Need help with finish for 100 yr old table

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Forum topic by Coyotexas posted 598 days ago 531 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 972 days

598 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: question

I am in the process of making a dining table out of White Oak. It was salvaged from a barn. The table top is done except for the finishing. This is my first time working with reclaimed lumber so I have a few questions for anyone that is willing to help.

1. there are a few spots that are soft. It does not hurt the structure, I just don’t want them to get worse or easily chipped. I was thinking of a wood hardener but don’t want to get a discolored spot.

2. Any suggestions on what finish to use. I want a flat finish but we will be using the table every day so I need durability.

Thanks in advance for any help.

5 replies so far

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1433 posts in 998 days

#1 posted 598 days ago

I don’t have experience with wood “hardeners” but a good looking durable easy to apply finish is a waterborne poly floor finish. I like Varathane.

-- Clint Searl.............We deserve what we tolerate

View ToddJB's profile


2015 posts in 767 days

#2 posted 598 days ago

I used flooring finish on the dining table I made and it has worked great (2 years in). I used the most satin stuff I could find because I didn’t want any gloss effect at all. It has held up great, and mine is VERY reclaimed. The legs have huge chunks busted out and the top has some pretty deep splits in it.

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

View AJLastra's profile


86 posts in 865 days

#3 posted 598 days ago

There has been a recent trend in the use of epoxy based finish. some new products online if you search and I cant remember the latest one I read about otherwise I’d be happy to send you the link. they are, as Ian Kirby would say, harder then the hobs of hell. Problem is, they dont sand well and the look you seem to want is not something that you’re going to get, as far as the sheen, right out of the can. you want the hardness and durability for the top but you dont want it glossy, and that makes sense. but to get a really nice looking finish, you’ll need to rub the gloss to that dull sheen you’re after. Behlen sells a finish specifically designed for tabletops…Behlen Rock Hard Table top varnish. Not sure how it rubs out though. If you’re not spraying the finish, then the most durable finish you can apply by hand is oil based polyurethane and I think someone has already mentioned Varathane. The fact that you’ll have open pores in this wood will help with the surface sheen somewhat because you’re not doing a filled pore finish.

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1251 posts in 976 days

#4 posted 598 days ago

There is a product called git-rot. It is a very thin epoxy that is used as it name says. To cure wood-rot. I think that is what you are describing. It is not cheap.

-- Thor and Odin are still the greatest of Gods.

View Coyotexas's profile


2 posts in 972 days

#5 posted 594 days ago

Thanks for all the help, I really do appreciate it. I am still researching what I want to use. I will post pics when I finish. Thanks again.

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