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  1. #1
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    Jan 2008
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    Wapakoneta, OH
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    Default High Performance Furniture Finish

    A few years ago my mother-in-law purchased some furniture from an Amish craftsman. He gauranteed that the finish would never be damaged by water or heat; he even did a demonstration using a flame and sure enough no damage. The piece is a dining room table and impressed that the finish has indeed never been damaged from hot dishes or moisture from glasses.

    I'm going to be building some end tables and I'm curious if anyone could recommend a finish. I'm looking for something that is heat proof, moisture proof, and allows candle wax to be cleaned on the chance that one melts.

    Thanks for any insights you can provide.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Wapakoneta, OH
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    Default Re: High Performance Furniture Finish

    Well I never recieved any replies so let's try a different angle.

    I've done some research on different finishes and here's a list of what appear to be the best for "hard use" furniture:
    Polyurethane varnish
    Paste varnish
    Oil/varnish

    For outdoor furniture:
    Spar or marine varnish
    Exterior polyurethane
    Plasitc oil

    So my question now is which would be the best for living room furniture. Ideally I want something that will not get rings from a sweating glass.

    Any assistance is much appreciated.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,558

    Default Re: High Performance Furniture Finish

    I prefer oil based varnish. My favorite is Old Masters brand. It's very hard and has great self leveling properties. I have a maple kitchen table I refinished 25 years ago and it still looks like new.
    White rings from glasses is due to using wax on your tables.
    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    1,131

    Default Re: High Performance Furniture Finish

    Quote Originally Posted by studyingtobehandy View Post
    So my question now is which would be the best for living room furniture. Ideally I want something that will not get rings from a sweating glass.
    "Best".. is difficult, if not impossible to define. Some foks are most concerned about clarity of the finish...allowing the full beauty of the wood to show thru. Shellac would be a good choice for that. But shellac is not the best choice for moisture resistance from wet glasses, etc. Hence the use of coasters with this particular finish.

    If you're looking for something that is very durable (for interior finishes) and easy to apply with a brush...go with an oil-based polyurethane. (Avoid MinWax products though) Use a natural bristle brush. If your desired sheen is semi-gloss or satin...use it for the final coat only. Use gloss sheen for the initial coats and then apply a coat your desired sheen. If you use several coats of semi-gloss or satin instead...the end result will be somewhat cloudy in appearance.

    The finish the Amish guy used might well have been some manner of catalyzed finish. These can only be applied with a spray-gun. Cat-finishes are tough, but have upsides and downsides...like everything else.

    If you'd like to know more...I'd suggest you pick up a copy of Bob Flexner's " Understanding Wood Finishing". A true wealth of reliable info there at a very reasonable price.

    http://www.amazon.com/Understanding-.../dp/0762106212

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    1,131

    Default Re: High Performance Furniture Finish

    Quote Originally Posted by JLMCDANIEL View Post
    White rings from glasses is due to using wax on your tables.
    Jack
    Yup...paste wax can and will do that....but a nitro-cellulose finish will, too. (Example of readily available nitro product...Deft clear wood finish) Shellac will also if left wet for long enough ... or exposed to too much heat.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Wapakoneta, OH
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    13

    Default Re: High Performance Furniture Finish

    ****hiller,

    Thanks for the insights and I'll be ordering that book tonight. One question though. Why do you say to avoid Minwax products?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    1,131

    Default Re: High Performance Furniture Finish

    Quote Originally Posted by studyingtobehandy View Post
    ****hiller,

    Why do you say to avoid Minwax products?
    Well...because MinWax removed the defoaming agents from their entire poly product line to comply with California VOC regulations. Consequently, their polys like to foam up/create little bubbles when brush applied. The end result is...ummmm... not nice. Not like the goodle daze.

    Other finish companies have also had to alter the products that they wish to sell in CA, but have not altered their entire line of products...or not as drastically anyway. Products sold in many other states still brush nicely...at least for the most part.

    If you spray the finish instead, (rattle cans or have spray equipment).. the bubble deal shouldn't happen/be a concern.
    Last edited by goldhiller; 07-17-2008 at 09:47 PM.

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