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Thread: Kitchen Table Finish

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

    Kitchen Table Finish

    Iím a novice when it comes to wood working, (especially finishing) and I am building a Kitchen/dining room table from flat sawn ash. The table will be four legged with extension slides and two leaves.
    LOML wants it to have a dark rich (coffee/chocolate coloured) finish.
    Now that I have most of the parts ready for finish I need some help.
    Should I stain and finish the parts before I glue up the legs and apron? I Ďm using mortise and tennon joints to fasten the aprons to the legs and will fasten the top to the leg assemblies using screws and slotted holes
    I finished a test piece:
    -sanded using 180 grit
    -Raised the grain with water, let it dry and sanded again to remove the fuzz using 220grit
    -Applied 2 coats of Dark Walnut Aniline dye
    -sanded lightly with 220 grit to remove and fuzz from the dye application and sprayed it several times using a catalyzed lacquer.
    The colour is great but I put on too much lacquer and I didnít fill the pores.
    I would like the character of the ash to stand out but I would like the finished surface to be flat (no visible pores).
    From what I have been reading it looks like I should fill the grain in order to get the finish I want.
    So, I picked up some Elmer's Wood Filler at lee valley. Now that I have read the label it looks like the filler is water soluble and Iím not sure itís the right thing to use or how to use it with the water based dye (Should I add the dye to the filler or apply the filler and dye after and will this change the colour?). The more I think about it maybe I should put ďElmerĒ on the shelf and use it to fill nail holes under paint.
    Feeling a bit like the dog that chased the school bus. Now that I caught it what do I do?
    Any suggestions on what to use and how to fill the pores would be greatly appreciated. I am also wondering if the lacquer is an appropriate final finish for the table which will get lots of use (need to have a durable surface).

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Inside the Beltway

    Finishing ain't easy. I've heard people say one should spend as much time on the finish as one spends building the piece. And I think it takes just about as much knowledge!

    Maybe some research is indicated? I've always liked this book:

    There are a ton of other resources out there. BTW, I've never used the elmer's, so I have no idea...



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Delton, Michigan
    table finish, first of all there are many on here with more expeirnce tod comes to mind first.. but here is what i did for kitchen table.. i would stain or dye after its together then, apply at least two coats of lacquer to get the pores partially filled sand lightly with 320 dust off then hit again with two more coats resand with 320 and flat block..then you can use a precat lacquer which is tougher than normal lacquer.. again sand with 320 to get flat you wil know when you get there the low spots wont be there.. tod told me that another choice would be conversion varnish for table tops.. which is another type of finish. just drop tod a pm he will answer you. show us your pics
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    new york city burbs
    I used 4-5 coats of polyurethane on the mahogany table I built.
    In the couple fo months I see the abuse the table is taking.
    A few laptops smashed into it, boxes and pocketbooks thrown onto it like its a loading dock. It took a few dents, but the poly held up well, expecially the bottle of wine that spilled on it, the sodas, the spaghetti sauce, the duck sauce/sweet n sour sauce, the spilled nail polish and other makeup.

    Yeah, its the kitchen/dining table, but its also the gathering spot when everyone is hanging out. I stopped looking at the dings and dents, I figured its getting plenty of good family use.

    I did use ash with stain and poly covered nicelyBut my experiences are totally new, since Ive never finished anything before these pieces.
    Last edited by allen levine; 01-19-2009 at 01:08 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Floydada, Tx
    I personaly do not like the looks of filler in wood. I wod do as Larry said and build a finish up to fill the grain. If you sand it to 220 befor you start spraying it shold go quick. For finish either a conversion varnish(best choice) or a poly finsh.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Pics as requested. (I'm no photographer as you can see)
    Pics 1,2 and 3 are the (dusty) halves of the top.
    Pics 4,5 and 7 are of the legs and dry fit of aprons. aprons in the foreground are for the other set of legs (sitting on top in pics 2 & 3). Pic 6 is some off cuts of the rough sawn ash I started with.

  7. #7
    Ash has very open pores and is a long process to fill with finish. The easiest way to finish this table would be to fill the grain using an oil grain filler that is darker than the ash,that way the grain will be darker when completed,next apply a spit coat of shellac then the top coat of choice. If you want to finish before assembly you will have to tape any where glue will be applied.
    Nice job .



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    there are numerous ways to fill grain in ring porous woods, the quickest is probably a pore filler i`ve used por-o-pac before but haven`t tried the elmers.......i`ve also used plain ol` waterbased putty mixed with utc`s to get a slightly darker hue than the finished color......if you opt for a waterbased product coat once dry for 24-48 hrs and recoat and dry again then start sanding.
    what i usually do is just use sanding sealer to fill, on oak-n-ash you can literally pour it on and trowel it over the top (after coloring) let dry then start blocking.
    if you`re not used to working finishes over colored wood my technique isn`t the best `cause you can sand through the color if you`re not careful.
    [SIZE="1"] associated with several importers and manufacturers.[/SIZE]

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Kea'au Hawaii. Just down the road from Hilo town!
    Looking great Bruce Novice?

    What goes around, comes around.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Thanks for all the info and encouragement. I think its time to do some experimenting. Will post pics in the "Flatwork Project Showcase" when its all said and done.

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