Reply by Scott Bryan

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Posted on Old Reclaimed Brazilian Wood CounterTops, How to Finish?

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Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3845 days

#1 posted 11-04-2010 12:56 PM

Layla, it sounds as if you have a countertop that is constructed with Brazillian cherry. It is a hard dense wood that can be dark red. It will be gorgeous when finished.

That being said, I do not sand any wood further than 220 grit and usually do not go further than 180 grit if I am going to be putting on a natural finish. If you are after a smooth finish then “finishing the finish” will get you to that point rather than continuing to sand the wood with higher grits. My major concern with the routine that you are describing is that mineral oil, even with the beeswax, will provide no surface protection and only minimal waterproofing.

The tung oil will work better but, if I were doing this, I would rather use one of the wiping varnishes, such as poly, since they provide better surface and moisture protection. The addition of any finish will add some color to the wood. I would suggest that you try a finishing routine out on scrap pieces to determine if it is going to meet your needs before applying the finish to your countertop. But to answer your question about using the countertop I would advise against it until your finishing routine is complete and it has had time to cure. Tung oil is a reactive finish, which means that to cure it has to have time to bond with oxygen in the air. To cure completely it will take about two to 4 weeks depending on the temperature.

Another suggestion I would have is that if you are concerned about odors, have you considered using a water based poly? It does not impart the same warmth to the project as oil base does but it stays clear and has almost no odor. And, as with any project, please put finish on both sides of the countertop to equalize moisture penetration. Finishing only one side could lead to cupping due to uneven moisture absorption.

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