Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Central Illinois
Top Coat to protect while grouting?
Hi all, I'm pretty new to wood working. I'm making some simple stuff to get my feet wet and to get the feel of all my tools, but I hit a bit of a wall and all the Googling in the world is just sending me around in circles.
What I'm doing is mosaic tiles, but using hardwood to inlay them in. I'm using a straight router bit to clear out the bulk of the wood except for a border and edgework. This area that is cleared out is the depth of they mosaic tile I'm going to lay in there, that way the wood edging and the tile height are flush. These are just going to be some small decorations to hang on the wall.
Where I'm hitting the wall is how to finish the wood. I have a few different ones going to try out different hardwoods. Right now I have an Aspen, Mahogany and a White Oak. The plan is to stain them (not the Mahogany but I'll come back to that), seal them, then put down my tiles, and then grout. I'm paranoid that the finish I use could get messed up by the grout. It goes on wet, to work it in to the tile gaps some is bound to get rubbed into the wood finish. The broken up tile will have gaps larger than 1/8th in. so I should use sanded grout I think, but I worry that might be abrasive to the finish on the wood. Obviously I'm not going to smear it all over the wood, but it would be pretty unavoidable to not get a little on the wood and especially to wipe it up with a sponge and not make contact with the wood. I would dry as quickly as I could, but what would be the best finish to put over a stain that would protect the wood for this phase and for the long haul? I'm routing out rounded shapes, so taping it off with painters tape while I grouted probably wouldn't work too well.
After this step its just going to hang on a wall, so I don't think I need to get anything super protective long term. Would just a poly be the best? or maybe lacquer?
Any ideas on the Mahogany? The piece I got has a really good color and grain pattern already. Would a teak or tung oil be good for that or would it not hold up to the grouting phase? Can I put a top coat over a teak or tung oil or is that just nonsense?