How should I finish this butcher block-style dining table?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Finishing forum

Forum topic by clickbangboom posted 01-24-2013 12:59 PM 14562 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View clickbangboom's profile


6 posts in 1999 days

01-24-2013 12:59 PM

Topic tags/keywords: table finishing maple walnut cherry question

Hi Everyone,

This my first post to this forum but have been reading it for a while now. I’m looking for some advice on how to finish a table I’m working on for a friend. The table is made of walnut, maple & cherry. The design isn’t mine– I was just commissioned to build it. It will not be used as a butcher block– it will just be a dining table but I want it to be easy to clean. This is the second table I’ve built and I just don’t know anything about finishing. I read Taunton’s Complete Illustrated Guide to Finishing but I really don’t know what direction to go.

It was glued together in pattern, planed using a CNC machine and the surface was prepared by hand scraping the CNC tool marks and a bit of light sanding. It will have custom metal hairpin legs. See pictures below.

The table after planing on the CNC.

Inscription on the underside.

Detail of the three wood types.

The hairpin legs (they aren’t done yet)—the triangle fits into a CNC-routed pocket in the underside of the table.

Ideally I’d like something that is foodsafe and requires minimal upkeep– maybe once a year or so.

Thanks for your suggestions.



4 replies so far

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3208 days

#1 posted 01-24-2013 01:24 PM

Gorgeous woods. Don’t screw it up with stains. If you want it to pop a bit, wipe it with dewaxed shellac first. Otherwise, I’d go straight to a film finish. I’d use water-borne poly to keep from ambering the wood too much and to give a hard finish that will resist wear.

-- jay,

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2411 days

#2 posted 01-24-2013 01:34 PM

Forget the shellac. If you can spray, consider CAB acrylic lacquer. Otherwise a waterborne poly floor finish is the way I’d go. First choice: Bona Mega.

-- 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 clickbangboom's profile


6 posts in 1999 days

#3 posted 01-24-2013 02:57 PM

Clint, My shops not set up to spray—hopefully one day!

Why a floor finish specifically? Why would you recommend that over any other waterborne poly? Just for durability?

Thanks for the responses guys. My plan was to shellac it, but that was as far as I had gotten. I bugged a woodworking friend of mine yesterday and he recommended pretty much what Cosmicsniper said. I feel good about multiple concurring opinions.

I’m gonna prep for the shellac with 220 grit—> tac cloth—> mineral spirits and hopefully get the first coat on today.



View clickbangboom's profile


6 posts in 1999 days

#4 posted 01-24-2013 02:58 PM

just noticed a pun in there—“bugged” a guy about shellac… unintentional, but I like it


Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics