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Finish for oak topped side table

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Squallers

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Morning all,

I'm planning to put together a small side table with a drawer. The drawer and "cabinet" will be made from painted MDF, and I was planning on using an offcut of 40mm oak worktop for the top.

I've used an oil based varnish previously and it made the oak a bit darker than I think I want it for this. What effect on the colour would using a water based varnish have?

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Mrs C

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Depends.....sorry!

Can you do a test on the underside? Varnish will darken the finish, but by how much depends on what finish, if any, was on the original piece and the brand of varnish you are using.
 

Squallers

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Thanks for the replies. The oak is currently completely unfinished so I've got a blank canvas so to speak. I'll have some spare once I've taken what I need so I suppose the sensible thing is to do some test pieces and see which goes best with the paint I've chosen.

Thanks again

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woodbloke66

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AndyT":3bwq5dbf said:
Water based polyurethane can give you something pretty close to an invisible finish.
I like this stuff by Polyvine:
https://www.axminster.co.uk/polyvine-in ... y-ax847416
Yup, I like that stuff too. It's available in plenty of different options and dries really quickly. You can get a superb finish if it's thoroughly cut back between each coat as it will raise the grain. I use a shop vac after cutting back to suck up all the dust....and there will be quite a lot - Rob
 

AndyT

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Also, it's made in England, in Cheddar.
 

woodbloke66

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This Alan Peters linen chest in Olive Ash was completed on Sunday....

IMG_3320.jpg


...and finished with two coats of Satin Polyvine followed by two coats of Matt, thoroughly cut back between each coat with 0000g wire wool - Rob
 

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will1983

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A little tip i picked up from the boating world about applying multiple coats of varnish..

If you want a satin finish use full gloss varnish for all layers except the last.
This builds up the varnish thickness to give good protection but also helps to keep the clarity of the finish and not obscure the grain of the timber.
For the last coat, use the satin varnish to get your required level of sheen.

I've not actually tried this myself but to my mind it makes perfect sense.
 

custard

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AndyT":2wiyfdwx said:
Water based polyurethane can give you something pretty close to an invisible finish.
I like this stuff by Polyvine:
https://www.axminster.co.uk/polyvine-in ... y-ax847416
It's not often I'll disagree with Andy T but I guess this is one of those rare occasions.

Polyvine water based Pu provides virtually no protection against red wine or fruit juice, permanent staining from a spillage occurs in around a minute. It gives good water and abrasion protection however, so it really comes down to your particular application.
 

AndyT

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Fair enough!
So far I've only used it to keep dry pieces from getting grubby. Maybe a table top needs something more heavy duty.
 

woodbloke66

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custard":njpizoc7 said:
AndyT":njpizoc7 said:
Water based polyurethane can give you something pretty close to an invisible finish.
I like this stuff by Polyvine:
https://www.axminster.co.uk/polyvine-in ... y-ax847416
It's not often I'll disagree with Andy T but I guess this is one of those rare occasions.

Polyvine water based Pu provides virtually no protection against red wine or fruit juice, permanent staining from a spillage occurs in around a minute. It gives good water and abrasion protection however, so it really comes down to your particular application.
It's not often I'll disagree with you Custard, but on this occasion I think you're well out of kilter. Polyvine is 'water resistant, heat resistant, abrasion resistant and microporus'...I know that 'cos I've just read it off the bottle :D

I tried the fruit juice test on an old chest of drawers I made years ago:

IMG_3347.jpg


....and left it for at least 30 minutes, then wiped it off. No staining.

Not having any red wine at hand over breakfast :D I then tried;

IMG_3349.jpg


....some balsamic vinegar, (red grape juice in vinegar) and left that for about the same time. No staining, nil, nada, zip, nowt.

Years ago I also made a computer desk out of pine which took some serious :shock: abuse from the whole family who would cheerfully leave hot coffee, mugs of steaming tea, red wine and other unmentionable stuff (especially at Christmas) by the side of the keyboard with exactly the same result.
No damage to the finish in any way.

I think what's crucial is how it's applied; the instructions writ large on the bottle say apply sparingly with a brush which means that you get a decent thick coat, which then, they say, needs to be 'lightly sanded'. It also says to dilute the first coat on new wood by 10% with water, but I just troweled two coats on neat with a lacquer brush. On the linen chest above, there were two brushed coats of satin, cut back thoroughly with 0000g wire wool (then the detritus was vacuumed off) followed by a few coats of thin matt applied in much the same way as French polish - Rob
 

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custard

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When I set up as a full time furniture maker I decided not to build my workshop with a spray booth, I also anticipated that dining tables would be a fair percentage of my output. Consequently I invested a lot of time in testing and evaluating different finishing options.

Here's a typical test that I conducted, this one is red wine on Sycamore. I tried leaving the wet glass in place for one minute, ten minutes, and one hour on each finish ( I also tested with different fruit juices and with tap and distilled water, but let's keep this simple and just look at red wine).
WineWater-Finish-Tests-05.jpg


I looked at scores of different finishes (always applying according to manufacturers instructions), and that included several water based pu finishes. No water based pu finish performed particularly well against red wine staining, but Polyvine was amongst the worst. Here's the one minute, ten minute, one hour results,
Wine-Test-One-Hour-01.jpg


I should emphasise that this photo shows the result after trying to remove the wine staining with a damp rag. Bottom line is that even 60 seconds of red wine will effectively ruin pale furniture finished with Polyvine water based pu.

This is consistent with earlier experience and with a lot of feedback from other professional makers, here's an Oak dining table with a water based pu finish where the client complained about red wine staining, a call out to refinish a job like this will pretty much eat up any profit you might have made from the job,
Red-Wine-GF-Oak.jpg


I'm not a chemist so I can't comment on why water based pu does so badly in this respect, it's little more than a guess but I suspect that the term "polyurethane" is actually used pretty loosely by finish manufactueres and might actually be acrylic.

Water based pu finishes also have some other issues. It's very easy to overwork them and end up with a cloudy surface, plus several tend to be a little soft, which means matt versions can burnish from normal domestic polishing, resulting in areas of relative glossiness.

Oil based pu finishes are completely different and are relatively bomb proof, although you then have to accept different issues such as yellowing and curing time.

In terms of an easily applied finish with reasonable red wine stain resistance Osmo is worth a look, one and ten minute stains can be completely removed with a damp rag, and even one hour is borderline.
 

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Woody2Shoes

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Very interesting.... I wonder if the thing in red wine which does the damage is tannin (which of course, is explicitly added to many varieties) - with anthocyanins adding colour!...
 

woodbloke66

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Thanks Custard, next time we open a bottle of the Mouton Rothschild 1982 of an evening, I'll try that wet wine glass test and see how the acrylic Polyvine finish does but I suspect it won't have any noticeable impact. Vinegar (acetic acid) and grape juice ought to have affected it, but as I mentioned, it didn't.

Edit: I've just sent off a query to the manufacturers asking about whether or not acrylic wax varnish will prevent staining specifically from red wine...it'll be interesting to see what they say - Rob
 

AndyT

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I suspect some of us may have different products. The Polyvine range is quite wide and as with many other makers of finishing products, the names don't always make it clear exactly what you are getting. I'll see if I can find time to do a trial with what I have.
 

woodbloke66

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Right chaps, I've just had chat on the dog n'bone with a very personable young lady at Polyvine HQ who wouldn't admit that the Acrylic Wax Finish would indeed allow red wine to stain a surface. However what she did say is that they would recommend a couple of coats of the heavy duty wood varnish instead of the Wax finish, so read into that what you will. I'm going to be re-finishing my wine tables with something else...in fact they're already in the 'shop - Rob
 

AndyT

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Thanks Rob. That's the stuff I linked to, though I also have the "wax" version.
I have both but don't hold your breath for tests - it's a bit hot and the start of a bank holiday weekend!
 

woodbloke66

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AndyT":bhoo5mwo said:
Thanks Rob. That's the stuff I linked to, though I also have the "wax" version.
I have both but don't hold your breath for tests - it's a bit hot and the start of a bank holiday weekend!
No problem Andy, it's useful for all to get these things clarified as it was the 'Wax' version I was using. I'll probably re-finish the tops of my wine tables with a few coats of Osmo as I know that's pretty nigh on bullet proof - Rob
 

mbartlett99

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Oddly I've got a breakfast bar finished in two coats of polyvine acrylic which does not seem to get stained by red wine (although I don't let it sit). Also have a worktop finished with 5 coats of Bona Chemi Nova - which is a pretty industrial squash/bowling alley product - which will stain v. easily with red wine.
 

AndyT

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I'm interested in this question as I need to refinish an oak veneered table. It has an unknown commercial finish, probably some sort of catalysed sprayed on lacquer which I can't reproduce. At the Axminster open day I talked to a Polyvine rep who gave me a sample of one of their products that he said would be suitable. I've since bought some, but not used it yet. I already have one of their other products, which I have used on some boxes and other small items. Like the OP I want to make sure I use something which will look right and give enough protection.
To that end I've now completed some simple tests.



This is an offcut of some oak (American white?) with some stains and the two varnishes.
From left to right, Soy Sauce,Wax finish Varnish, Heavy Duty Wood Varnish and red wine.

The website descriptions of the two similar products don't make it obvious what is in them. They are both described as stain resistant but the heavy duty one has a specific mention of use for worktops and should be tougher. Note that they now use white bottles not blue - I don't think this marks any change in the formulation. Both are water based and milky when liquid.

I applied a single coat of each and after four hours applied a second coat to half of each patch. I didn't dilute the first coat - I couldn't think of an easy way to dilute a tiny quantity - and many users would not bother either. Nor did I do any sanding. The test piece was left for 24 hours to fully cure.

I then added a dribble of soy sauce and wine and left them all for about ten minutes.



After that time I blotted all the stains with kitchen towel.



The bare wood stained - no surprise there.



The area with the wax finish varnish on stained from the red wine but not so much from the soy sauce. Oddly, the second coat did not seem to have helped.



The heavy duty varnish resisted staining, even with only one coat.



I took all the photos in the same lighting with the same camera settings. It's hard to see on screen but I would say that the heavy duty varnish gives a slightly greyer tone when compared to the warmer wax finish varnish. But it's a tiny difference and probably only visible with them side by side.

I know this is not exhaustive or conclusive but I hope it is some help to others.
 
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