Soap finish on aged white oak coffee table

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Forum topic by JALX posted 522 days ago 1077 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 522 days

522 days ago

I’m in the process of building a coffee table out of aged white oak. The white oak has been sitting in the rafters of my families barn for the last 30 years and has a darker tone on the surface due to the age of it. I’ve been researching finishes that I could use but have been disappointed with the options. I want the finish to look as natural as possible. I recently heard about soap finishing and it seems to be the best option. However, I’ve heard people say that it only looks good on lighter woods. Would the darker tone of the aged white oak still look ok with the soap finish? What preparations does the wood need before the soap finish is applied?

I’ve had trouble finding information on soap finishes as it seems it is not used very often…

7 replies so far

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

3416 posts in 2594 days

#1 posted 522 days ago

Never heard of that one. Soap?


View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1427 posts in 994 days

#2 posted 522 days ago

Likewise. Soap is hydroscopic. I wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot Pole….or two five foot Swedes.

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

View mg550's profile


11 posts in 555 days

#3 posted 522 days ago

I say go for it. There’s plenty of information out there on how to do it and what materials are needed. It’s not a new idea. It’s been around a long time and it’s a proven finishing technique.

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1427 posts in 994 days

#4 posted 521 days ago

I’m sure there’s somebody out there who extols the virtue of chicken shit and rainwater as a finish, but that doesn’t make it worth emulating.

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

View SASmith               's profile


1575 posts in 1620 days

#5 posted 521 days ago

Have you seen this post?

Edited: I now see that mg550 posted the same link.

-- Scott Smith, Southern Illinois

View bondogaposis's profile


2491 posts in 984 days

#6 posted 521 days ago

I don’t think it would be very durable. It certainly isn’t going to offer any scratch protection on a table surface, and good luck trying to put something over it if later you decide to change your mind. I’d do a lot of experimenting on scrap before I’d commit to this finish. I’ve read the above post and remain skeptical.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 1602 days

#7 posted 521 days ago

One of my clients wanted a soaped finish on an oak kitchen table, so I looked it and what I could gather was it is a fairly useless finish requiring a lot of maintenance. Went with Osmo light worktop oil in the end which is virtually transparent.

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