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Thread: Red oak end table finish recommendations

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Cleveland, Ohio

    Red oak end table finish recommendations

    I am finishing up with a red oak end table. Was wondering if you guys had any recommendations or examples of finish you like to use on oak?

    I was going to use this wax along with some type of polyurethane on the top over it. Can you use poly over a wax like this? I have used this wax on a few recent projects and I like it because it only requires one coat, and doesn't change the color of the wood just enhances the natural grain.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Nick...polyurethane varnish doesn't like to stick to itself in some cases and it's certainly not going to enjoy any kind of wax under it. The product you link to isn't intended to be used under a finish, either. If you use oil based varnish, it will provide the same level of enhancement that you would get from applying an oil first without the potential downside that an open porous wood like oak presents with uncured oil accumulating in the grain.

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    If you want to keep it simple use a wiping varnish. You can apply it with rag or paper towel; nothing is much simpler. You can buy a commercial product like Arm-R-Seal or Waterlox and use it straight from the can, or you can buy any brushing varnish and add mineral spirits to turn it into a wiping varnish. 25% would be a good place to start.

    The oil based products mentioned above will turn the wood slightly amber. If you want to keep the wood as natural looking as possibly, then use a waterbase varnish. Most of the readily available ones can't be wiped on, but go on very easily with a foam brush. Minwax Polycrylic is one such product readily available at many home centers or Sherwin Williams. If you use a flat sheen it will look there is nothing on the wood.

    In any case, do not use the product you provided that link to or any wax product first and then try to put vanish on top as it won't bond. If you must use wax, use plain wax and apply it sparingly well after the varnish has cured, at least a month after. FWIW, no product "feeds the wood". That's just marketing mumbo jumbo.


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