Best stain/poly for kitchen table

housefulJune 8, 2011


We built a new kitchen table and would like it to have a very rustic/farmhouse look. I want something in a dark color and a flat finish. I want it to be water resisitant, but at the same time, I DO NOT want to have to baby this thing. We are going to distress the table before our kids get a chance to distress it.

I don't ever want to have to strip it and refinish so I am leaning toward the one-step product, something I can wipe on again over time after a light sanding. Or maybe several layers of wax over an oil-based stain? There are just too many products and I am confused.

Any suggestions?

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There are no finishes that meet your requirements.

There are some that come close, however. You will need to pick the one that fits most closely.

All in one stain /finish products are seldom good choices since the combination is a blend of two different substances and the result is not as good as the individual parts.

Stain(or dye is the better choice), hand sand, and finish according to manufacturers instructions is still the best method.

Poly-chips fairly easily. Very difficult to repair, normally needs sanding/recoating. However, if the blemishes add to the rustic look, then poly is the best choice.

By your light sand and reapply statement, varnish is the best choice. You can feather out chips and the reapplication will blend in the area. Varnish(from a real paint store, not the poly varnish most favored by home improvement stores) has better water resistant properties than lacquer or shellac and is easier for DIYers to use.

Lacquer and shellac can be applied over previous coats of the same finish and blend with the old layers since both products partially dissolve even hardened coats of the like finish.

But, neither have the resistance to water damage varnish has. And both dry so quickly, they are difficult to use on large surfaces.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2011 at 2:47PM
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Thank you so much for steering me away from the one-step product. I will visit a real paint store and figure out what to use. I am not very skilled and applying real varnish, however, since I want the table to look old and distressed, that probably doesn't matter.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2011 at 1:38PM
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I have just the thing for you. WATERLOX. Google it!
Three years ago we installed a heavily used kitchen island (no sink or cooktop on it) with a walnut top. I self distressed it and filled in the dings and distressing with a black sharpie. Then I wiped on about 4-6 coats of Waterlox satin finish. It's drop dead gorgeous and has held up very well to a family of four with two teenagers. The scratches from the sliding backpacks and grocery bags are there, but, because it's a satin finish they don't show too much. When I get the time, I plan to freshen it up - all I will need to do is a light sand with fine sandpaper and then wipe on a new coat or two.

I also have this on our kitchen table that I refinished - it too is holding up well.

Highly recommend! Good Luck!

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 9:37AM
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