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Hi everyone looking for your Help . I am making my island in the kitchen /seating bar out of California redwood live edge slab. I am not a woodworker by any means and have had multiple opinion on how to finish the slab .

I would like step by step instructions on how to do this . I have watched the you tube videos etc but so many different opinions have my head spinning . I already have wire brushed off the bark by hand - it was cut in the summer so it came off no worries . Now Its sanding and oiling time and i am really not sure what products to use the methodology or number of coats and the different sanding options during the process . Then of course the sealant for a food grade top .. I am open to a satin or gloss finish but really just want the grain structure to POP.

Did i mention i have never worked with wood ? Haha go big or go home they say .. Your comments appreciated - but please no " get a professional to do it for you".

Thanks :)
 

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First are you sure this slab is dry? It would be a shame to finish this and then it bow or warp in a few weeks or months! Was it kiln dried or air dried?

If it is dry, then you have some decisions to make. I will assume you want this surface to be tough and withstand everyday use. I'm going to recommend a satin polyurethane finish. It is very, very simple.

First sand the entire slab to 80 grit with a random orbit sander, then go to 120 grit, then go to 180. You can do this up to 220 or 320 grit if you like, but usually I never go past 180 or 220. It's important to hand sand with the grain after using the orbital sander after each grit. This sanding is important, any mistakes or deep scratches will be blatantly obvious when the poly is applied. Take your time.

Once your happy with the sanding it's time to finish. I like minwax fast drying polyurethane personally. Buy that and also buy some mineral spirits. Mix 2/3 part polyurethane with 1/3 part mineral spirits to create a wipe on finish. Use a lint free cloth and wipe on a coat wiping in one direction with the grain. Let dry. Sand with 320 grit lightly. Coat again.. sand.. etc Continue this 3 to 4 coats or until you're happy with the finish. At the end I will wet sand very lightly with 2000 grit wet/dry sandpaper using water / soap mixture for lubrication. After I will apply a finishing wax.

ETA after wiping on the finish, soak the rag in a bucket of water. Do not throw it out or it could combust.
 
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