Finishing a barnwood dining table

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Forum topic by Slabguy posted 07-23-2013 06:43 PM 1475 views 1 time favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Slabguy's profile


33 posts in 1970 days

07-23-2013 06:43 PM

I am building a red oak dining table with wood salvaged from a barn built in the 40’s (if my info is correct). I have planed the wood and it looks beautiful. I want to make the colors pop but also want to get a good seal since we’ll be consuming beverages and meatstuffs on it. What would you guys recommend?

5 replies so far

View pintodeluxe's profile


5798 posts in 3015 days

#1 posted 07-23-2013 06:57 PM

I like oil based stain and sprayed pre-cat lacquer for dining tables. All of my tables have held up great to years of regular use.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View CharlesNeil's profile


2457 posts in 4072 days

#2 posted 07-23-2013 07:25 PM

Typically these woods are extremely dry, so a little revitalization is in order, I would use a good varnish oil, like Arm R Seal , Minwax poly oil, Formbys tung oil. and drown it, ( both sides at once, ) and let it dry well then do it again, the wood will absorb the oil and it will dry forming a nice solid structure for the wood to endure, then I would continue with the oil, until you get the body and sheen you want, but you want the first couple of coats to have plenty of dry time, or it will continue to absorb, this is also the reason for a good oil that dries well.

View richardwootton's profile


1701 posts in 2157 days

#3 posted 07-23-2013 07:43 PM

I’d say Mr. Charls Neil hit the nail on the head. That’s the approach I’d personally gone with before with reclaimed heart pine and it turned out beautifully.

-- Richard, Hot Springs, Ar -- Galoot In Training

View Slabguy's profile


33 posts in 1970 days

#4 posted 07-23-2013 09:04 PM

Thanks guys. That helps a lot. Do I need to sand in between coats or not?

View fredj's profile


186 posts in 2020 days

#5 posted 07-23-2013 09:42 PM

As rule you should sand between surface coats, but read what the manufacturer says. Also many finishes take longer to dry than what you may expect. As an example, it has rained almost every day here in SC for the past 8 weeks, and often all day. Makes drying times s l o wwww. For indoor use table tops I like a coat or two of Watco Oil, let it dry at least a week, then use a polyurethane over that. I keep hearing about Arm R Seal on here but I’ve never used it. I have had my best results with Defthane, and my worst with Minwax. Watco says you can use poly over it after 72 hours. Even after 100 hours it tends to slow the drying time on poly, but it does dry and it does last. Finished my red oak dinning room table that way more than 20 years ago, still looks great. See my post “Table/Bench”, the top is kiln dried red oak, the legs air dried white oak. Finished as above. The legs dried much faster. With the oil finish, I let it dry over night and then sand with wet/dry 400 grit with oil, rag it off, dry and hit it again. The open pores of the wood will to some extent fill with some of the slurry from the wet sanding. Oil finishes are easy to touch up if needed, but they tend to need reworking if under heavy use. I like them because they make the grain jump up demanding ‘Look at me!’

-- Fredj

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