230 posts in 1890 days

#6 posted 10-04-2015 01:00 AM

Treat the mahogany right. Waterlox. I would do the last coat in satin, then a nice hard wax.

-- -Dan

View Scott Landry's profile

Scott Landry

191 posts in 1709 days

#7 posted 10-04-2015 03:01 AM

We are leaning toward the Waterlox option. It is going in a bar, but the Home owner is not looking for a deep gloss finish.

-- Every project is an opportunity to acquire new tools and any solution that requires buying a new tool is the correct one.

View bobasaurus's profile


3549 posts in 3423 days

#8 posted 10-04-2015 03:43 AM

That is some serious flattening effort. I recently did a slab table and gave up half way through in favor of sanding.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View BurlyBob's profile


6031 posts in 2504 days

#9 posted 10-04-2015 05:28 AM

Scott, you’re quite wrong. I would find the opportunity to work with that much mahogany quite exciting.

View JimInNM's profile


316 posts in 1455 days

#10 posted 10-04-2015 02:04 PM

Try this on a cutoff and you will be amazed. Brush/wipe on a liberal coat of Gunstock stain and wipe off immediately. Topcoat with Waterlox and apply a coat of hard wax after about a week.. Just another opinion but I do a lot of Mahogany projects and everyone loves the finish

-- JimInNM........Space Case

View Jim B's profile

Jim B

58 posts in 1469 days

#11 posted 10-05-2015 04:11 AM

I’d go with Arm-R-Seal

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