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Finish ideas for soft wood cross cut slab

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Forum topic by watermark posted 482 days ago 1566 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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watermark

394 posts in 539 days


482 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: finishing

I am at the home stretch on this coffee table the legs are Ohia and the slab is Albizia which is a very soft wood. I would like to know if there are any finishing techniques to help protect softer woods against damage of general wear and tear.

Any ideas are appreciated.

-- "He who has no dog, hunts with a cat" Portuguese proverb


9 replies so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

13212 posts in 934 days


#1 posted 482 days ago

I like tung oil. It should soak in and make the surface much more solid.

Good looking piece

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it. - It's not ability that we often lack, but the patience to use our ability

View jap's profile

jap

1224 posts in 650 days


#2 posted 482 days ago

no ideas, but that is a sweet table.

-- Joel

View Cosmicsniper's profile

Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1755 days


#3 posted 482 days ago

Beautiful table. It’s perhaps ironic that your site name is “watermark,” because that’s generally the issue with coffee table finishes. Two lines of thought…either use a hard film finish like poly or lacquer to provide protection against liquid moisture, or use no protection other than an oil. The former is typically the best way to protect such pieces while the latter maintains a tactile feel with the table and must be replenished on occasion. I like oil and wax finishes for this reason.

Being a soft wood that I am unfamiliar with, I am unsure how an oil will react with it (blotching?) so my inclination is to use go with a good film finish. Such finishes are imperfect with soft woods, as there’s no guarantee that they’ll stop lots of rough handling…it’ll be resistant to key-ring or child’s toy scratches but certainly not a ding caused by a dropped TV remote. From that standpoint, with enough dings, it’ll start looking worse and could need to be refinished sooner than you’d like.

My $.02.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

View Swyftfeet's profile

Swyftfeet

169 posts in 768 days


#4 posted 482 days ago

There are wood hardeners out there. Minwax makes one, I would use a test piece.

-- Brian

View watermark's profile

watermark

394 posts in 539 days


#5 posted 481 days ago

The Minwax hardener was what I was getting at. I haven’t found much online other then people with the question I have and will it make a good piece of soft would stand the test of time better. I am making the piece to sell so I guess I will just poly finish it and let the buyer know it’s soft wood.

Thanks for the input

-- "He who has no dog, hunts with a cat" Portuguese proverb

View Sergio's profile

Sergio

400 posts in 1289 days


#6 posted 481 days ago

I agree with Monte. Tunge oil with first applications well diluted, and some 5-6 total applications forms a net of polimer that hardens the wood. Takes ages to completely dry-out

-- - Greetings from Brazil - --

View Rick M.'s profile

Rick M.

3775 posts in 976 days


#7 posted 481 days ago

I’m very skeptical about oil as wood hardener. It might be better than nothing but that isn’t the same as being a good hardener. And while I love oil and wax finishes, they are a bad idea for coffee tables. Awhile back someone posted a tip about thinning epoxy to use as a stabilizer, I want to try it one of these days. I’ve used CA glue to stabilize/harden punky wood and it works well but obviously would be too expensive for a tabletop.

-- |Statistics show that 100% of people bitten by a snake were close to it.|

View yabbadabbadoo's profile

yabbadabbadoo

2 posts in 406 days


#8 posted 406 days ago

I have done a lot with oil, wax, marine varnish and West System.
My suggestion would be to go with an oil/wax on the legs and varnish or west system the top. West system would be expensive and you have to watch the dripping on vertical surfaces so it would be a bit of a challenge but it is forgiving too. A few years ago Wooden boat magazine did a great article on varnishing if you’re interested. Best to do a number of coats and start out thinning about 50% and thin less with each additional coat. Thinning allows it to soak in and creats a nice hard surface. The more coats the better. I would suggest 5 coats. You can actually wetsand final coats and buff to a high gloss like a mirror. A friend of mine with a body shop taught me that little trick. If it get messed up over time you just add a coat or two over th old finish.

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1380 posts in 957 days


#9 posted 406 days ago

Solvent lacquer if you can spray; otherwise, waterborne polyurethane floor finish.

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

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