2 Best Table Top Finishes You Can Buy

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This is the 2 Best Table Top Finishes You Can Buy. In this post, I’ll show you each one of these table finishes, as well as why they are awesome for your tables. Enjoy.

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Table Top Finishes

2-Best-Table-Top-Finishes-You-Can-BuyTable top finishes are unique in the finishing world for a number of reasons. It’s in these differences that you have to handle finishing a tabletop a little bit differently than you would handle many of your other woodworking projects.

First of all, a table top finish is different because of what a table top has to deal with in its lifetime. The table will see a lot more than a mirror frame. For this reason, the table top finish needs to be durable, and protect the wood.

Also, a table top is a very large surface, so the finish that you use needs to blend together it really well and lay out flat. If it is not, it can look very obvious where each section of finish was applied, and overlapping spray marks will look like zebra stripes.

To avoid all these problems, take a look at the two very easy to apply finishes that I’m about to discuss coming up in the post. One of them is a spraying option, and the other one is a hand applied option.

Between the two, you are sure to find something that’ll work out really well for you. This way, your table top will look as good as the rest of the piece, and still be protected for the long run.

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See Also: 9 Useful Tips for Finishing Outdoor Tables

Sprayed Lacquer

One of the best finishes for wooden furniture and table tops is furniture grade lacquer that is sprayed from a can or professional spraying equipment. You can use either one, and they will both create an amazing looking finish.

Depending on the size of your table, it may be a little bit more difficult to create a consistent looking finish layer from a rattle can. However, under the right circumstances, and with a little bit of practice, you would be surprise how large of a surface you can finish.

If you have some spraying equipment, you can always shoot the lacquer on the surface using your spray gun. This does make the process a little easier because it dispenses a larger amount of lacquer at once, helping to create that layer.

Whether you use cans or a spray gun, furniture grade lacquer both protects the wood, enhances the look, and helps your table top live longer.

See Also: 13 Helpful Tips on How to Stain a Wood Table

Tips and Tricks for Spraying Lacquer

No matter which way you do it, here are some tips and tricks that can help you when you have to apply a table top finish:

  • Your surface preparation is extremely important, make sure the table top is flawless before you apply your finish.
  • Don’t use bottom shelf clear coat for this process. You need to use furniture grade lacquer, which is a bit more expensive but it’s definitely worth it.
  • When you’re spraying your lacquer, coat in both directions to create an even layer on the surface.
  • If you’re using rattle cans, a dusting of super blush over the top can help slow down the drying and allow the layer to melt together.
  • Lacquer is an interesting product, because the layers blend together and fuse to form one layer of final finish.
  • Focus on creating in even, wet layer on the surface with your lacquer.

See Also: 17 Awesome Tips for Making a Kids Table and Chairs

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Wiping Varnish

Another option for finishing a table top that is really easy to apply and doesn’t require any additional equipment is wiping varnish. This is a particular type of varnish that has a higher amount of thinner, so it’s easier to create an even coat of finish.

Most finishes are on the thicker side. You have to apply them carefully, and you have to make sure that there aren’t any thick or thin areas. The finish doesn’t spread as quickly, and therefore it can look more uneven.

In order to solve this problem for beginners, wiping varnish was created by adding a lot more thinner to the varnish mixture. This makes the finish take a lot longer to dry, which allows more time for the finish to spread out nice and flat.

All you need to do to apply a wiping varnish to a tabletop is to use a rag to apply very thin coats that almost feel like you’re just getting the surface wet. Allow it to dry for the full amount of time recommended, and then wipe on a couple more coats just the same way.

These super thin layers will build upon one another, and form a coating for your table top that is beautiful and durable. Neither finish will prevent any kind of abuse of course, but under normal circumstances they are good for your table top.

See Also: 12 Helpful Tips for Joining Planks for a Table Top

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Tips and Tricks for Wiping Varnish

Here are some tips and tricks for applying wiping varnish that you can use to help guarantee a much better experience with the product:

  • Just as in a spray finish, the surface preparation is the most important step. Get that right, and your final finish will look a lot better.
  • Since wiping varnish is already thinned, do not add any additional dinner to the mixture.
  • Work in sections, and apply just enough product to moisten the surface.
  • Your coats should be so thin that you feel like you’re wiping nearly all of it off.
  • Don’t worry that it will take a few more coats to build up a layer, those layers will be perfectly flat and even, which will look a lot better than pouring it on.
  • Wiping varnish takes longer to dry than a regular varnish, so don’t rush.
  • Since the product takes a while to dry, make sure you’re not finishing in a dusty environment.

See Also: 14 Easy Tips for Using Wiping Varnish

Your Action Assignment

Now that you know how to apply these two awesome table top finishes, it’s time to get out into the shop and take action. If you have a particular attraction to one or the other, start with that finish first.

Buy some furniture grade spraying lacquer online, or pick up a can of wiping varnish that you can apply by hand. Then, find a nice piece of scrap wood to sand down really nicely to accept the finish.

Apply that finish to this scrap just like you are applying it to a table top that you plan on putting in your dining room for everyone to see. Do the best job that you possibly can, and you should pick up the technique very quickly.

If you have any questions on these two table top finishes and how to apply them, please post a question and I’ll be glad to answer them. Happy building.

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  • More than 20 Years Woodworking Experience
  • 7 Woodworking Books Available on Amazon
  • Over 1 Million Words Published About Woodworking
  • Bachelor of Arts Degree from Arizona State University
Buy My Books on Amazon

I receive Commissions for Purchases Made Through the Links in This Post.

 

You Can Find My Books on Amazon!

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