Woodworking Talk banner

1 - 6 of 6 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We just sanded down an antique oak kitchen table top and then lightly stained it, then put on 6 hand rubbed coats of Formby's Tung Oil Finish over this. It looks nice and I thought this would provide good water protection, but after just a few days of using the table top it is showing light white watermarks from glasses already, that will not completely come off. :huh: I really like the look of the finish = low gloss but feel like we must coat it now with something else to keep the surface looking good. I got some "low gloss" Cabot polyurethane to try over the surface, and put in on the spare table leaf to see how I liked it. I don't though, as it looks too thick with tiny, tiny bubbles in the surface and pretty glossy looking. I sanded with 600 grit paper that did dull it down some, but really don't like the look of it compared to the Forby's "Tung Oil" finish. I realize that this is not a true Tung Oil finish anyways, but had found good reviews on it. Any suggestions on what to do now. I just want it good and waterproof so that I don't have to worry about water spots. Is there another type of varnish that would work better for this or? I don't want to strip it all down to start over if I don't have to either.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,510 Posts
Formby's is simply a very thin varnish, and 6 coats "hand rubbed" isn't going to offer much protection. It's a wiping varnish, and while I mix my own typically 50/50 varnish and MS, Formby's is 78% MS! I consider 3 coats of my home brew close to I brushed coat of varnish; so you 6 coats of the extra thin may equal 1+ coat of brushed varnish. All that was to emphasize how thin that finish is. You can top coat it with pretty much anything you want, and if the color is where you want it I would suggest an alkyd/soya formula varnish. Specifically Pratt and Lambert 38. Because it uses soya as the oil in the formula, it's much lighter in color than most varnishes, thinned properly it goes on nicely. But you could also try your Cabot product again, only thin it out some (as much as needed to make it level out) and see how that looks. If it's too glossy, you can go back over it with a satin top coat, or you could let it dry (a couple of weeks) and then polish the gloss down. Lastly, I suppose you could eventually build a good film with the Formby's but will take quite a few more coats.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you for your replies so far on my question. The finish was put on about two weeks ago now. We waited a couple of days after the final layer before using the table and are still careful to try and wipe up wet spots right away. How should the "low gloss" Cabot polyurethane look when thinned out compared to using a regular varnish instead? Would polyurethane be more waterproof than regular varnish? I really want the table surface to look as natural for an antique piece as possible. I do not like the thick layer look that the first coat of the Cabot gave to our extra table leaf. We left the sanded oak wood with just a very light stain and want to keep that look also.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,510 Posts
I have no experience with the Cabot polyurethane varnish, so it would be a guess on my part how it would look. To my eyes, all polyurethane varnishes have a "plastic" look; which is why I don't use them. The P&L 38 I mentioned uses alkyd resins (instead of urethane) and has a completely different appearance (again:to my eyes). It can be tough to find, so you may be stuck with what you can get. The only suggestion I have would be to try the Cabot on something after thinning it out...it would almost certainly not have that "thick layer" look you describe. If you don't mind a little more amber color, Sherwin Williams make a product called Fast Dry Oil Varnish, it's an alkyd/linseed oil varnish, and a great product. But due to the linseed oil, it has a lot more of that amber, or warming, appearance varnish has....probably much like the Cabot you used, but without the plastic part.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for your help. I don't like the plastic look either. I will experiment with the thinned poly first on some scrap piece, but then may just go with a regular varnish if I don't like that look.
 
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
Top