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Old 09-05-2016, 01:00 PM   #1
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Finishing Reclaimed Oak Dining Table Surface


Hello all,
I am looking for help in determining the best way to finish the surface of a dining table (including water or oil based polyurethane) I am making out of three reclaimed oak planks. The oak planks were reclaimed from a building built in roughly 1900 in Quincy, IL. I had the planks planed to help level the surface. Really skip planned given the surface was not fully level and I wanted to keep some of the "character" of the surface. Planks are 11”x70”x2”, I will leave edges rough; the inside edges have been ripped to create a straight edge.

I only plan on adding clear polyurethane to the surface, no stain. I am going use 220 grit sandpaper before adding the poly. I would like to know the best poly to use and the best way to sand in between coats. Below is my plan:

1. Sand with 220 grit
2. Vacuum surface
3. Clean with mineral spirits
4. Apply poly (first against grain and then with grain using a fine brush)
5. Allow to dry (time depending on type of poly)
6. Sand using 320 grit or medium steel wool - apply second coat of poly
7. Allow to dry (time depending on type of poly)
8. Sand using 320 grit or fine steel wool - apply third coat of poly
9. Allow to dry for a full day
10. Buff surface with microfiber or soft cloth
11. Wait 3-4 days for using the surface

Any tips or advice are very much appreciated.

Other information if you care to know:
I am mechanically fastening the three planks together using steel straps I had fabricated, will attach with lag bolts. Again, the inside edges have been ripped to create a straight edge so I could glue them for more rigidity, but not sure. Table will then be set on two steel bases that I also had fabricated. There is a bench as well (plan to contrast the final with modern type cushion chairs that my wife will pick out). The bases of the table a very similar to the bases for the bench, just bigger of course. Table will have a finished surface height of 30" and bench at 18".
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Old 09-05-2016, 01:04 PM   #2
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Re: Finishing Reclaimed Oak Dining Table Surface


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Old 09-05-2016, 01:13 PM   #3
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Re: Finishing Reclaimed Oak Dining Table Surface


I'd be using a finish like this instead of poly.
http://www.rockler.com/mirrorcoatreg...abletop-finish
There's just so many flaws and cracks that table would be a pain to even dust off with that rough a finish.
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Old 09-05-2016, 05:57 PM   #4
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Re: Finishing Reclaimed Oak Dining Table Surface


Why are you worried about all that sanding when the boards are skip planed?
Never use steel wool especially on oak and especially with waterborne finishes.Any fibers from the wool that gets stuck in the rough parts (and some will) will rust.Iron (steel wool) and moisture from a waterborne finish will react with the tannins in the oak and leave black spots.
The straps are a bad idea.They will not allow the wood to move and it will move no matter how hard you try to stop it. If you insist on using the straps at least elongate the holes and put the lags in the center of the slot.
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Old 09-05-2016, 07:18 PM   #5
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Re: Finishing Reclaimed Oak Dining Table Surface


Quote:
Originally Posted by mako1 View Post
Why are you worried about all that sanding when the boards are skip planed?
Never use steel wool especially on oak and especially with waterborne finishes.Any fibers from the wool that gets stuck in the rough parts (and some will) will rust.Iron (steel wool) and moisture from a waterborne finish will react with the tannins in the oak and leave black spots.
The straps are a bad idea.They will not allow the wood to move and it will move no matter how hard you try to stop it. If you insist on using the straps at least elongate the holes and put the lags in the center of the slot.
@joecaption - I'm going to try poly as the shop owner where I bough th wood showed a sample with poly. I do agree it's rough; I will forgo the steel wool and use compressed air to blow it dust. Thinking of General Finishes water-based poly in satin. Clear, not stain. Any experience with this brand?

@mako1 - To clarify, there are a number of areas on th surface where the wood is vey smooth. Those areas will be sanded in between coats. Thanks for the tips on steel wool.

Regarding the straps, I have had the wood in the house for at least a week now to allow it to adjust to humidity levels. What if I drilled the holes to 1/2" or 3/4" and used a wide washer with. 5/16" lag bolt? I will also notch out the wood were the straps angle up 90 degrees. The straps only go vertical about 1". The metal base would have the same oversized holes. This should provide expansion space.

My thinking is the wood would still be able to expand left to right. Am I missing something? Appreciate the heads up on expansion. Didn't think it would be that significant.
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Old 09-06-2016, 01:42 PM   #6
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Re: Finishing Reclaimed Oak Dining Table Surface


Water or oil based you still need a light scuff sanding between coats of poly to ensure adhesion of the layers.
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