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Rustic oak furniture finishes???


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New member
3 Mar 2012
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First post on here but been lurking for quite a while,
So basically i am an oak framer and build houses not furniture so i haven't got the first clue about finishing furniture and was after some advice on what i should use on a rustic oak beam coffee table and TV stand i have just made,
-i would like to keep the colour of the oak as it is as much as possible
-i would like to bring out the grain if possible
-i would like something which will take a little abuse as its a coffee table and accidents happen (more often than not in my house!! :? )
- i dot want loads of sheen on the oak, its wood not a mirror!

So yeah, any suitable advice would be appreciated on finishes, also if you think you know of a suitable product,/combination of products, some info on how many coats, time between coats, application etc etc would be nice, one thing i do know about finishing is i do not like the finish linseed oil gave to a carvers mallet one of the blokes in the workshop made totally lost eh colour of the oak :(
I looked on furniture websites selling similar pieces and they offer a choice of oils or waxing, the clear waxing looked ok but it didn't do much for the grain and i'm thinking its not going to provide a very protective durable finish?

also dont know if it makes any difference but the oak is fairly dry (150x150posts), from green its been sat around a very dry yard with lots of exposure to sun and wind for 3 years roughly, so i cant see there's much more moisture in there to worry about effecting the finish.

thanks in advance J

Woodfinish Man

Established Member
7 Aug 2008
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Hi J,

Based on all your specification I think the best product you could use would be a waterbased polyurethane finish. Something like Aquacoat XTRA or Bona Mega. Although both of these products are primarily used on wooden floors they can also be used for furniture. They offer excellent protection and will also bring out the grain of the wood without changing the colour too much. It's difficult to bring out the grain without altering the colour but these two products change it the least.

They are also fast drying (2 hours between coats) with 2-3 coats recommended. In your situation I think it would be best to apply eith of them using a quality paint brush remembering to lightly sand (denib) the surface after the first coat.

I hope that this information is of some assistance.

Ian McAslan


Cyber Heretic
15 Feb 2012
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West Somerset
Well, I am a newbie here, and have little experience of wood finishes but I always prefer my home-made beeswax polish. It is not durable and will need re-waxing occasionally but that job falls into a different domestic department so I do not mind at all. I am not a fan of finishes that 'set' - neither the polyurethane type nor the nut oils (eg tung nut). They work but look 'wrong' to my eyes.

Click on the link to a box I made in my signature line - that is my wax on hardwood (probably mahogany but it was salvaged, so I am not sure). I have used the wax on an oak box that I stripped (of horrid dark flakey varnish), and really liked the way the grain looked afterwards.