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Finishing the bottom of a table top

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Forum topic by Vindex posted 07-26-2017 03:24 AM 456 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Vindex

76 posts in 659 days


07-26-2017 03:24 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question finishing

I am in the midst of finishing a table top, and I applied a coat of danish oil and a coat of shellac to the bottom of the table. I have read that I should finish the bottom the same way as I finish the top to prevent warping. My question is: what I should do with the areas that will come into contact with the table base and battens? Should I finish them normally and just tape over the screw holes, or should I leave those parts with only the oil/shellac coating so that the finish does not get in the way?

edit: I am finishing the top with varnish over danish oil and a dewaxed shellac wash coat.


8 replies so far

View Logan Windram's profile

Logan Windram

341 posts in 2299 days


#1 posted 07-26-2017 03:29 AM

Danish Oil and Shellac will not cause a table to warp, but why not put it on both sides, it will be more complete and the material and time is negligible.

Now water based finishes may warp a wood table top, but I have to believe when it dies it goes back to form.

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Vindex

76 posts in 659 days


#2 posted 07-26-2017 03:35 AM

Sorry my initial post was less than clear. I did put the danish oil and shellac on both sides. I am now putting varnish on the top, and I am wondering how to treat the bottom. Should I varnish everything, or should I omit the varnish where it will meet the table base and battens?

View TungOil's profile

TungOil

747 posts in 332 days


#3 posted 07-26-2017 04:05 AM

Best practice is to finish both sides the same.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

View jdh122's profile

jdh122

962 posts in 2654 days


#4 posted 07-26-2017 10:29 AM

I’d put the varnish everywhere, seems unlikely it will interfere with the battens or table base. That’s assuming that your battens are screwed on rather than glued – but if they’re glued you’re likely to have other problems.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

1424 posts in 1826 days


#5 posted 07-26-2017 02:48 PM

Yes varnish the bottom. 1 coat over the oil and shellac should seal it up. The varnish will actually help to add strength inside the screw holes – no need to tape them (unless you used metal inserts). I commonly use varnish inside screw holes on old stuff to tighten them up.

View GR8HUNTER's profile

GR8HUNTER

2962 posts in 549 days


#6 posted 07-26-2017 03:04 PM

you could also fill holes with bolts or screws :<))

-- Tony Reinholds,Pa. REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View Jon Hobbs's profile

Jon Hobbs

79 posts in 541 days


#7 posted 07-26-2017 08:54 PM



Danish Oil and Shellac will not cause a table to warp, but why not put it on both sides, it will be more complete and the material and time is negligible.

Now water based finishes may warp a wood table top, but I have to believe when it dies it goes back to form.

- Logan Windram

Just to add clarity in case someone other than the OP is paying attention….

It’s not the finish that causes warping. It’s mismatched exposure to the elements due to mismatched finishing. If one side of your table top is protected from the elements, but the other is not, then over time, that can enable warping. The protected top of the piece will expand and contract very little. The unprotected (or less protected) bottom of the piece will expand and contract a great deal (relative to the top). This unbalanced/mismatched movement can lead to warping, splitting, cracking, etc.

Therefore, conventional wisdom is to finish the bottom the same way you finish the top, regardless of what type of finish you’re using, so that seasonal movement is balanced.

-- Jon -- Just a Minnesota kid hanging out in Kansas

View Vindex's profile

Vindex

76 posts in 659 days


#8 posted 07-27-2017 05:32 AM

Thanks to everybody for the advice! I am applying varnish to the bottom without covering the screw holes and applying the same number of coats to the bottom and the top. That’s exactly what I needed to know!

jdh: My battens will be attached with by screws and there are elongated holes on the battens themselves (except for the center hole).

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