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question about maple countertop finish

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Forum topic by JeanValjean posted 03-07-2011 12:20 PM 2604 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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JeanValjean

57 posts in 2099 days


03-07-2011 12:20 PM

I am preparing to build a large kitchen island of cherry (carcass) and for the raised panels and top I am planning on using maple.
This top will live 99% of its life as a countertop only, but occassionaly the missus will throw down a little flour and roll out pizza or bread dough etc….
Am I safe using lacquer (matte finish) or should I use something water based?
IS it safe to assume since we will not be eating directly off the surface, that a “food safe” finish is not required?

Also, the current plan on constructing the top is to rip 4/4 stock to 1 5/8” strips, glue them up on the face grain to get the width I need (40”).
I will most likely do 4 separate glue ups and run them through my planer (13”) to flatten, than do a a final glue up joining the 4 pieces, than do a final flattening with a #6 plane.

Thoughts anyone?

-- Semper Fi


5 replies so far

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2311 days


#1 posted 03-07-2011 07:46 PM

Lacquer would be lowest on my list—a glass of perspiring iced tea left for just minutes will leave a ring of agony.

There are, in my experience, two viable options:

First, polyurethane, preferably solvent based. Upside: durable, mellow color. Downside: stinky to cure and needs a dust free environment for application.

Second, mineral oil. Upside: easy application, nice feel, simple to repair if there’s a booboo of any kind. Downside: pretty consistent maintenance. You’ll need to warm some up (double boiler) couple times a month to renew it. Smooth it on, let it sit, dry off the excess. No smell, no muss.

IMHO, cease to worry about “food safe.” That applies only if you’re flaking off pieces of the surface and serving them with butter and syrup. Any finish is food safe once the solvents are gone. (There are differing opinions on this. Let reason rule.)

As for your process, my only caution would be the planer runs. If this is hard rock maple, it’s pretty easy to get a tearout or two. Thin cuts, low feed rate, some guys even dampen the surface as it goes into the machine, still no guarantee.

Best would be if you could get the 4 pieces to an abrasive planer which could take them down with 80 or 100 grit and then you go from there by hand and ROS of you choose.

Kindly,

Lee

-- "...in his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

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Brrman

60 posts in 2133 days


#2 posted 03-07-2011 08:20 PM

If you are not cutting on it then food-safe is not exactly required, even when rolling out dough. A knife will release pieces of the finish.

I would go the poly route.

-- "Being a perfectionist does not make one perfect..."

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DLCW

530 posts in 2115 days


#3 posted 03-08-2011 04:57 AM

I would apply several coats of tung oil to the top. Let it really soak in to the wood. This will provide a durable and beautiful finish. If someone does “accidentally” cut the top, it is a very easy repair. Simply add another coat of oil.

Unfortunately about the only finish that will be abusive proof is going to be epoxy. It is used a lot on high use tops (bars tops) and really stands the test of time. Companies like West Marine sell it in large containers so it is easy to mix. Application is another matter. I would suggest finding someone local who has worked with this top coat before attempting on your own.

-- Don, Diamond Lake Custom Woodworks - http://www.dlwoodworks.com - "If you make something idiot proof, all they do is make a better idiot"

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2311 days


#4 posted 03-09-2011 03:10 AM

I visited with a client yesterday who has a maple top on her island. She treats it once a week with mineral oil. She does not do raw meat on it, but she does cut vegetables. It looked pretty good. Some knife marks, but of the “lived in” variety. She was very fond of it.

Kindly,

Lee

-- "...in his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View Earlextech's profile

Earlextech

1159 posts in 2151 days


#5 posted 03-09-2011 04:06 PM

My personal Maple top is finished with mineral oil. Easy to resand and recoat if damaged.

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "Finished"!

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