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Hi all, I'm new here! I found some great reclaimed 2x6 boards that I'm making a coffee table with. I don't want to sand them at all because I really love all the flaws and the awesome grey color. There are also some rusted spots lines where they were banded and I want to keep those as well.

Is there any type of finish that I can use without sanding? I want to seal it but end up with a matte flat finish -- not shiny. I want to be able to set drinks on it and preserve it without altering the current look.

I've only worked with oil based stain and tung oil finish before. Is there anything I can use to keep these things protected but looking exactly as they do now? Thanks!
 

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This question is almost the same as the thread "How to preserve the color of weathered oak" You might read that thread too. For what you are doing I would stay away from oil based finishes. The resins in them would alter the color quite a bit and would continue to yellow as they age. Most any water base finish would work fine but you should probably search for it in a dead flat sheen. More than likely that isn't something you can find at the box stores. You may have to go to a regular paint company for that sheen. If you have the means of spraying you could also use a pre-catalyzed lacquer if that is any easier for you to work with especially with winter coming on. It can be used below freezing if necessary but would take overnight drying in that climate.
 

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Thanks for your reply! I did read that other thread and even asked for a follow up because I didn't see what they decided to use and if it kept the weathered look they were after!

I don't have access to a sprayer and I'm not sure what pre-catalyzed lacquer is so I think that's out!

I read on a blog of someone making a barnwood headboard that they used Valspar 12-oz Clear Flat Spray Paint to seal it. Anyone have experience with that product or have any other suggestions for me to keep the natural weathered look?
 

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I've never used the Valspar clear. After a google search the product looks fine but several people have noted the cans are awful to work with. Takes too much pressure on the button to keep the paint coming out. One problem you will have with any rattle can is lap marks. It might be necessary to buff the table out with steel wool after you get it sprayed. As far as a sprayer if you have compressed air a cheap harbor freight sprayer would work for you. I use the #97855 siphon gun I get for about 20 bucks with a coupon.
 
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