LumberJocks

How would you finish a pine farm table?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Finishing forum

Forum topic by b2rtch posted 11-20-2013 03:24 PM 3578 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View b2rtch's profile

b2rtch

4822 posts in 2509 days


11-20-2013 03:24 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question finishing

A friend of mine gave me old and dry 6×12 and 8×16 fir beams.
Last Friday I started (I am not sure why) ripping these beams to make a farm table.(I already have farm table)
I ripped them at 1 1/2” ad I got 1 1/4 finish
The top is now finished.
I wonder what I should do for finish it.
In the past I just used a stain oil form Lowes and then I applied several coats of water based polyurethane.
Since then I read about ‘pickled” wood finish after using a wood conditioner and other ways to finish the table.
What would you recommend?
Thank you for any help

-- Bert


12 replies so far

View Grandpa's profile

Grandpa

3256 posts in 2136 days


#1 posted 11-20-2013 03:42 PM

I think this is a preference thing. I have done a little pickling. It was the rage in my part of the country about 20 years ago. Everything was pickled. It was like back in the day when everything was “antiqued”. Those old upright pianos are still suffering from that. I am a stain and clear finish guy. Just my preference. I think you will get as many answers on this as you would if you asked whether to sell you radial arm saw or keep it. I will say that I would not use water based polyurethane on it. I am seeing this stuff coming off in homes where they have used it on cabinets. I know the tops should never be exposed to standing water but what do you do if you have the Thanksgiving spread on the table and Junior spills his water. It runs under the center runner on the table (We often use a woven cloth runner on the table that covers the area between place mats instead of a table cloth) and wets the top. Now do you take the food off and back to the kitchen to dry the table or do you eat. You have Aunt Minnie and Uncle Fred and 24 other people seated. I see this finish as not very useful in many cases. Several years ago I went to an antique store where they had people talking about finishes and what to not do etc. A lady asked the man what to use on a table. She had an antique and wanted to use it in her home regularly. He told her to use oil based polyurethane varnish (we didn’t have water based in those days) and use it. This was the toughest finish known at the time he said. When you get ready to sell it strip the finish and change it to a period finish. Protect the table for now. That is probably what I would do.

View b2rtch's profile

b2rtch

4822 posts in 2509 days


#2 posted 11-20-2013 04:15 PM

Thank you grandpa,
The problem with oil finish is that it turns yellow or orange (some people like it), it does not stay clear.

-- Bert

View RogerInColorado's profile

RogerInColorado

321 posts in 1415 days


#3 posted 11-20-2013 05:02 PM

Several years ago there was one of those “How-to” shows on TV. One was about a couple of brothers in New York City who built things for their neighbors, etc. One of their projects was a farm table for the local VFW or Eagles or Elks or some other social organization. It was a long table, probably an 8 footer, but not terribly wide. I thought it was a pretty nice looking design and very functional. To finish it they used a brown tinted Briewax. They just applied it with a rag and then buffed it out. I was pretty surprised at first, but as they were applying it they talked about why they chose it. It’s really easy to apply, it looks nice and it protects the wood. The next reason was pretty interesting. They said the table would age pretty quickly in use and it would stop looking so “new” In the rough and tumble world the table was going into, it sort of needed to have a comfortable look to it so the occupants wouldn’t worry about ruining the finish. The last reason was, maybe, the best of all. The finish was easy to renew, just clean off the dried food and beer spills and then apply another coat of Briewax. I think if I had a farmhouse table environment, that’s the path I’d take. If one of the kids drives a fork into the top of the table, he’s not committing vandalism, he’s just being a kid, and rather than damaging the finish, he’s just adding character (and a bit of history) to the table. The finish is not a “hard” finish, and I think that was their point, and mine.

View b2rtch's profile

b2rtch

4822 posts in 2509 days


#4 posted 11-20-2013 05:05 PM

Thank you Roger.

-- Bert

View MarkwithaK's profile

MarkwithaK

370 posts in 2638 days


#5 posted 11-20-2013 05:23 PM

I did something similar last year. Table top constructed from 2X6 lumber. As for a finish I ended up using Minwax Red Mahogany. It looked OK, very flat. I applied a coat or two of amber shellac then several coats of wipe-on poly and it really woke up the grain.

i know folks always say you cannot put poly over the amber shellac but i have had no issues with it.

-- If at first you don't succeed then maybe skydiving isn't for you.

View b2rtch's profile

b2rtch

4822 posts in 2509 days


#6 posted 11-20-2013 05:38 PM

I never used shellac in my life.
Do you brush it or spray it?

-- Bert

View Mip's profile

Mip

446 posts in 1538 days


#7 posted 11-20-2013 05:59 PM

If you want a pickled finish, soak the wood in a barrel full of whiskey. The wood will get pickled pretty quick soaking in there. In fact, anything and anyone will get good and pickled soaking in whiskey. I’m sorry, couldn’t resist. Been waiting a long time for the right setup to unload that punchline.

View b2rtch's profile

b2rtch

4822 posts in 2509 days


#8 posted 11-20-2013 06:10 PM

Do you have the whiskey?
I drink only single malt scotch, no American whiskey.

-- Bert

View MarkwithaK's profile

MarkwithaK

370 posts in 2638 days


#9 posted 11-20-2013 06:11 PM

I just used the pre-made stuff. Zinser Amber Shellac and I just brushed it on, let it dry, rub some #0000 steel wool across it and then started with the poly. I was shocked at the time the difference that the shellac really made. Comparatively I have seat top made of the same wood and finished with the same Minwax stain and wipe on poly….only difference is that I omitted the shellac and it looks very ‘blah’. As it seems the shellac really made the grain pop underneath the poly.

-- If at first you don't succeed then maybe skydiving isn't for you.

View lumberdog's profile

lumberdog

238 posts in 2728 days


#10 posted 11-20-2013 06:25 PM

I built a pine trestle table about 20 years ago, i used a dark walnut oil stain with 3 coats of shellac over it and then i applied several coats of carnauba wax, it has held up good. It does show the dents and marks from use, but it was made for family use and it has character.

-- Lumberdog.. Morley, Michigan

View b2rtch's profile

b2rtch

4822 posts in 2509 days


#11 posted 11-20-2013 06:41 PM

Thank you all for your answer/help

-- Bert

View Rick M's profile (online now)

Rick M

7907 posts in 1840 days


#12 posted 11-21-2013 05:56 PM

For a dining table I would stick with varnish, poly, or lacquer. The varnish will give you a yellowish warm tone, poly a bluish clear tone, and lacquer will be neutral clear. Pickling comes and goes in popularity.

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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

HomeRefurbers.com