Need input on dining table finish
I am refinishing a dining table top. My two major considerations are: I want a finish that will withstand water and be durable, but doesn't look like plastic on top.
If I was strictly going for durability and water resistance, I would probably use a polyurethane. But it is a nice old dining table, grandmothers, and I want to retain the richness and depth of the wood grain. And I know that polycrylic can leave a wood finish looking real flat and shallow doing nothing to enhance the wood grain.
I have sprayed minwax polycrylic satin and general finishes high performance flat before on other items and got a nice look from both, using a HVLP sprayer. Although, the nice look I got from the minwax may have been due to not having sprayed but 3 coats, and underneath that was an oil-based walnut stain, that was allowed to dry for 72 hrs before applying the polycrylic, so the grain was brought out by the stain. The finish looks almost like an oil finish
The general finishes flat was sprayed over a black chalk paint on a side table, as a test run. It sprayed very much like the minwax polycrylic, with no thinning, and dried to a nice even look and feel. I am not sure if it would have a similar look over wood to the minwax or not. High Performance is described by General Finishes as being the “hardest, most durable consumer polyurethane top coat on the market”, and is recommended as a floor finish. But, I realize that a product that is suitable for a floor is not necessarily suitable for a dining table top. But, of course, the help line at General Finishes assures me that their product will be suitable for a table top finish.
My concern is that the waterbased polycrylic is a compromise in water resistance. I don't want to put a finish on the table that will have to be worried over. I realize any finish will not be waterproof, and if a spill is allowed to remain on a table for an extended time will be a problem for any finish, but would still like to strike a good balance between a nice satin rich deep grain look and feel and a useable, durable water-resistant finish. (I live in the south where iced tea glasses are known sweat when left on tables.)
I am not opposed to spraying an oil based product, lacquer, or waterbased polycrylic. Perhaps I should be looking at a product other than the polyurethane or polycrylic. I have read that most purchased dining tables come with a lacquer finish, is this true? I have been reading about Target Coating (EMTECH) line, and they seem to be the choice of many high end contractors, but their many selections leave me confused. I am leaning toward the general finishes high performance because of the quick drying time, (I do not have a controlled environment for oil based to dry without picking up all sorts of particles that drift through the air.)
What product will provide a rich high end look, but be durable and water resistant? I guess my end goal is to produce a finish that would look as much like the original as possible, but take advantage of the new advances in finishing products. I do not know what the original finish was, but it has held up pretty well considering it is 40-50 years old, although it is now definitely needing a new finish.
You input will be GREATLY appreciated.