Birdseye Maple Flooring - Best Finish Tips

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Forum topic by BreadWinner posted 04-01-2014 08:38 PM 1152 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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7 posts in 1669 days

04-01-2014 08:38 PM

A good friend of mine found about 3,000 feet of 130 year old birdseye maple flooring. She wants to know the best way to bring out the natural color of the wood and protect it? Any tips and advice on refinishing that I could pass along to her? Thanks in advance!

8 replies so far

View TechTeacher04's profile


325 posts in 951 days

#1 posted 04-03-2014 12:43 PM

Oil based wears better under foot traffic than any of the water or oil modified finishes. I personally prefer the amber look of oil based finishes as opposed to the cloudy milky colored water based ones. Always had good luck with Minwax. just my $.02

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3570 posts in 1141 days

#2 posted 04-03-2014 01:04 PM

Several different manufacturers of flooring rated poly. I too would stay away from the water borne finishes, oil will look better.

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1157 posts in 2110 days

#3 posted 04-03-2014 01:17 PM

Or you could add the amber tone to any waterborn you choose and spray it safely with low VOC’s. My preferred floor finish is .
Or you could seal with toned, dewaxed shellac, to get the color you want, then top coat with waterborn.
Where’s Clint? – He’ll have a three word answer for this question.

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "Finished"!

View Purrmaster's profile


914 posts in 1513 days

#4 posted 04-03-2014 08:01 PM

I know that Waterlox is often used for flooring. It will darken the wood a bit more than, for example, Minwax poly.

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7 posts in 1669 days

#5 posted 04-03-2014 10:08 PM

Thanks for all of the advice yall! I’ve passed it along to her. She sends her appreciation as well.

View woodchuckerNJ's profile


1140 posts in 1054 days

#6 posted 04-03-2014 10:33 PM

You should use oil based poly.

But I have done floors in shellac too. It will pop the eyes well… Some will say it doesn’t wear well. It does.
But if you want looks, but the shellac on, (zinser seal coat (no wax)) then put oil based poly on top.

Shellac pops wood better than just oil based poly… so the 2 would really be nice.

Now if you are taking just using the flooring for projects, then SHELLAC.. it pops the eyes.
Also you can use dyes to pop the eyes too, then shellac…

-- Jeff NJ

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2513 posts in 1395 days

#7 posted 04-03-2014 11:11 PM

Taber abrasion testing by Taber Industries indicates the some of the poly-isocyanurate waterborn finishes like Bona Kemi-Traffic or Dura Seal Xtera have taber abrasion resistance ratings much higher than oil modified finishes. This is using the Taber Grit feeder method SIS 92 35 09 and ASTM D4060. My experience in using thousands of gallons of waterbased and oil modified products bares out the test results. The new waterbased floor finishes are more durable, even though they apply with a thinner build.

In saying that, I would also use a sealer that would enhance the grain of birseye, as waterborn finishes will mute the color and not enhance it, but will give the least amber look. I would then topcoat with one of the waterbased floor finishes for durability.

I do not know much about other types of waterbased urethanes, as my experience is only with floor finishes.

-- Paul, Las Vegas

View cutworm's profile


1075 posts in 2213 days

#8 posted 04-04-2014 12:44 AM

I think if I were to refinish my floors I would go with GF Arm-R-Seal. Probably a little more costly but man it looks good.

-- Steve - "Never Give Up"

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