A Question About How To Finish Reclaimed Wood

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Forum topic by arborexchange posted 10-13-2010 04:33 AM 18849 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3 posts in 2779 days

10-13-2010 04:33 AM

Topic tags/keywords: reclaimed wood reclaimed finish stain doug fir table tops restaurant commercial question

Hey everyone,

I’m fairly new to the woodworking world and just signed up to Lumberjocks today. I am teaching myself how to build furniture out of reclaimed wood from around Los Angeles, where I live. For the dining tables we build, and in keeping with our desire to build green from start to finish, we have been using a clear gloss Vermont Natural Coating to finish the tables (2-3 coats). The finished table tops have turned out great and it appears to be good enough for the regular household dining table.

BUT, we have recently been commissioned to build a few table tops for a restaurant that is opening here. We will be using reclaimed Doug Fir for the tops and won’t be staining them at all. My question involves the finish. I obviously want to make sure I get it right – these commercial table tops will most likely go through lots of water, beer and cleaning products – and I want to make sure we protect the tops for as long as we can.

If some of you out there could give me some advice on what product might be best, and what method might be used, I would greatly appreciate it.



-- Josh, Los Angeles,

8 replies so far

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 2979 days

#1 posted 10-13-2010 05:12 AM

Welcome to Lumber Jocks. I would use Bar top epoxy.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View arborexchange's profile


3 posts in 2779 days

#2 posted 10-13-2010 05:45 AM


Thanks for the fast reply. I have been researching your suggestion for the past hour or so and found this epoxy for sale that looks like it could do the trick nicely:

Does this look like what you’re talking about?

I have 154 sq feet of table tops, which would mean around 8 gallons of the stuff.

Anyway, thanks again and I appreciate any time you can give.


-- Josh, Los Angeles,

View GoodsCustomCarpentry's profile


8 posts in 2787 days

#3 posted 10-13-2010 06:15 AM

I agree with Greg. I built a 26 foot u L-shaped bar for a new tavern in town, all using reclaimed old growth lumber from the bar owner’s 150 year old family farm. (kind of a neat idea considering the bar has a farm theme) I used an epoxy I ordered from, the people were great and the website is really helpful. It was the pour on style called BIO Clear 810 and worked just fine for the bar top, which had a 1/2 epoxy layer. After reading the information from I learned that epoxy will discolor and “caulk” if exposed too much UV or sunlight. They recommened a UV protectant, that they also sell. I was also worried about airbubbles that form from the mixing and curing process and they recommended using a hair dryer to help bring them to the surface. Do yourself a favor and wait the recommended amount of time before assembly, just because it looks cured, doesn’t mean the epoxy underneath the surface has cured. About a year later and the bar top still looks as good as it did the day we took it out of the shop and installed it. I just checked the website and now they sell it through a 3rd party website called Good Luck with the tables and post some pictures when your get them done.
If you have any more questions let me know, I would be happy to help.

-- The official wood butcher of the HUB CITY!

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4310 days

#4 posted 10-13-2010 06:17 AM

...the epoxy thing doesn’t seem too green….what about tung oil.

View GoodsCustomCarpentry's profile


8 posts in 2787 days

#5 posted 10-13-2010 06:31 AM

Tung oil would work great if you have alot of time, but considering you are manufacturing the tables for another business I doubt you have the time.

“As far as the tung oil, the rule is that generally you apply it once a day for a week, once a week for a month, once a month for a year and once a year thereafter.”


-- The official wood butcher of the HUB CITY!

View tbone's profile


276 posts in 3680 days

#6 posted 10-13-2010 04:47 PM

I’ve read the info on the Bar Top epoxy mentioned above. It looks like that’s the stuff that sports bars and Chili’s uses. If your client is after that built-up, glassy look—then fine—go ahead and use it.
If you want to show off the look of the reclaimed wood AND protect it from alcohol and cleaning chemicals, then you might consider a water-based polyurethane.

Have you talked to the folks at Vermont Natural Coatings to get their opinion?

-- Kinky Friedman: "The first thing I'll do if I'm elected is demand a recount."

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4214 days

#7 posted 10-13-2010 05:30 PM

The epoxy would be best for holding up long term, but then there is the green factor…..

I notice that Vermont Natural Coatings makes a water-based floor finish. It seems like that would have to be pretty durable.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View arborexchange's profile


3 posts in 2779 days

#8 posted 10-14-2010 01:02 AM

Wow…I REALLY appreciate all of the suggestions from everyone and will definitely delve further into researching the epoxy you mentioned (thanks Jeremy) as well as the VNC floor finish (thanks Charlie). In the end, my client is green, green, green so if the VNC will work, I may go with that option (I just left them a message).

I will be sure to post some pictures when it’s all done and done. 22 table tops coming up!


-- Josh, Los Angeles,

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