I am a true beginner with a true beginners question:
I am refinishing my grandmother's kitchen table. I chemically stripped it, sanded it, and stained it with a cherry stain (Minwax) Two coats of stain, eight hours apart, and to me, it looks good. Now, I want to seal it but I do not like the look of polyeurethane. Can I buy a wax or does anybody have another idea? The surface is used extensively and the wood is a hard wood but I'm not sure which. (Maple perhaps?)
Thank you, Nick.
There are two or three finishes I would recomend. The easist to use would be shellac. It goes on easy drys very fast so there is not much chance for dust to get into the finish. The only problem is that it will disolve with alcohol. So if you think that drinks would be spilled on the table then I would then go to something like a Varnish.
There are lots of different type of Varnish finishes. The easiest is to apply and a good solution is a natural Danish oil. Danish oil is a combination of Boiled Linseed oil and varnish resins. it is applied with rag brush poured on or any other way you want. It is allowed to soak in and then wiped off with a cloth. A few coats would b a good finish. After it cures then you could put on a good paste wax for luster.
The strongest Varnish is Spar Varnish. It is what is used on boats and other outdoor and water applications. It is brushed on and can be buffed with steel wool to get a satin sheen.
I don't like the poly finishes they look to plastic to my eye.
The last finish I would suggest would be a brushing Lacquer. They dry fast and are easy to apply. The issues on them is the fumes are a bit strong and you will want to be in a well ventilated area.
If you have the option of spraying, check out Pre-Cat lacquer. I've used S.W. brand on a number of restaurant and bar items. It's not as touchy and is easier to clean up after than catalized lacquer is. It can be pricey, has a limited shelf life and needs to be sprayed. You can clean up with lacquer thinner.
I've seen alcohol and even nail polish remover spilled on it. If it's cleaned up in a resonable time after the spill, it's held up just fine.