Poly Whey as a coating for wood counter tops

washworkerApril 26, 2014

I have used and LOVED the poly whey on our floors it seems to be wearing great etc. But I am curious has anyone used it on their wood counters. My husband and I are doing a 100% DIY Kitchen and we will be starting to build counters in the next couple months just trying to plan. And would love to know of anyone use and experiences with it on counters.

thanks so much!!!!

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What is poly whey?
I've built my own butcher block, but haven't done anything as far as finishing it yet. Can't decide whether to weather the wood or stain it -- or both! But the topcoat is a whole 'nother decision.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 12:23AM
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http://www.vermontnaturalcoatings.com/ We used vermont natural coatings in Satin on our maple floors almost 4 years ago. We have a dog who we roughhouse with on them and a little boy and we are in a state of construction so we are not easy on them! Everyone that comes in comments on how great the floors look and what did we use etc.. It was super easy to apply and very quick re-coat time, and no off gassing! So needless to say we love the finish I had contacted the company to ask if it was something they would recommend, and they said yes we could use either the furniture or floor coating. I was just hoping that maybe someone had some real life experience.

Here is a link that might be useful: vermont natural coatings

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 10:07AM
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I wish I had an answer for you. But I really appreciate the link and information on how it has held up for you on the floors. I will be saving that for when it is time to refinish our floors!

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 11:03AM
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Have you read the MSDS sheets on this stuff!?
Don't fool yourself into thinking because it says natural that it's any more "natural" than polyurathanes and polyacrylics. Sure, it's water soluble and there are elements that are not harmful, but this troubles me.

Because it says natural, many people make the mistake of assuming it can't hurt them, their kids, or their pets. This stuff might not flash over, but it can damage your liver, your corneas and, as far as water clean-up? Read this:

"Do not discharge effluent containing this product to sewer systems without previously notifying the local sewage treatment plant authority."

This stuff is still flammable, explosive and \if at high heats puts off toxic gasses.

This may be a great finish, but do consider the misleading element of "whey." And why don't they want whey in streams and fields...

Wow. Not on my butcher block and I don't even cook on it. I barely cook.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 11:46AM
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Have you read the MSDS for any other coating or paint? or heck even table salt?

This excerpt came from Tung oil-

"Keep containers tightly closed, Isolate from heat, electrical equipment, sparks and open flame. As it may spontaneously catch fire if improperty discarded. Immediatley after use, place the oil soaked material in a sealed water-filled metal container.

May be harmful if inhaled. May cause respiratory tract irritation.
May be harmful if absorbed through skin. May cause skin irritation.
May cause eye irritation.
May be harmful if swallowed.

Environmental precautions
Do not let product enter drains."

Coming from a science field MSDS sheets are written for the product as sold not the cured finished product.They also have to include the very worst things that could happen with the product. Like I said even table salt has some nasty stuff written about it.

I was looking at this for an alternate for Waterlox as a finish on a non cutting surface. I appreciate your concerns based on a few snippets from an MSDS.

I will be interested to see what finish you put on your wood counters to protect them.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 2:12PM
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I read the whole sheet and every other product sheet on the site. It's not based up on snippets and I think you've missed my point. Or might be ignoring it.

So far, in 2 years I've not put anything on my counters. I'm probably going to use vinegar to cause a reaction stain, neutralize it with water, and maybe some mineral oil or flat, exterior dark paint base for a completely matte finish. Haven't decided.

I'm not chemical freaky. As a matter of fact, I don't even care. I do care about the misleading "natural" advertisement of things. Like orange oil products are petroleum based, but now many know that? White out is flammable and inkjet print cartridges are explosive.
That's all.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 2:27PM
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Circus Peanut

Washworker, I too absolutely adore PolyWhey and use it everywhere possible for all kinds of purposes. I used some on my copper (!) countertops for a while; it didn't adhere but that's really not the fault of the PolyWhey, would've happened to any poly coating over metal.

It was on my sole wooden staircase for 4 years with nary a scratch: 2 clumsy adults and two clawed cats. Looked like new the day we sold the house.

I'd take PolyWhey any day over Waterlox, which nearly gassed out my contractors when I used it for bedroom floors a few years back. Also tried Waterlox for some later floors and didn't find that the exorbitant cost justifies what is basically a thinned wiping varnish and leaves the same coating as polyurethane anyways.

You might consider just oiling the counters instead of doing a protective coating, as it would have to be regularly renewed no matter what you choose. Depends entirely on how you use the counters.

Christine, I don't think Washworker is making any sort of "better" or "natural" claims for Poly Whey. It's just that Poly Whey actually dries harder than polyurethane and is indeed, as I've experienced too, a fabulous finish. (It's folks who think Waterlox is some kind of pure tung oil finish that get my dander up.)

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 6:00PM
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You missed the entire point of my post.. I was looking for feedback from anyone that has used the finish on wood counters (not a cutting surface butcher block) I was not looking for someones thought on the product that hasn't used it.

I did understand your point, you don't like that it is Vermont "natural" coatings you don't think it is any more natural that other products out there. And it seemed implied that I couldn't possibly have done any research if I had any thought to use it. I have done my research. They use whey protein (a byproduct of making cheese) in place of heavy metal driers and the toxic binders and carcinogenic solvents typically found in finishes. My thought is is more natural than many other finishes and it holds up great underfoot! Is it the perfect finish probably not there maybe something better out there. I know a LOT of people use waterlox on their non cutting wood counters and I was thinking of this an an alternative.

So back to my original question does anyone know how it would wear on a non cutting surface counter top, Or even how it has worn on your dining table.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 6:31PM
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Thank you circuspeanut.. You seem too have gotten the point of my question/post. Thank you for the feedback from your use and experience!!!

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 6:48PM
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Circuspeanut, I didn't thing the OP was making any type of claim, it was purely my reaction to the Vermont's label of "natural."

It's great to find something that is as impervious as this stuff seems to be.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 8:30PM
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Circus Peanut

Yeah, I really love PolyWhey. It has zero, like zero odor, and it dries very quickly. Try it on your next coating project, Christine, and let me know what you think.

You just have to know when you want an oil-based smelly finish and when you can get by with a relatively less toxic water-based acrylic or poly.

I know I missed it above - what kind of wood are you using for your counters, Wash? If it's walnut, one needs to deepen the wood with stain before the PolyWhey; it's totally clear and makes walnut look grey and dead (I speak from experience here!). I see they've come out with a series of colorants that you can add to it for ambering purposes, to simulate more of the oil look. That seems interesting too.

This post was edited by circuspeanut on Sun, Apr 27, 14 at 20:56

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 8:53PM
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We used it on our hard sugar maple floors, and love the non-ambering qualities, We plan to make our counters out of maple as well. I am debating whether I want to dye the maple or not. I know it will not take stain well. I haven't played with any of the VT natural coatings tints. I would be interested to see how they work. I will keep that in mind about the walnut as I think that is the planned wood species for our kitchen table down the line.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 9:44PM
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Well, if it is such a tough coating for floors, why should a counter be any different?

For me a BB countertop would have to have function as well as good looks, and I would want to cut on it and put hot things on it, but I guess it is just about the way it looks for others. Nothing adds warmth to a kitchen quite like a gorgeous BB counter.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 10:26PM
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Washworker, just to clarify - there's a difference between pure tung oil and products called "Tung Oil Finish", which is more like a varnish. Pure tung oil is food-grade.

Thanks to you and circuspeanut for your experience with Poly Whey. We'll be putting hardwood stairs in our house in the next year, and appreciate a recommendation for something that will hold up.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pure tung oil MSDS

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 1:24PM
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Interesting I got my MSDS on Tung Oil from Sigma Aldrich (a Chem company we get stuff from where I work)

I had seen there were blends but I didn't touch blends. from my understanding Each company/ producer is supposed to write up their own MSDS sheets or at least provide them with the products now. maybe that is in part where the differences lie?

Greenhaven, If we were making butcher block I would likely go with an oil finish too and use it as a butcher block, but since we are making a wood counter out thinner strips, we are planning to use the counter differently. It is actually the least expensive counter option for us. and I want to be able to wipe it easy (I am a messy cook)

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 9:21PM
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Gotcha. I would think then, that as long as it is rated safe for counters it would be durable enough. That's what my intuition tells me, anyway. Otherwise I am just talking out my backside.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 9:25PM
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