Finishing solid maple slab table top.

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Forum topic by GeordieY posted 11-25-2015 08:53 PM 1162 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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7 posts in 942 days

11-25-2015 08:53 PM

I’ve been researching finish options for a table I’m building, but would like some input from people with more experience, as I have very little in regards to finishing.

The table is made from 2 kiln dried, live edge, maple (not sure if it’s soft or hard, but I’m inclined to go with soft after working with it) slabs.

The table will reside in an enclosed porch that 50% of the time (when we’re not home) will not be climate controlled (it has a window-rattler AC unit and 2 large sliding glass doors open it to the inside of the house) in the state of Florida and surrounded by windows with sheer curtains, so UV may be an issue.

Given that it will often be hot, it will see a fair amount of indirect sunlight, and the humidity levels will be subject to fluctuation, I was leaning towards treating the table as an outdoor table. The wife also wants a gloss finish, and I personally don’t want to re-apply finish very often if ever, and have concerns about the top being marred from normal use (board games, family dinners, drunks). I would also like a natural-ish finish that makes the grain pop like oil.

So far, I’ve come up with 3 possibilities: Epifanes Clear Varnish (concerns with top marring), oil followed by bar top epoxy (concerns with epoxy adherence due to oil and how much the epoxy yellowing from the sun will affect the look), and 1/3 BLO, 1/3 Helman’s Spar Varnish in gloss, and 1/3 mineral spirits (concerns with top marring).

Thank you in advance for your words of wisdom,


11 replies so far

View GeordieY's profile


7 posts in 942 days

#1 posted 11-25-2015 09:11 PM

It could be that I can finish it like an indoor table and not worry, I’m just uncertain. Any suggestions would be helpful.

View conifur's profile


955 posts in 1173 days

#2 posted 11-25-2015 09:14 PM

I would not like the epoxy look personally, your 3rd option I think is the best but dont know how glossy it will be, but very reparable. That would need to be done on a sample piece.

-- Knowledge and experience equals Wisdom, Michael Frankowski

View JayT's profile


5668 posts in 2233 days

#3 posted 11-25-2015 09:44 PM

I’d test the last finish before committing to it. Personally, I don’t like BLO on maple—it makes it too yellow. I’d use a good spar urethane for the final finish. If you are wanting to bring out the grain, either a different oil, like tung oil or a seal coat of shellac. Test a few and see what makes the grain look like what you want.

The spar won’t be the easiest to touch up, but will be very durable and tough, so you probably won’t have to.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2712 days

#4 posted 11-26-2015 01:51 AM

The wiped on Spar will give you the look and protection you are after IF you do 6-8 coats and IF it does not get direct sun. Omit the BLO in the Spar mix as it already contains long oils that will give the same result as applying BLO. I wipe on 2-3 parts Spar to 1 part MS on a lot of my projects.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Aj2's profile


1420 posts in 1820 days

#5 posted 11-26-2015 02:27 AM

Here’s my suggetions it does come in gloss and semi gloss.Its much like paint without color.

-- Aj

View ThomasChippendale's profile


244 posts in 954 days

#6 posted 11-26-2015 03:20 AM

General finish exterior 450, its what the desk I am writing this is finished and I was just thinking how tough this finish is. For added gloss you may want to apply 6 to 8 coats and use a sealer to cut down on the number of coats.

-- PJ

View GeordieY's profile


7 posts in 942 days

#7 posted 11-26-2015 11:19 PM

Thanks for the input fellas. I think I’ll cut the table to length then try both spar and general 450 on the scraps before deciding. I’ll post the project when it’s done.

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2383 days

#8 posted 11-27-2015 03:11 AM

Anything but a BLO concoction!

I would go with a waterborne gloss floor finish like Varathane or Bona Mega.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View DMC1903's profile


285 posts in 2349 days

#9 posted 11-27-2015 07:40 AM

I’ve used General Finishes outdoor oil and had terrible results, it looked great for several months. However, it started to peel and flake off. Now all of the outdoor furniture gets 5-7 layers of Epihanes. Never had any issues!
Best of luck.

View GeordieY's profile


7 posts in 942 days

#10 posted 11-27-2015 04:52 PM

Keep in mind that this isn’t neccesarily an outdoor table. The enclosed porch has walls and windows, and when we’re home it’s open to the inside of the house. I’d like it to last, and look good. It’s entirely possible that an interior finish could do the job in these conditions.

View GeordieY's profile


7 posts in 942 days

#11 posted 11-30-2015 07:08 PM

What about Waterlox or one of the Sutherland Welle’s Murdoch’s products (hard oil, sealer, table top)?

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