Help! I don't want to mess up my first project!

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Forum topic by NewbieLaura posted 09-05-2014 03:08 AM 1198 views 1 time favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View NewbieLaura's profile


2 posts in 1387 days

09-05-2014 03:08 AM

Topic tags/keywords: seal finish kitchen table

Okay, here’s the question. What is the best option for sealing a kitchen table? BTW-I DON’T want a glossy finish, I want a more matte natural sheen.

Tung oil?

We just made a kitchen table out of pine and I am not afraid of staining, but sealing is freaking me out. Thanks for your help!

11 replies so far

View distrbd's profile


2252 posts in 2473 days

#1 posted 09-05-2014 03:18 AM

I just started a thread on blotch control, bottom line is ,if you live anywhere in the US,you should give Charles Neil's blotch control a try,especially since you are using pine.

-- Ken from Ontario, Canada

View firefighterontheside's profile


18351 posts in 1883 days

#2 posted 09-05-2014 06:08 AM

You can put about 6 coats of satin oil based poly on that table and make it basically impervious to water. I’ve not found any water based product that gave me that kind of water resistance.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View frosty12's profile


11 posts in 1387 days

#3 posted 09-05-2014 12:50 PM

hi all i have tried to use reen popler wood to make a spirit face and am finding out that this wood is very hard to carve on when dry, yet i have heard a lot from mother carvers that the wood is soft i, i am finding out that it really isnt , can some one clarify if im wrong with this assumption , thanks

-- george vermont

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1317 posts in 1962 days

#4 posted 09-05-2014 01:12 PM

+1 for oil based polyurethane. Minwax is what I use, though there are other brands. I thin it about 1/2 with mineral spirits and wipe it on. You can also just buy it in the “wipe-on” form already, but you’ll need a decent bit to do a dining table.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1317 posts in 1962 days

#5 posted 09-05-2014 01:13 PM

Also, if you can spare a little extra time, do some tests on a leftover board. That really helps fend off screwing up the project as a whole.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View jtriggs's profile


181 posts in 3844 days

#6 posted 09-05-2014 01:51 PM

You should pre-condition the wood for blotch control but oil based polyurethane is the way to go. I’ve done my dining room table and it has stood up to years of abuse. I also refinished a friends large dining table with it and theirs still looks perfect after about 7 years. I use MinWax brand also.

My suggestion, worked out over years of doing this, is to condition the wood for blotch control, use several coats of the clear poly followed by one or two coats of satin poly. What using the clear coats does is gives you the protection you want but doesn’t cloud the grain of the wood. Build up that clear base and then top it with enough satin until you have the look you want. I think it’s always a good idea to wet sand with 400 grit between coats to level off imperfections and give the next coat a good tooth to grip.

Good luck.

-- Jon --Always remember, never live your life by a motto.

View firefighterontheside's profile


18351 posts in 1883 days

#7 posted 09-05-2014 03:06 PM

I think what they are trying to tell ya is be more worried about the staining than the finish. Pine can be blotchy when stained, so follow the blotch control tips as noted. The finishing is the easy part.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View cdarney's profile


104 posts in 3057 days

#8 posted 09-05-2014 08:14 PM

Welcome to LJ NewbieLaura!

I thought it interesting that you’re not worried about staining but were about sealing. I admit I rarely stain anything but the advice you’ve gotten so far about blotch control is very good.

I’m also not a big fan of poly but use wipe on poly occasionally for certain projects. I do like using shellac. It will look pretty shiny but of you knock down the last coat(s) with some high grit (>400), it gives a very nice sating finish that feels like silk. It’s also easy to repair if ever needed.

View upinflames's profile


217 posts in 2189 days

#9 posted 09-05-2014 09:18 PM

First off, you don’t need any conditioner crap before you stain, HAND sand to 150, maybe 220. Don’t try to cheat and use the ROS, that is where most problems come from. Oil based poly will be your best protection, however many coats you put on, start with gloss and the final coat use desired sheen. With practice you can rub out the gloss to sheen of your choice with wax and steel wool. As far as wipe on poly, store bought or make your own, 3 coats of wipe on equal 1 coat of brushed on is the norm. Let the coats dry good before next coat, if you sand with 320 and it doesn’t “dust up”(white powdery residue) it ain’t dry. There is no shortcut to finishing, there is no “I need this done tomorrow” finish. Take the time to do the finish right and you will be happy with the final outcome.

View diverlloyd's profile


2774 posts in 1884 days

#10 posted 09-05-2014 09:55 PM

Satin poly and as flames said take your time. You will make mistakes and need to make mistakes that is how you learn.

View NewbieLaura's profile


2 posts in 1387 days

#11 posted 09-05-2014 11:58 PM

Super helpful info. You guys rock. We are going to do some test pieces tonight based on some techniques you guys described.

Couple questions: 1) Do we need to buy a special ‘rub on’ poly if we want to try the rub on method? 2) When is wet sanding beneficial and why?

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