Sycamore Coffee Table Finish

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Fitzroy

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Hi all,

I just got my coffee table project to the stage of thinking about finish.
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The better half would like a slightly richer finish than the light colour. Also aware that it’ll darken over time anyhow.

As it’s a coffee table I’m also thinking about durability and resistance to spills/splashes.

My finishing experience is limited and think I need something different but don’t know what. My experiences:
- Danish oil. My understanding is this turns sycamore a nasty colour.
- Polyvine decorators varnish. Will give some protection but is not tinted so will keep the piece light.
- Osmo UV oil. Will not give much spill protection but can get in a tinted finish.

Looking for thoughts and suggestions please.

Thanks

Fitz

PS if interested I’ve updated the WIP on this over in projects.
 

Cabinetman

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As Eddy just said, I use these two products, decant a little bit of the varnish into a jar and add a few drops of dye and you can have your wood any colour you want, I experimented with turquoise once -extremely effective and of course the finish is really hard and proof against hot cups of tea. Ian
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custard

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Congratulations on gettng your project to the home straight! And kudos for pausing before plunging into finishing, a mistake at this stage is a sickener.

I've posted before on finishing pale timbers like Sycamore. There are a few traps that you need to avoid.

You mention Polyvine, but be very careful with water based finishes like these. There's a difference between brands but as a generality water based varnishes give you decent protection from water, tea, or coffee spills, but very poor protection against fruit juice or red wine.

Here's Polyvine on Sycamore with a red wine stain left on the surface for ten seconds and for one minute before being wiped away with a damp cloth.

Wine-Test-10-Min-01.jpg


These stains are permanent, you'd have to strip to remove them.

For comparison here's Osmo. I don't know how your monitor is calibrated so I don't know what colour you'll see, but in real life it's got a slight yellow tint, what it doesn't have is any staining! You'd have to leave red wine on Osmo/Sycamore for over an hour before you'd get even the faintest trace of staining.

Wine-Test-10-Min-04.jpg


If the yellow is too much then consider Osmo Transparent Raw. It has a tiny trace of Titanium White to precisely counter the yellowing, but as you can see it gives all the protection of regular Osmo.

Wine-Test-10-Min-03.jpg


Osmo Raw keeps that look or a year or two depending on UV levels where your table will be used (longer in a north facing room, a lot less in a conservatory. But eventually the underlying timber will oxidise and yellow. There are finishes with UV inhibitors but they have their own drawbacks and nothing I've ever found gives a bone white finish permanently. Although bleaching in certain timbers lasts longer than the alternatives. This is bleached Oak that's held up for several years and is still going strong,

Bleached-Oak-01.jpg
 

Cabinetman

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Thanks Custard, I never knew that about red wine on water-based varnishes, which is surprising with my propensity for spilling it everywhere, I shall have to experiment. Ian
 

Lons

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I agree with Custard about Osmo though I have only limited experience I used it on a butcher block island unit for my son and it's been well used since for general kitchen duties including spills of all kinds as well as a bit of hammering by my 7 year old granddaughter. Apart from wiping it clean no more finish has been applied and it's in excellent condition after I think now a couple of years.

To keep it natural I used Osmo raw and wiped on multiple coats, Osmo is expensive but goes a long way
 
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