Having trouble with wood finishes…hardwax oils vs varnish

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ol_london

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I’ve made a few kitchen tables for people over the past year out of solid European oak. All great until a couple have come back to me because the finish is not holding up to stains like grease marks and liquid etc.

I’ve been using Fiddes clear satin hardwax oil which is similar to Osmo. I’m considering switching to using varnish instead but I’m worried that I’ll get a plasticy look and also will it even be better than the hardwax oil as stain resistance.
Any brands people can recommend? Is Ronseal satin water based Diamond Hard any good??
Thanks
 

Distinterior

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Take a look at Rubio Monocoat......On the occasions that I've needed to coat a table or kitchen worktop, it's what I've used for years.
Not cheap, but never had any comebacks 👍
It's a two pack system and you have to be careful to mix the correct percentages of each ..... I've always used the "Pure" colour.

 

Droogs

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Knowing when and where to use what type of finish is one of the biggest minefields for newer woodworkers. Each type has its merits in the right situation. When it comes to furniture that will likely be exposed to high heat and water like a kitchen table, although giving a great look will need a lot of upkeep and protection. That is something that has to be reinforced to a customer if they want an oil or wax based finish. That is there responsibility once in situ (but you do have to point this out). For instance with oil I pas on the maxim - "Oil the piece once a day for a week, then once a week for a month, then once a month for a year". And always use coaster or trivets.

There are quite a few reasonable books about finishes free on kindle unlimited but one you have to pay for that is very good is below:


For free standing kitchen furniture pieces I would recommend a wipe on poly or if the customer is more hip or traditional then a soap finish
 

ol_london

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Knowing when and where to use what type of finish is one of the biggest minefields for newer woodworkers. Each type has its merits in the right situation. When it comes to furniture that will likely be exposed to high heat and water like a kitchen table, although giving a great look will need a lot of upkeep and protection. That is something that has to be reinforced to a customer if they want an oil or wax based finish. That is there responsibility once in situ (but you do have to point this out). For instance with oil I pas on the maxim - "Oil the piece once a day for a week, then once a week for a month, then once a month for a year". And always use coaster or trivets.

There are quite a few reasonable books about finishes free on kindle unlimited but one you have to pay for that is very good is below:


For free standing kitchen furniture pieces I would recommend a wipe on poly or if the customer is more hip or traditional then a soap finish
Thanks. I like the principle but no customer I’ve met can be bothered to oil a table, especially that often. When they buy one from John Lewis or IKEA they don’t have to oil it.
 

Droogs

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When they buy it from there its covered in poly AKA plastic. Just before I had to lock myself away due to the lurgy, I fitted a solid elm library and handed the proud new owner 2ltrs of BLO as they gave me the cheque I had pointed out every time I saw them about what was needed with an oil finish. Same with the 2 computer cases I had done as well

It's part of your job to educate your clients so they come back to you later
 
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baldkev

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🧐 90 a litre!

Is the pure a clear finish? And does it alter the appearance of the wood much? Some clear finishes enhance and sometimes add a slight 'honey' tint
 

Distinterior

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Kev,...If you're referring to the Rubio, ....it is a 2 part ( hardener is transparent) and has a pale Toffee colour when mixed.

Bear in mind, it goes a very long way and only requires one conservative application.
I've only ever purchased the 275ml size for various jobs when I've needed it.

There is a guy on YouTube who makes wooden tables over in the north west of the US, and it's pretty much all he uses as a finish.
His business is called" Blacktail Studio" ......Take a look at some of his videos and you will see the finish it leaves.

Edit.
Here is a link to a video that he made showing the process and the finished result.

 
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gog64

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If it helps, these 2 are finished with Rubio. One beech, one walnut. I also made a walnut table which I delivered yesterday. That was also Rubio and looked nice if I do say so myself! Of course I forgot to take pictures, but can take some there if that’s of interest?

Before switching to Rubio, Fiddes hardwax was my go to and it’s pretty bulletproof. My own kitchen & dining tables are finished with that and have taken a lot of abuse. I do 3 coats and denib between. The attraction of Rubio is a single coat and the more natural finish.

1642784786401.jpeg
 

baldkev

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As it happens ive got a couple of desk tops to make and a big island top. That might be a good product to try. Although the customer will have to get their kitchen fitter to finish it ( they live a couple of hundred miles away and are having an extension etc built for the kitchen.... so theres issues with the change in heat and humidity, plus they'll have to get building dryers ( dehumidifiers ) to reduce all the excess water, so im leaning towards making it and they'll collect in a van and take it all home, then fit and finish after its acclimatised. Will have to have stainless angle rebated into it and saw cuts hidden on the underside to reduce tension issues.

Ive been experimenting with shavings and dust in resin. So far i think the customer is leaning towards shavings in there.... it adds interest and looks pretty cool.
 

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Chris Hawkins

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FWIW I've used Osmo Polyx for table tops and cabinet tops for years and have never had an issue - despite sustained family abuse - without issue. I understand that The Polyx version has a higher density of solids which makes it more durable. It is also suitable for floors! May be the use of the standard (non-polyx) is the issue? I've also used Sadolin Polyurethane Extra Durable Varnish, which I have found to be more durable but far less pleasing to the eye. It will, however, mark with time and is notably more difficult to repair/re-finish. Repairing hard wax oil is simple. I've also in the last couple of years used Fiddes without issue, BUT not for table tops - so I don't have experience there. I think if customers buy a wooden table then they need to understand that maintenance will be required?
 

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