Suggestions for a finish

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Forum topic by Pitt posted 07-27-2011 07:30 PM 933 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Pitt's profile


35 posts in 3771 days

07-27-2011 07:30 PM

I’m building a wine table for a wedding present. The base is mostly cherry with some maple accents. The top is side grain butcher block (cherry and maple) about 2 inches thick. The couple intends to use the top for cutting, so I assume a mineral oil and beeswax finish is best.

Is Tried and True BLO/wax a bad choice for the top?
If I go with mineral oil for the top, what should I use on the base to best match that finish?

Thanks for any suggestions.

4 replies so far

View live4ever's profile


983 posts in 2973 days

#1 posted 07-27-2011 11:52 PM

How about Salad Bowl finish for the top (which is basically food-safe varnish). Then a wipe-on varnish for the rest of the piece…something like Arm-R-Seal.

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

View bobsmyuncle's profile


110 posts in 2654 days

#2 posted 07-30-2011 02:28 PM

You should not use a film-forming finish on a surface that you will use for cutting. Repeated cuts will chip it away and allow any moisture to go through, further accelerating the flaking. Mineral oil, either alone or with wax, is a good and renewable surface.

I am not aware of any finish that is not food-safe in its cured form. At one time (and maybe still so), Salad Bowl Finish and Arm-r-seal were the identical product in two different containers.

For the base, I’d choose a low-sheen, in the wood finish like Danish Oil.

View Jonathan's profile


2608 posts in 3014 days

#3 posted 07-30-2011 03:38 PM

I’d agree with using an oil, or oil-based finish on the bottom half to try and match the mineral oil/beeswax top. If you use something like SBF, it’s not going to darken the wood as much, compared to the mineral oil, which will darken it up/saturate the colors more than the SBF.

One thing you might also want to mention to them after giving them the table is to not stack anything absorbent on it, like a stack of papers, linens, etc. If the beeswax is a fresh coat, they’d probably be fine, but the mineral oil, if saturating the wood, will have a tendency to leech back out. Just something to keep in-mind that I think a lot of people overlook. I had the pizza peel I made sitting out and a piece of paper was resting on it. That paper wicked up some of the mineral oil. Granted, there was obviously no wax over the mineral oil since it’s a pizza peel, but I’d imagine it could still happen fairly easily on a butcher block-type top that has been cut on a bit, and removed some of the wax.

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View Pitt's profile


35 posts in 3771 days

#4 posted 08-03-2011 12:47 AM

It it helps, here is the dry fit and

the glue up prior to finishing

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