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Thread: counter top varnish

  1. #1
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    Default counter top varnish

    What is the best varnish for wooden countertops? I have used bar top epoxy, but that still scratches.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: counter top varnish

    I've just redone 2 bench tops , one with a polyurethane ...a disaster ! Too soft and it really doesn't like the amount of water it has to deal with .The other was redone with a water based floor seal / "varnish ", a left over from a floor refinishing job .It has been amazing , it doesn't scratch ,it's completely water resistant .

    No name as it's an Australian product , yours would be as good I'd suggest .
    Try to work out what the marketing guy wants you to do then do precisely the opposite.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: counter top varnish

    There may be some older and wiser gents here but I have built quite a few timber counter tops over the years using anything from recycled Jarrah railway sleepers and jarrah floorboards through to some nicer and more exotic timbers.

    Because they are work surfaces, I found that any of the two pack/epoxy finishes that I had available always scratched and looked too "plasitcy" for my liking anyway. Also the glossier the surface the more visible the scratches. I now mostly use Danish oil and keep building it up to the finish that suits me best at the time. If I want to refinish it at any time it is a very easy sand and oil job.

    edited to add - there you go, an older and wiser gent beat me to it anyway

    I've used a Cabots water based varnish on my hard wood floors in Darwin and I agree Peter, it was far superior to the two pack polyurethane finishes.
    Larks

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  4. #4
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    Default Re: counter top varnish

    My countertops are teak. I used Behlen's Salad Bowl Finish on them... it's held up well, and it's really easy to add another coat.

    Edited to add: "and it's food-safe, too..."
    The Strength of the Pack is the Wolf... And the Strength of the Wolf is the Pack.

  5. #5
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    Smile Re: counter top varnish

    It's this kind of stuff that keeps me coming back to read the forum. I've got ribs/frames to replace but in the meantime I have to finish my countertops. I'm using hard maple and have finished one. Put polyurethane on it but I wasn't sure that was the best option. I think maybe I'll get the sander out and do them all with Don Zs' finish.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: counter top varnish

    Tung oil worked for me. Smelly, for a day or two.

  7. #7

    Default Re: counter top varnish

    I have used a product called "Rockhard Table Top Varnish" with exceptionally good results. It is made by Behlen:

    http://www.hbehlen.com/Behlen_Catalog.pdf


    Scotty

  8. #8
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    Default Re: counter top varnish

    I have had good luck with the finish used by floor re-finishers, moisture curing Varathane.
    Jay

  9. #9
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    Default Re: counter top varnish

    But if you drop a #10 can of tomatoes on a counter top, it's going to dent something whatever you use......

  10. #10
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    Default Re: counter top varnish

    Fresh tomatoes aren't too pretty either. A lot of great and interesting replies. I did epoxy one last year which is the reason for the post. It is kind of plasticky. I'm using mahogany. I am going to experiment with each on some scrap. Where do I get Salad bowl finish, and how does it appear when applied? I have heard that water base finishes are harder than poly also.
    Thanks

  11. #11
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    Default Re: counter top varnish

    I got mine at Garrett Wade, but a minute with google will give you all kinds of choices.
    The Strength of the Pack is the Wolf... And the Strength of the Wolf is the Pack.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: counter top varnish

    Using wood for countertops is - in many ways - less than optimum. If one insists on doing it (and there certainly are good and plausible reasons to do so), one needs to put the best possible finish on the wood... for the specific circumstance. I've used everything from oils (mineral, tung, walnut, peanut) to a weird proprietary concoction that seems to include silicone (I don't recommend it) to film finishes (varnish, lacquer, conversion varnish, waterbased floor finishes).

    The finish I use depends upon the service required. What sort of c'top? Location? Used as a cutting board also? Nears sinks or dishwashers?

    One finish not mentioned so far, that I've used several times, is traditional spar varnish. It's not as hard as some of the floor finish, but does have a couple of advantages. First - looks. I just like it. Second - because it doesn't cure as hard (or as brittle) as some of the other finishes mentioned it gives when subjected to impact. When one puts puts a hard finish over a soft substrate - say catalyzed lacquer over western red cedar - you are susceptible to what I call the 'hard boiled egg syndrome'. This is where your composite - when hit - fractured the film because the substrate gives under it. Like a hard boiled egg. This could be an issue with a harder finish over mahogany.
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    http://www.harborwoodworking.com/boat.html

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  13. #13
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    Default Re: counter top varnish

    Balia has one on the galley and one in the head, which as far as I can tell are fibreglassed then done with 2 part clear. Seems to have held up well and kept the water out for the last 40 years or so.
    phil

  14. #14
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    Default Re: counter top varnish

    I have done a few countertops over the years, These days I find satin water borne polyurethane works well for me and looks good with a couple of applications of a good furniture wax on top for a nice non plastic lustre.

    I used to use flooring grade moisture cured polyurethane which is hardwearing.
    There is nothing quite as permanent as a good temporary repair.

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