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By NikNak
Good afternoon guys.... hope you're all well and staying safe :)

I (we) decided that the dining room table needed a bit of ummm attention. Nothing wrong with it physically, just the colour. The varnish or what ever it is they put on furniture these days has gone all orangey over time, due to the UV light landing on it(?).

So... take it all apart and off i go to the bat cave and sand it back to bare wood... 60-80-120-180-240 grits (hammer) and H O U R S later i'm very happy with all my efforts so far.

Now... as its oak (and bloomin' evvy :shock: ) it looks gorgeous in my (our) eyes as it is, a nice 'white oak' colour, but accept that its not very practical to leave it bare as it'll soon get grubby and probably greasy too.

I've recently done our bookcase, also oak, and again gorgeous when first sanded. I used Briwax clear wax on it. Feels silky smooth. However, even the clear wax has darkened the wood quite considerably from the freshly sanded colour.

Needing to put some sort of finish on the table, what can i put on it to protect the wood (everyday wiping with a damp cloth etc) to keep the lovely light/white oak colour.... any suggestions.? Or is it a case of 'its oak so what ever you put on it the wood will darken'..?
Removable section and one fixed/sliding panel done...
Removable section done first...
By Fitzroy
I didn’t like the Osmo Raw on oak, it gave an unnatural look. I ended up using Polyvine Decorators Varnish Satin on a set of shelves I made.


It’s a water based acrylic finish. It kept the wood pretty light and also gives a good level of protection.

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By Droogs
If you are prepared to put in the work, time and effort once a year, you could try a soap finish. Very popular at one time in the Scandi nations. ... ure-finish
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By custard
Water based poly gives pretty good protection against water spills, but they generally provide only very low protection against fruit juice or red wine spills. And I mean REALLY low, like permanent staining unless the spill is wiped up within a second or two.

This is what Polyvine looks like after leaving a red wine stained glass is left on the surface for one minute, ten minutes and one hour. And this is despite wiping up with a damp micro fibre cloth.


By the way, I'm not picking on Polyvine, I could show you similar tests using other water based poly finishes, including more expensive brands such a General Finishes. So they wouldn't be my first choice for a dining table for example, or any other surface that's likely to see red wine or fruit juice.

Other things to bear in mind, if you want a flat matt finish then be even more careful about water based poly. The flattening agents used tend to be quite soft, so over time regular polishing will produce a burnishing effect, resulting in glossy edges and corners which looks a bit weird on an otherwise matt piece of furniture.

Furthermore, you'll also usually get the timber itself darkening or yellowing over time. Although to be fair Oak is far from the worst in this respect, and some timbers, such as Walnut, often goes paler over time. So preserving a workshop fresh finish for months or years, especially in sunny or south facing rooms, is a pretty tall order.

There are some quite expensive, spray only solutions. But for the home worker the palest Osmo tinted products, like Trans Oil 3044, offer a pretty good balance of protection, ease of application, and pale results.


You can buy Osmo in little sample sachets for not much money. It's well worth trying some on an off cut to see if it's to your taste.

Good luck!