Waterlox Original Satin Kitchen Counter Top Application

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Forum topic by KentuckyTreeRat posted 07-27-2013 04:18 PM 9069 views 1 time favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View KentuckyTreeRat's profile


73 posts in 2487 days

07-27-2013 04:18 PM

Topic tags/keywords: waterlox finishing finish dining table counter top food safe tung oil blo mineral spirits applying applications brush wipe question resource walnut modern arts and crafts rustic traditional

I’ve only used BLO mixes with wipe on applications & have decided to experiment with using Waterlox Original Satin for a walnut Kitchen top. I’ve been testing on walnut scraps for a few days with mixed results.

1. If used as a wipe on with multiple thin coats, should it be cut with MS? 50% mixture seems extreme considering it already contains MS, and I’ve been able to push it fast and even on tests. Wipe on (but not wiped off like BLO).

2. Would an application of brush or lambswool be a better choice considering its use as on a kitchen top and more abuse?

Any experience or advice on best application of the Waterlox Original SATIN would be appreciated. I’m all ears.

The manufacturers recommendations for the Original vs Original Satin are night and day. They suggest NOT wiping on, but I’ve found numerous reports of people having much success wiping on the satin…cut with MS and uncut with MS.

-- "My glass aint half empty, or half full....I drank it all." -Me

8 replies so far

View bobasaurus's profile


3546 posts in 3420 days

#1 posted 07-27-2013 04:41 PM

Hmm, I’ve never used the satin variety, but I can’t imagine it being much different than the original. For the original, here’s what I do:

Don’t thin it at all (unless the finish gets hard, as it will eventually if you leave air in the container), it’s pre-thinned for wiping already. I would just apply thin coats and let dry… don’t apply extra for wiping off. I use cut off pieces from an old bed sheet for wiping, but any lint-free material should work. Avoid brushes unless they’re foam, the rest will leave streaks and possibly bristles.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2522 days

#2 posted 07-27-2013 05:15 PM

#1 – Use the original (not the satin) formula for the first coats. You only use the sating for the last coat.

The photo shows my walnut island counter top. 8 feet long and about 3 and a half wide.
You want to COAT BOTH SIDES, so…. start with your counter top upside down. Put on a coat of waterlox, flip it while it’s still wet, and do the top and edges.

I used a lamb’s wool applicator like you’d use for a floor. Put Waterlox in a paint roller tray (only as much as you’ll use… you DO NOT want to pour it back in the can). Dip the lamb’s wool in it and start at one end and go the whole length of the counter top. Dip the applicator, go full length again. I kept a brush dampened slightly with waterlox to run around the bottom of the edges and catch drips and/or sags while they were still very wet.

Using the lamb’s wool this way, it goes on REALLY HEAVY and that’s fine for what we were doing. I had a fan blowing OUT so that fresh air would get drawn into the space where the counter top was drying. DO NOT blow a fan on it to try to hurry it up.

Wait 24 hours. Flip your counter top upside down again and do the bottom. Then flip it while it’s wet and do the top again same as before.

I did 3 coats of the original (non-satin). When you use the satin, you would do 2 coats like I just described of the original and then your LAST coat would be the satin.

If you WIPE this stuff on, you’ll need about 10 or 12 applications, with 24 hours between applications, to get anything NEAR the build of the lamb’s wool.

It is tough, tough, stuff once it’s cured (about 3 months). You can install and use it 48 hours after the final coat. Maybe longer if it’s humis. Definitely longer if you haven’t provided a fresh air exchange for it to dry in. You can see mine has a gas cooktop set in it. Can you say, “hot grease spatters”? Doesn’t even phase the waterlox. I wipe it off with a paper towel or kitchen towel. DO NOT wax it. Mine gets wiped off with the dish rag if it gets grungy, but then only gets sprayed down with a mix of vinegar and water and wiped with paper towels.

Oh and I just did a modification to my islan top. I had to change the angle of that clipped off corner. I took the top out to my shop, wiped the entire top down with mineral spirits ‘cause I thought I’d have to put one coat over the whole thing after I treated the cut end….. didn’t have to. The “new” finish blended right into the “old” finish (about a year old) and you can’t even tell I did anything to it.

If you have questions…. ask. I saw “walnut” and “waterlox” and figured I’d throw this in here.

For a FURNITURE finish… you might get away with wiping it (pad….rag…whatever), but for a counter top, do like I said.

TEST it first to see how you like the gloss. It WILL dull down some over 6 to 9 months, but you definitely want to use the original first, and satin as a final coat. Your test will tell you if you want 2 coats of satin at the end or if it even makes a difference. I did NOT use satin at all.

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2522 days

#3 posted 07-27-2013 05:20 PM

Oh… DO NOT thin it… ESPECIALLY the satin.
When the manufacturer says don’t wipe it on, they mean like a pad or rag wipe. Wiping it on with the lamb’s wool is PER the manufacturer, as is the instruction to only use the satin as a final coat with the ORIGINAL being the first coats.

If you cut the satin, you stand a very high chance of getting a severely uneven gloss. Don’t thin it. It doesn’t need thinning.

View KentuckyTreeRat's profile


73 posts in 2487 days

#4 posted 07-27-2013 05:57 PM

Charlie, Your kitchen top looks nice.

1. Why use first? What’s the purpose and difference?

2. Why finish both sides? Fear of warping?

-- "My glass aint half empty, or half full....I drank it all." -Me

View KentuckyTreeRat's profile


73 posts in 2487 days

#5 posted 07-27-2013 05:58 PM

BTW, I’m going for a natural look. Do not want a glossy surface, hence the reason I grabbed up the satin to begin with.

-- "My glass aint half empty, or half full....I drank it all." -Me

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2522 days

#6 posted 07-27-2013 06:38 PM

1. If you can find the instructions on Waterlox’s own web site, they specifically say to use the original as the first coats and the satin as the final. I do not know the exact specifics of WHY, but I can tell you I’ve seen several people come up with a kind of varying gloss using only the satin and they blame it on the product. I say they didn’t follow the manufacturer’s directions. You can actually call Waterlox and speak to someone in tech support and get very friendly, helpful advice.

2. Both sides, yes, to prevent warping. Keep in mind I got some of my direction from a guy that’s done a lot of wood counter tops and he ONLY uses Waterlox. And has some tops with sinks set in them with no deterioration after 15 years.

You MAY get more gloss than you want even from the satin. In that case, I’m afraid you’re going to be doing an oil-only finish. If you want durable though, I can tell you it’s durable as heck and very highly repairable. Mine has a little more shine than I’d like, but I accepted that in order to have the wood AND the durability. The cooktop can wreak havoc on a lot of finishes. The Waterlox doesn’t care and shrugs it off.

Now… that being said, I can also tell you I had the cooktop set in a hard rock maple butcherblock top for 2 years before we decided to remodel and rearrange the kitchen. The butcherblock was much smaller. About 6 feet long and standard counter deptch and part of that was the cooktop. On that one I used mineral oil only as it was also used as prep space. Every day. After 2 years, I cut that counter into some LARGE cutting boards and they still look nearly perfect and I use them a lot. They’re too big for my wife, so it’s just me dragging them out to use, but no way I’m going to toss that stuff out. The oil-only approach requires more attention to spills and/or maintenance. It really depends where this counter top will be and what you are doing with it. If it’s got a sink, I would do the waterlox for sure. Cooktop? Waterlox OR oil-only. The sheen, even on satin, will give you easier maintenance. I use the heck out of mine. No regrets. And if I want satin, I can always go over it and use satin. I already know I can wipe it down with mineral spirits and have no effect on it other than making it really clean and grease free. :)
But DISHWASHING liquid is another story….. if it’s got a sink in it, you have to wipe up any dishwashing liquid drips or spills. Something in dishwashing liquid will soften the finish if left on there a long time and repeatedly. Hasn’t happened to mine because the sink is surrounded by Corian, but… just something to keep in mind.

View tturner's profile


63 posts in 2265 days

#7 posted 08-05-2013 10:57 PM

If i reiterate what the guys said before me, I apologize, but here goes…I was in the Woodcraft store in Delaware early this year and they had a large piece of walnut (MY FAV) hanging up and was beautifully finished. I personally do not like a glossy finish-i want to see the wood, not the finish. I just want a little ‘shine’. THats exactly what this was so i asked how they finished it. They said, just Waterlox. I previously made an island for my kitchen and left it bare, with just bee’s wax and mineral oil but that wears off quickly. I sanded to 320 and Waterloxed away. It took maybe 10 coats to get a small build on it; but it is absolutely the way to go. It really does lock out the water from reaching the wood. I clean it with mild dish detergent and pine sol sometimes. 6 months later it looks like new.
Do not cut it with mineral spirits. Do exactly as it says. It has strong fumes. It takes many coats before the finish begins to ‘build up’. Good luck and you have to show pictures.

-- I'm him

View FlyFisher70's profile


12 posts in 1555 days

#8 posted 10-16-2014 04:56 PM

Sorry to bring up an old post again, but has anyone noticed a difference between the original Waterlox formula and the low VOC version? I am getting ready to finish a walnut kitchen table and the guys at Woodcraft only had the low VOC version (medium sheen) available.

I am new to oil finishes, so any advice would be helpful. From other articles that I have read, it seems like those that have used the original formula can’t stand the low VOC version, but those that haven’t used the original formula don’t have any complaints about the low VOC version… I already opened the can to do a test piece so I can’t return it, just wondering if it is worth it to spend the extra money to get the original.

-- Woodworking; there is no app for that.

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