Need some help refinishing reclaimed island counter

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Forum topic by dhearsch posted 07-02-2016 02:29 PM 418 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3 posts in 1798 days

07-02-2016 02:29 PM

First off would like to say what a great resource this forum has been for me – I am no professional (or even really hobbyist) woodworker but I enjoy taking on projects and resources like this are invaluable.

Wife and kids are out of town for a couple of weeks so I thought it was the right time to tackle a project I’ve been thinking about for awhile – refinishing our reclaimed wood counter top. I finished this top about 3 years ago and have always felt that the finish was too thick – very waterproof but glasses would “stick” to it. I originally finished with 4-5 brushed coats of Waterlox original (thick) and then 2 coats of thinned satin Waterlox.

Yesterday I sanded the top with 80 and 220 using an orbital sander (see pics – no idea why one is upside down). My plan is to wipe on a very thin coat of stain to even out the areas that got down into the wood (it’s old white oak that was stained a medium brown), then finish with 2 coats of Waterlox satin. From what I have read here, it seems that rubbing out regular Waterlox is the preferred approach to achieving a satin look.

My top is quite distressed and has lots of nooks and crannies. Before I go the route of regular Waterlox and rubbing (after a few weeks with steel wool and wax) I just wanted to confirm that this approach will work with irregular surfaces, or if just applying the satin Waterlox will yield better results.

Appreciate any advice…

3 replies so far

View JBrow's profile


1327 posts in 825 days

#1 posted 07-03-2016 01:15 AM


My personal preference is for polyurethane or urethane finishes, rather than penetrating oil finishes. A big reason for this preference is the time required for the oil finish to completely cure. If the original applications of Waterlox were done in relatively rapid succession, this may account for glasses sticking to the countertop; but I am just guessing since I do not use the product.

Since I am largely ignorant of Waterlox, my approach before applying Waterlox to the newly sanded countertop would be to look to Waterlox for some guidance and then follow their recommendations. I found this information on the Waterlox web site, which may offer helpful information that would be authoritative…

Poking around their web site a little more could reveal additional information about their products.

View Kirk650's profile


524 posts in 653 days

#2 posted 07-03-2016 02:46 AM

Waterlox will build a film, so no problems there. It will however take a while to cure.

I’d use the satin rather than rub it out.

View dhearsch's profile


3 posts in 1798 days

#3 posted 07-05-2016 02:52 PM

Thanks for the advice – decided to go ahead with Waterlox satin and the results are fantastic (pic below). Went on very easy and no brush strokes to be seen. I applied fairly thick with a high-quality brush and made sure that air circulation was minimal for the first few hours to avoid dust. The previous finish was Waterlox as well, even though I sanded the film off the wood was still sealed so I only did two coats total. I let the can of Waterlox sit for awhile then poured off some from the top and used this for the first coat (didn’t want too much satin additive). I let this dry for 24 hours then applied the second coat. I supposed time will tell about the durability but the look is exactly what I was after.

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