Coffee Table Slab Finishing

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Forum topic by SMelendez posted 01-09-2012 10:39 AM 4659 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 2324 days

01-09-2012 10:39 AM

Topic tags/keywords: slab finish

Hi I’m still a newbie wood worker and I was wondering what the best way is to finish a small wood slab I want to use as a coffee table for my girlfriend.

I’m a fan of using oils to give the wood some color, but I know that isn’t very long lasting. Is there a varnish I can put on top of a coat of oil to give it some durability? And do I have to treat the live edges differently than the top?

Thanks for any advice!!

3 replies so far

View woodluc's profile


11 posts in 2324 days

#1 posted 01-09-2012 01:23 PM

Being a coffee table you will need something pretty durable, especially if its going to get a lot of traffic.
We use clear 2pac for doing table tops a lot. Its a bit difficult to get a good finish without a spray booth and quite pricey.
Next best thing IMO would be a poly-eurothane laquer. Oil + varnish won’t mix real well I wouldnt Imagine although i’ve never tried it. It’s always one or the other.


View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2356 days

#2 posted 01-10-2012 12:07 AM

The easiest durable finish is an oil polyurethane. A can of Minwax spray poly in the sheen of your choice should be enough for this project. Test it on the underside then go for it. Wire brush the edges and spray them, too.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4928 posts in 3955 days

#3 posted 01-10-2012 12:53 AM

Here’s what I do:
Couple coats of Zinsser Seal Coat shellac to seal. It is dewaxed so ya won’t have any adhesion probs. Scuff sand lightly between coats to remove the nibs. Modern Masters gloss water born poly to finish. Use sanding pads (fine) between coats. I will put on about three to five coats depending on results. Easy clean up with amonia and soap, few fumes to deal with, and a good rub with a finishing wax and steel wool for a nice semi-gloss or satin surface (which ever ya want). Oil based stuff will impart a yellowing cast. That may not be an issue for you, but I just want to keep more of the natural look of the workpiece. The gloss finish will yield more clarity, and you can buff out to whatever sheen you want
I have no affiliation with the above-mention brands.


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