Kids Table Complete, Getting Queasy.

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Forum topic by Keith Kelly posted 08-08-2014 03:03 AM 1211 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Keith Kelly

263 posts in 1628 days

08-08-2014 03:03 AM

The Hickory/Pecan kids dining room table I’ve been working on for months is finally complete. Now, reality is setting in and I am fully aware that my 2 year old son is going to give it some very thorough tests… :)

But honestly, I want him to be able to beat on it as he explores the things of this life at this table… like rolling toy dump trucks on it, stacking wooden blocks, knocking over wooden blocks, coloring, and playing with utility knives and fire.

Kidding about the utility knives and fire.

So, it is now complete with several layers of wipe-on-poly on top of dyes and gel stains. It looks awesome.

But… I am wondering if there’s another layer I ought to put over top of the poly that would make it more easily repairable – even if less durable.

I’d definitely like for it to be able to withstand water, but other than that, as long as it’s repairable, I’ll be far less paranoid than a durable surface that is not repairable. For example, Waterlox – it’s supposed to be very easily repairable and fairly hard, but the Waterlox support people advised me to not put it over Poly (their instructions say the same).

Do you have any ideas? Would a custom oil/varnish blend be of any use?

-- Keith - Bolivar, Missouri,

12 replies so far

View sras's profile


4790 posts in 3094 days

#1 posted 08-08-2014 03:09 AM

A pad and a table cloth… if you want to be safe. Of course it would need to be used to work.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

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Keith Kelly

263 posts in 1628 days

#2 posted 08-08-2014 03:46 AM

A pad and a table cloth… if you want to be safe. Of course it would need to be used to work.

- sras

not helpful… :)

-- Keith - Bolivar, Missouri,

View oldnovice's profile


6764 posts in 3333 days

#3 posted 08-08-2014 04:59 AM

How about some Plexiglas?

A 1/4” thick piece will take a lot of abuse, not hide the beautiful work below, and when it gets too scarred up … in a couple of years, you can put a new one on or leave it as a brand new table!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1313 posts in 1900 days

#4 posted 08-08-2014 11:41 AM

Plexiglass is a good call. Or lexan. My local Home Depot has those in decent size sheets and they should rip easily on your tablesaw… I think… might want to double check that before you try it.

I wouldn’t put waterlox over the top of poly. I don’t think it would really do anything. The layer would be so thin that any “ding” would go thru it into the poly layers.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View Yonak's profile


986 posts in 1486 days

#5 posted 08-08-2014 04:20 PM

My grandmother used to put a heavy clear plastic covering on her living room furniture to keep it looking like new. (Someone once said, if President Roosevelt came to visit she wouldn’t take off the sofa cover.) Maybe you could use something like that.


—The Wood Is Your Oyster

Speaking of this, had you seen the carved wooden lobster that was going around awhile back ? It was quite clever.

View ChefHDAN's profile (online now)


1057 posts in 2815 days

#6 posted 08-08-2014 04:54 PM

Keith, I’ve got a kitchen table I refinished with poly and it’s often used for various craft projects etc, in the last 10 years, I’ve cleaned glue, acrylic paint, latex paint, nail polish, and glitter glue which is just an evil invention. All of them came off with soap & water and a green scour pad, finish still looks good and there a perhaps a few dings, but, my wife calls it character. I think you’re safe for quite awhile with what you’ve done.

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View Bill White's profile (online now)

Bill White

4902 posts in 3925 days

#7 posted 08-08-2014 05:24 PM

Leave it alone and remember all the touches and blems that kids apply.


View ChuckV's profile


3110 posts in 3492 days

#8 posted 08-08-2014 06:17 PM

I agree with Bill. Our kitchen table is pine. I bought it way before I started woodworking. Three children have been all over it. I can still see where my oldest son, now 22, wrote his book report on The Boxcar Children and where the table was pounded with utensils (mostly not mine). There is even an engraved note from when we were in an apartment and a worker came in during the day: “All screens replaced”.

Once I started making my own furniture, I thought that I would be paranoid about it. But, it is a great feeling to let it go and relish the fact that I have created pieces that get a lot of use.

-- “Big man, pig man, ha ha, charade you are.” ― R. Waters

View skatefriday's profile


415 posts in 1448 days

#9 posted 08-08-2014 06:23 PM

I was going to make the same comment Bill and Chuck did.

Every scratch, stain, and dent will be a memory. In 20 years you
can have a soulless, perfect piece of furniture, or you can sit back
in the rocking chair (that you also built) with a beer in hand and
remember the time Johnny thought playing with the backhoe toy
on the table was a good idea. He’s now off to college so you don’t
get to see or talk to him much, but he speaks to you every day
through that table.

I know which experience I’d rather have.

View Finisherman's profile


227 posts in 1814 days

#10 posted 08-10-2014 01:11 AM

As others have suggested, I think that you’d be better off just to leave it as it is. An oil varnish blend needs to soak into the raw wood in order to of any real benefit and your table is already sealed. Also, one of the weaknesses of polyurethane concerns the fact that it doesn’t play well with other finishes. The good new is that polyurethane is a tough, durable finish which should serve you well. The bad news is that it’s very difficult to repair once it gets damaged. For now, I’d try to protect is as much as possible and be prepared to refinish the table in the future, if and when that becomes necessary. If you refinish the table, I’d opt for lacquer or a waterborne finish.

View Keith Kelly's profile

Keith Kelly

263 posts in 1628 days

#11 posted 08-10-2014 02:28 AM

Thanks for all your advice and counseling. I’ll definitely go in the direction of enjoying watching it get used, and not worrying about the usage marks.

When I submitted this post here, I also emailed General Finishes to get their advice. After they verified what type of poly I used, they recommended that I sand the Poly with 400 grit, and then use Arm-R-Seal, as it’s compatible with the Poly (if lightly sanded) and is more repairable. If nobody sees this as a problem, I’ll probably do that just in case I get a crazy scratch right off the bat. I have Arm-R-Seal on hand already and was planning on adding a couple layers of Poly anyway since I applied the current layers rather thinly.

For the record, you also altered the direction I’ll be going for future projects. My mind is now at ease. Perfect furniture can’t tell stories.

-- Keith - Bolivar, Missouri,

View ChuckV's profile


3110 posts in 3492 days

#12 posted 08-10-2014 12:25 PM

For the record, you also altered the direction I ll be going for future projects. My mind is now at ease. Perfect furniture can t tell stories.

- keith204


This is great to read. Thank you for the follow-up post here.

Have fun!

-- “Big man, pig man, ha ha, charade you are.” ― R. Waters

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