First time finishing a table, can someone walk me through it like I'm a kid? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 05-25-2016, 11:15 AM Thread Starter
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First time finishing a table, can someone walk me through it like I'm a kid?

My kitchen table top is unfinished and extremely susceptible to water damage. Maker's website says it's made of unfinished European white oak, whatever that means. The wood definitely has a whitish tinge/rustic finish that I love.

I'd like to finish this table top so we can feel comfortable using it on a daily basis.

I've purchased the following:
General Finishes Seal-a-cell, clear, wipe on formula
General Finishes Arm-r-seal, satin, wipe on formula
220 grit sandpaper
Mineral Spirits
Finisher's Formula Natural Beeswax polish

Are these finishes the best way to go for me? I am really concerned about preserving the existing look of the table. If I've got the right materials, can you please run through what I'm supposed to do for me?

Thank you. I've never done anything like this before.
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post #2 of 6 Old 05-25-2016, 11:50 AM Thread Starter
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Another person recommended General Finishes High Performance Water-Based Topcoat, flat or Minwax Wipe on Poly instead

If these are a better option I will return the other stuff I bought :)

Last edited by Jenny Zhang; 05-25-2016 at 12:14 PM.
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post #3 of 6 Old 05-25-2016, 01:57 PM
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Functional looking Table, Jenny. I'll leave it to the more experienced to give you advice on finishing. I, personally, would go with polyurethane ... but it's inexpensive and just what I've always used. On that table, you'll get better answers from others on here.

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post #4 of 6 Old 05-25-2016, 05:27 PM
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For a first time finisher a wipe in poky is going to be the way to go. It's simple to apply and pretty forgiving, in addition to not requiring any special gear.

Nothing wrong with the stuff you have now, although I'd skip the seal-a-cell, I can't see the benefit it would add under the poly. Application of a wipe on is pretty simple, you can either wet a rag with some and the literally wipe it on, or do with my personal favorite style of application and is to brush it on liberally, them wipe off the excess after a few minutes. Let the first coat dry, then apply 2 more in the same manner. Don't touch the piece with the sandpaper until you've wiped on 3 or 4 coats. Depending on how you want the finish to look, about 4 coats should give a more natural appearance,but personally I'd go with about 6 coats of wipe on

I need cheaper hobby
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post #5 of 6 Old 05-25-2016, 05:55 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you!

My only concern with the Arm-r-seal is that after I opened the can, I notice that it's got a warm brown color to it. I'd like to keep the original color of the wool (pale blondish-white) as much as possible.
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post #6 of 6 Old 05-25-2016, 06:47 PM
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One problem with your finishing supplies is oil based finishes tend to yellow over time. In about ten years if the table is exposed to very much sun the finish will be noticeably yellow. If you think that is an issue you might want to go with an water based polyurethane. You could seal the wood with Zinsser Sealcoat which is a de-waxed shellac. This will seal the wood so the water in the waterborne finish doesn't raise the grain and will also make the grain pop.

I've never used those finishes you have listed. The description about the seal-a-cell is a bit disturbing. It claims to include wax and to use the Arm-R-Seal over the top. If it were me I would use the Arm-R-Seal without the Seal-A-Cell.

With any urethane finish such as Arm-R-Seal a polish isn't needed and shouldn't be used at all until the finish is a month old. The finish needs to fully cure before anything is put on the finish. If you have the means of spraying a finish I would apply it that way. If not find the softest brush you can find and apply the finish as thin as you can with as few strokes as possible. The more you brush it the more the brush marks will show. If it's getting warm where you are you might want to add a little Flood Penetrol to the finish. This will slow the drying time down a little so the finish will flow out better.
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