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Reclaimed Oak Table -- Finishing Advice

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Forum topic by Jordan123 posted 04-17-2018 11:08 AM 398 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Jordan123

28 posts in 156 days


04-17-2018 11:08 AM

Topic tags/keywords: finishing arm-r-seal waterlox oak reclaimed varnish blo stain

I have this Reclaimed Oak Table Top ready for finish. Its handplaned as flat as I want it to be and ready for finish.

I am having trouble choosing a finish though. I tried two stain colors and hated them. I tried some GF arm r seal on a fully planed scrap piece with no saw marks and tried some BLO on an off cut from squaring up the sides of the table.

I didnt think the Arm-R-Seal was doing enough ambering but I did like the BLO. My concern is that most people who I talk with they use a water based varnish (endurovar) or waterlox and not BLO.

What do you guys think?


15 replies so far

View ChefHDAN's profile

ChefHDAN

1070 posts in 2904 days


#1 posted 04-17-2018 11:36 AM

I’ve put WB finish over BLO many times with cherry, accents the color and when the cherry ages it’s beautiful. Depending on weather conditions I generally let thee BLO cure for 7 to 10 days before spraying WB poly. This table is over 8 years old and has no finish issues, sits in the hallway and is the catchall for everything from both entry doors, keys mail water bottles etc.

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

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Tennessee

2873 posts in 2569 days


#2 posted 04-17-2018 11:38 AM

I’m not a big fan of BLO on its own, and there was even an article back in 2016 on the myth of varnish blends using BLO. (Here it is: https://www.popularwoodworking.com/woodworking-blogs/oilvarnish-blend-mythology )
It’s OK on a lathe when you want a quick thin finish so you can get the piece off the lathe, but not very durable and certainly is thin.

If I owned this table top, I’d want a couple of things:
A slight tint to tone down the whiteness of the oak that was planed clean.
Durability since it is a table top.
Something to kind of fill in the gaps of the saw marks left behind.
A semi gloss finish.

The only thing that comes to my mind that will do all that, (short of an epoxy pour, which is way too thick for this top), would be a Spar varnish, good old oil type. Marine varnish (about the same thing) with the amber tint would also be good. At least two coats.

It will take a few days to really dry, but you can brush it on with no problems due to its slow setup time, and it should add a bit of amber tint to the wood, and enhance the grain while filling the gaps just a hair to soften the unplaned surfaces.
Just MHO

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

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Jordan123

28 posts in 156 days


#3 posted 04-17-2018 11:50 AM


I m not a big fan of BLO on its own, and there was even an article back in 2016 on the myth of varnish blends using BLO. (Here it is: https://www.popularwoodworking.com/woodworking-blogs/oilvarnish-blend-mythology )
It s OK on a lathe when you want a quick thin finish so you can get the piece off the lathe, but not very durable and certainly is thin.

If I owned this table top, I d want a couple of things:
A slight tint to tone down the whiteness of the oak that was planed clean.
Durability since it is a table top.
Something to kind of fill in the gaps of the saw marks left behind.
A semi gloss finish.

The only thing that comes to my mind that will do all that, (short of an epoxy pour, which is way too thick for this top), would be a Spar varnish, good old oil type. Marine varnish (about the same thing) with the amber tint would also be good. At least two coats.

It will take a few days to really dry, but you can brush it on with no problems due to its slow setup time, and it should add a bit of amber tint to the wood, and enhance the grain while filling the gaps just a hair to soften the unplaned surfaces.
Just MHO

- Tennessee

You would stay away from the GF or Waterlox brand of stuff? If you are familiar with sons of sawdust. They are a a popular reclaimed wood table company, they use waterlox and they definitely get a nice tinted result.

http://sonsofsawdust.com/x-base-reclaimed-wood-farm-table/—You can see some pictures here

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Jordan123

28 posts in 156 days


#4 posted 04-17-2018 11:51 AM


I ve put WB finish over BLO many times with cherry, accents the color and when the cherry ages it s beautiful. Depending on weather conditions I generally let thee BLO cure for 7 to 10 days before spraying WB poly. This table is over 8 years old and has no finish issues, sits in the hallway and is the catchall for everything from both entry doors, keys mail water bottles etc.

- ChefHDAN

BLO on a food table makes me somewhat nervous, and am afraid it may amber it too much

View Tennessee's profile

Tennessee

2873 posts in 2569 days


#5 posted 04-17-2018 11:59 AM

You would stay away from the GF or Waterlox brand of stuff? If you are familiar with sons of sawdust. They are a a popular reclaimed wood table company, they use waterlox and they definitely get a nice tinted result.

http://sonsofsawdust.com/x-base-reclaimed-wood-farm-table/—You can see some pictures here

- Jordan123

Maybe, but I refinished professionally from 1976 to 1988, way before anyone was even thinking of water based finishes. I must have done 100 + tables in that 12 year span, tinted in all flavors. When we wanted a slight amber tint with durability, we went with what the boat builders were using – Spar or Marine varnish. Sometimes, when the wood was favorable, we used a maple stain heavily thinned with turpentine, and used it on sample wood until we got the right tint, and sprayed it on and let it dry, followed by a Varathane, Spar, or Marine varnish. Never had one complaint.

I know things improve over time, and sons of sawdust might be correct, but I am an old school kind of guy. There is one can of water base finish in my shop. Used it once, not a fan, I think it froze over the winter so out it goes when I get it dried out so I can dispose of it.

DURABILITY is what I am aiming for. Does that happen with the water based finishes? I personally don’t know. Looks kind of thin in the sons of sawdust pics. I want something I can repair easily, like with a paste wax, or one of those old school repair finishes none of us ever buy, but non-woodworkers seem to. Like old english.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

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OSU55

1737 posts in 2044 days


#6 posted 04-17-2018 12:05 PM

some reading that can help you.. BLO is pretty useless, Mix dye into thinned poly. If you want to use a wb finish, you need something under it to give chatoyance – shellac or ob poly will do that, tint with dye for color.

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LittleShaver

339 posts in 674 days


#7 posted 04-17-2018 12:05 PM

The first thing I put on our white oak table top was BLO. Followed by many coats of wipe on poly. Been holding up well for 8 years. My top was fully smoothed, so I didn’t have the saw marks to contend with. But the color is a wonderful golden tone.

-- Sawdust Maker

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Jordan123

28 posts in 156 days


#8 posted 04-17-2018 12:07 PM


You would stay away from the GF or Waterlox brand of stuff? If you are familiar with sons of sawdust. They are a a popular reclaimed wood table company, they use waterlox and they definitely get a nice tinted result.

http://sonsofsawdust.com/x-base-reclaimed-wood-farm-table/—You can see some pictures here

- Jordan123

Maybe, but I refinished professionally from 1976 to 1988, way before anyone was even thinking of water based finishes. I must have done 100 + tables in that 12 year span, tinted in all flavors. When we wanted a slight amber tint with durability, we went with what the boat builders were using – Spar or Marine varnish. Sometimes, when the wood was favorable, we used a maple stain heavily thinned with turpentine, and used it on sample wood until we got the right tint, and sprayed it on and let it dry, followed by a Varathane, Spar, or Marine varnish. Never had one complaint.

I know things improve over time, and sons of sawdust might be correct, but I am an old school kind of guy. There is one can of water base finish in my shop. Used it once, not a fan, I think it froze over the winter so out it goes when I get it dried out so I can dispose of it.

DURABILITY is what I am aiming for. Does that happen with the water based finishes? I personally don t know. Looks kind of thin in the sons of sawdust pics. I want something I can repair easily, like with a paste wax, or one of those old school repair finishes none of us ever buy, but non-woodworkers seem to. Like old english.

- Tennessee

Ill pick up a can and use it on a test piece

View Snipes's profile

Snipes

177 posts in 2299 days


#9 posted 04-17-2018 12:17 PM

Old Masters oil base polyurethane.

-- if it is to be it is up to me

View UncleBuck's profile

UncleBuck

228 posts in 135 days


#10 posted 04-17-2018 12:52 PM

Tennessee i have used spar varnish for a few years really like it just finished a walnut coffee table live edge, have been looking on line to see if i can polish the top, is that possible using spar and how hard is it to do. please let me have a slice of that finishing knowledge please and thank you.

-- Terry Uncle Buck Carvins "woodworking minus patience equals firewood "

View ChefHDAN's profile

ChefHDAN

1070 posts in 2904 days


#11 posted 04-17-2018 01:26 PM


BLO on a food table makes me somewhat nervous, and am afraid it may amber it too much

- Jordan123

I’d never finish a food contact surface or cutting board with straight BLO, the dryers are very toxic. A table however that I would be serving food from that had BLO sealed below poly is a completely different story. If this is your everyday kitchen table and you’ve got kids, then save the heartache and go with poly. I have a 1914 QS white oak 50” split pedestal table that I refinished with OB Poly 6 years ago for our family kitchen table, literally hundreds of school projects, homework etc that finish has never needed to be repaired, even after several “OOPS” moments with my two girls learning how to paint their nails. The only part of finishing a project I like is that magical moment when the wood and grain comes alive, the rest of the process makes me nuts, and RE-finishing or RE-pairing is worse.

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View JoeinGa's profile

JoeinGa

7739 posts in 2061 days


#12 posted 04-17-2018 01:52 PM

I built a new dining table 5 years ago. Here’s a link to my project http://lumberjocks.com/projects/77110

Twice in that 5 years I’ve rubbed in a couple new coats of Tung oil and I gotta say it looks just the same as the day I first finished it. And yes, it’s our daily use table.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

1737 posts in 2044 days


#13 posted 04-17-2018 02:29 PM

BTW, the mw “tung oil” discussed above is not tung oil. It is no different then mw wipe on poly or thinned regular poly. The latter is much cheaper to use.

Also, understand spar varnishes are much softer than indoor varnishes due to higher oil content. They are easier to abrade and scratch, but do provide more water reistance – although I have not had an issue with indoor poly, oil or water based, with standing water from cold drinks etc.

View Rich's profile

Rich

3195 posts in 644 days


#14 posted 04-17-2018 03:42 PM


I m not a big fan of BLO on its own, and there was even an article back in 2016 on the myth of varnish blends using BLO. (Here it is: ....

- Tennessee

That’s such a great article. When I first read it, it struck home since I hear that “secret recipe” repeated often. Just hang out at a Woodcraft store for a while and you’ll hear it too.

My favorite quote from the article is:

“I’ve come to the conclusion that a lot of people write about finishes without really understanding them. But they are clever, and they know just enough to be able to make up stuff that seems correct within their understanding.”

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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BorkWood

14 posts in 107 days


#15 posted 04-17-2018 05:15 PM

Waterlox buffed to whatever sheen you want or Spar Varnish would be my choices, nice table top!

-- Matt, Woodworker based in NC, https://www.BorkWoodBlog.com

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