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Discussion Starter #1
I am getting close to finishing the dining room table top and legs as shown in the pictures below. (The legs are upside down in the picture.) The wood is #2 pine, kiln dried. The top is about 1 5/8" thick and with the leaves it measures 44" wide by 198" long. The legs and cross supports are close to full 2" x 4" 's and the posts are 5" solid pine. I have built other free standing cabinets/corner shelves with knotty pine, tongue and groove boards, and have been using water based polyurethanes on them. I feel in my life time that oil based finishes will be banned by EPA, so I might as well get used to water based products.

However, my finishing problem is I want a finish that will stand up to sweaty glasses on the table without coasters. Is that possible? When using the table, I don't want to use a table cloth to cover my work, but don't want the surface ruined by wet drink glasses, spilled deserts, etc. I would like to be able to wipe up spills with a damp cloth after meals and then maybe use a specific wood cleaner later on or once in a while.

I am thinking of using an exterior varnish, like something used in the boating industry. My thinking if that varnish can withstand rain, hopefully it will stand up to wet glasses and spills. Because this is going into my house that is mostly natural knotty pine walls which has ambered over the years, I do not plan on staining the table.

Am I asking too much for the finish? What are your suggestions for the finish.

Thanks in advance for your comments and suggestions.

Jon
Northern Michigan
 

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Well the marine grade varnishes are formulated to be a little softer than interior finishes so it is more elastic to expand and contract with the wood in the temperature extreames of exterior use. There are interior finishes that would provide as much water resistance and would be more resistant to scratches than the exterior counterparts. I think since you want to go with a water based product I would just use a interior water based polyurethane. It isn't as good or as durable as the oil based product but pretty close. Just give a sufficient amount of drying time between coats and apply the finish about 3 mils thick which is about the thickness of a lawn and leaf trash bag.
 

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Some waterbase finishes are as durable as oil base. Ones formulated for flooring are very good. Off the shelf at Home Depot, try Parks Pro Finisher. It sprays very well, and can be thinned if necessary. I wouldn't go more than about 5%...or about ½" in the bottom of a 1 qt cup. Spray thin applications, don't allow to pool or puddle. Sand between coats with 320x.




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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the replies Steve and Cabinetman.

If I can find oil based products locally, would they be more durable and better for the water resistance? I don't have a problem using oil based products. I just think in my life time they will be hard to get or be gone.

Another question. How does humidity, or lack of it, reflect on wood projects from season to season? If I don't run a humidifier in the winter here, the living room dips down to single digits of humidity. Summer time readings are higher, I just don't remember the numbers now. Would the flooring polyurethanes flex with the humidity changes? The table was built in the summer and fall in an unheated building. I brought the table into the heat last week when the humidity was in the low 30's and shut the humidifiers off. (If we would to leave for a long weekend, the humidifiers would not be left on.) So far no changes in the table. Does it matter what the humidity is when I apply the finish?

Again thanks for the information.

Jon
Northern Michigan
 

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Thanks for the replies Steve and Cabinetman.

If I can find oil based products locally, would they be more durable and better for the water resistance? I don't have a problem using oil based products. I just think in my life time they will be hard to get or be gone.

Another question. How does humidity, or lack of it, reflect on wood projects from season to season? If I don't run a humidifier in the winter here, the living room dips down to single digits of humidity. Summer time readings are higher, I just don't remember the numbers now. Would the flooring polyurethanes flex with the humidity changes? The table was built in the summer and fall in an unheated building. I brought the table into the heat last week when the humidity was in the low 30's and shut the humidifiers off. (If we would to leave for a long weekend, the humidifiers would not be left on.) So far no changes in the table. Does it matter what the humidity is when I apply the finish?

Again thanks for the information.

Jon
Northern Michigan
You are probably correct that oil based finishes are going away but right now if you can use them for the application you have I would do it. Another issue I forgot to mention is if you are going light in color on the table an oil based poly will yellow as it ages where the water based poly will remain clear. Sometimes on light colored woods it's better to use an acrylic finish.

Humidity usually isn't an issue unless you move the furniture from a moist part of the country to a dry climate. Then the wood can have excessive shrinkage and cause cracks. Moving a piece from your shop to the house I doubt if you could ever tell a difference. If the weather is very humid, like 80% or more I would avoid finishing. The water based finish will take too long to dry and tend to have runs and soak into the wood instead of building a finish. Then oil based finishes can blush from the moisture getting into the finish.
 

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The water based finish will take too long to dry and tend to have runs and soak into the wood instead of building a finish.
You likely haven't used enough of WB poly to know that doesn't happen unless it's been applied to heavily. The dry time isn't that much different in high humidity, if applied properly. Good news is that there is no blushing. It tacks up very fast, and only the first or second application actually penetrates in the wood, as it's likely sealed off by then. It's an ideal finish. High humidity is very common here.






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You likely haven't used enough of WB poly to know that doesn't happen unless it's been applied to heavily. The dry time isn't that much different in high humidity, if applied properly. Good news is that there is no blushing. It tacks up very fast, and only the first or second application actually penetrates in the wood, as it's likely sealed off by then. It's an ideal finish. High humidity is very common here.










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I have used water based finishes quite enough to say everything I posted is true. Anyway it's just common sense with any water borne finish whether it's polyurethane or latex that high humidity affects the finish.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the replies.

I plan on using a clear finish and let it amber. The majority of the first floor is knotty pine and it has ambered over the years. The table I know will start out light and will darken over the years. I like ageing effect.

I am thinking of using Parks Pro Finisher that Cabinetman suggested if my local box store has it. I need to go and look.

The edges of the table have a vertical leg on them that have 3/4" popular dowel plugs in there to hide the fasteners. They were hammered into a 3/4" forstner (sp?) bit hole in the cold shop. Now some have come out and I will have to get the rest out and glue them in properly. In the cold shop, they were very tightly installed. I thought the size difference would keep them in place.

Jon
Northern Michigan
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Ooooooppppssss!

This is what I wrote in the first post:
The top is about 1 5/8" thick and with the leaves it measures 44" wide by 198" long.

This is what I should have written:
The top is about 1 5/8" thick and with the leaves it measures 44" wide by 98" long.

The top is heavy enough without making it an extra 100" long.

Jon
Northern Michigan
 

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>>>> Well the marine grade varnishes are formulated to be a little softer than interior finishes so it is more elastic to expand and contract with the wood in the temperature extreames of exterior use. There are interior finishes that would provide as much water resistance and would be more resistant to scratches than the exterior counterparts.
 

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Absolutely correct. Exterior, so called "marine varnishes contain more oil than interior finishes. The oil allow for more flexibility in the finish allowing it to remain adhered as the wood expands and contracts with the more extreme changes in moisture content. In fact, the additional oil in exterior finishes makes the less resistant to absorption of moisture.

The bottom line is that interior oil based varnish is harder, more water resistant and more abrasion resistant.
 
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