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I got my hands on an old maple butcher block table that was used as a shop bench for chainsaw maintenance. It's full character with scratches, burns, and probably 2 cycle oil and gas stains penetrated into it. I want to keep the character and the smooth feel of the maple, but want to stain it darker to mask some of the larger burns. I know maple doesn't stain well so am thinking about first putting on a coat of sand and sealer then adding a gel stain for a darker color. I would like that old hand rubbed look and feel instead of a thick poly finish. Any thoughts on how to finish this table which I plan on using as a dining room table?
 

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With all the chemicals on the wood you will have a lot of difficulty putting a protective coating on the table. It might be easier to put an oil finish on it instead. If you are going to use a protective coating on the table I would strip the table with a paint and varnish remover to try to get as much chemicals out of the wood as possible. Then sand and finish the table. It would still be a gamble if the finish would adhere though. It might help if you would seal the table with zinsser sealcoat as a barrier coat before putting your normal finish on though.
 

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Steve Neul said:
With all the chemicals on the wood you will have a lot of difficulty putting a protective coating on the table. It might be easier to put an oil finish on it instead. If you are going to use a protective coating on the table I would strip the table with a paint and varnish remover to try to get as much chemicals out of the wood as possible. Then sand and finish the table. It would still be a gamble if the finish would adhere though. It might help if you would seal the table with zinsser sealcoat as a barrier coat before putting your normal finish on though.
Steve, can you use sealcoat before stain, or after (but before clear coat)?
 

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YEP to that!

With all the chemicals on the wood you will have a lot of difficulty putting a protective coating on the table. It might be easier to put an oil finish on it instead. If you are going to use a protective coating on the table I would strip the table with a paint and varnish remover to try to get as much chemicals out of the wood as possible. Then sand and finish the table. It would still be a gamble if the finish would adhere though. It might help if you would seal the table with zinsser sealcoat as a barrier coat before putting your normal finish on though.
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I don't think you'll ever get all the oil and gasoline smells and stains out enough to use it for a dining room table. The closest thing I could recommend is a wide belt sander, multiple passes and then bar top epoxy or 2 part ureathane top coat.
 
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...can you use sealcoat before stain, or after (but before clear coat)?
If you use it before stain, the stain may not penetrate. It will limit the stains effectiveness. If you use it after the stain, it will seal the stain or other finish, and provide a base for most any finish to adhere.





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I got my hands on an old maple butcher block table that was used as a shop bench for chainsaw maintenance. It's full character with scratches, burns, and probably 2 cycle oil and gas stains penetrated into it. I want to keep the character and the smooth feel of the maple, but want to stain it darker to mask some of the larger burns. I know maple doesn't stain well so am thinking about first putting on a coat of sand and sealer then adding a gel stain for a darker color. I would like that old hand rubbed look and feel instead of a thick poly finish. Any thoughts on how to finish this table which I plan on using as a dining room table?


You will have a hard time getting all the chemical and dirt input out of the table. It should be surfaced. Stripping and sanding might help. You could try TSP (trisodium phosphate). as a cleaning agent.

If you get it with the possibility of use, you could use a wipe on oil base satin polyurethane. Or, just cover it with plate glass.









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Steve, can you use sealcoat before stain, or after (but before clear coat)?
The sealcoat is a clear coat. Think of it as clear primer. You would have to stain first before sealing with a sealcoat. What sealcoat is is shellac. They just have filtered the wax content out of standard shellac. The most common finish people put over shellac is polyurethane and polyurethane won't adhere properly to standard shellac so the de-waxed shellac is recommended.
 

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I don't think you'll ever get all the oil and gasoline smells and stains out enough to use it for a dining room table. The closest thing I could recommend is a wide belt sander, multiple passes and then bar top epoxy or 2 part ureathane top coat.
What I was going to say as well. If it has enough meat to it, you may carve most of the nastiness away.
 
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