diy--ikea wood counter--which poly coat?

wallycatApril 21, 2012

So FINALLY, the Beech 73 x 39 arrived at the Seattle/Renton IKEA. We drove like mad people to get it..whew..3 left.

We are thinking of lightly sanding (to remove any treatment they put on there) and using a polyvinyl coating. I am leaning towards a semi-gloss as I am not fond of ultra shiny stuff. Will I be sorry? I think the Beech is dark enough that I don't need to stain. Will I be sorry?

If you did polyvinyl on yours, do you have a brand you can recommend??

We will only have the induction cooktop on it and I will have a cutting board to chop so no actual work on the countertop.

Any ramblings, thoughts, suggestions are appreciated.

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Two of my neighbors installed ikea butcher block counters last year. Both applied several coats of tung oil to protect it. I applied tung oil to an antique oak counter. It's not too much trouble to apply, although it takes several days because of the number of coats. It looks great. No direct food prep. I think it will be necessary to re-apply one coat yearly but I don't think that's too much trouble.

Congrats on the new countertop and good luck, whatever you decide as to the finish.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2012 at 7:08PM
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I used Epiphanes marine varnish. This is a spar varnish, which is different from polyurethane. The properties of spar varnish are that it is more waterproof and more elastic than polyurethane, but scratches easier. Spar varnish is tung-oil based. Spar varnish lends an amber tone so there is no need to stain.

Many on this board will suggest Waterlox. Waterlox is essentially a spar varnish that has been diluted about 50% with mineral spirits, and possibly a little extra tung oil added in. The addition of mineral spirits makes it lay out nicely (ie: you don't see brush strokes). But you can achieve the same thing by diluting any varnish (polyurethane or spar) with mineral spirits. Waterlox is very expensive and depending on where you live, you might have to pay for shipping. So I would advise against Waterlox because of the rip-off factor.

Epifanes is the best marine varnish there is. Don't get the spar at Home Depot or a home centre. It's not as good. I think it has less solids or something. After 7 coats of Epifanes, the varnish looks like GLASS it is insane. I am toning down the gloss down by adding "rub effect" over top. It almost seems a shame to do so given the truly remarkable perfect wet gloss, but it's not the look I'm after...Anyway, the Rub Effect stuff gives it a nice satin sheen. The rub effect stuff is actually just a polyurethane.

Do a google search for "Bob Flexner" and "Waterlox" to get the scoop on Waterlox. I think some people are deceived into thinking it's some sort of tung oil miracle concoction, which it is not.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2012 at 7:15PM
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Hi, Wallycat!

Well, all I can say is I've found Waterlox easy to apply and very durable and waterproof...and not super shiny like a marine or other finish meant to stand up to weather and, particularly, sun. It's easy to refresh, as you aren't required to sand to do another coat, or you don't have to go over a whole surface. I found ours at Woodcraft in the Georgetown area of Seattle... at Corson and Michigan Streets not too far from the granite places, if you've been around there at all.

Although, in your area, a marine finish should be easy to find, maybe ask at the wooden boat (NW Maritime) center.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2012 at 7:29PM
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Thank you!
Rhome,yes, we walk to through the Chandlery almost weekly and lots of stuff there. Also, there is a wooden boat school, so I can go ask there!
Thanks everyone.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 10:55AM
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Just wish to say I'm excited about your wood countertop Ikea purchase. I am aware of them and look forward to hearing how you enjoy them down the road.

I love the warmth of wood countertops.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 11:47AM
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I just Waterloxed my Ikea butcherblock last month and it was both easy and looks great.

I could have bought a quart of Waterlox from a wood working specialty store but chose to order a gallon. With shipping, I think it came to $100. If it lives up to the hype (so far, so good), it will be worth it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Waterlox Penetrating Tung Oil Finish

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 12:18AM
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Any knowledge/opinion re Watco "Butcher Block Oil and Finish"? I am considering bamboo BB tops for my kitchen and wondering about the optimal finish for performance and ease of maintenance. . Any advice?

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 9:27PM
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