Taking care of a bare wood table and chairs

  mart7 11:22 26 Apr 14
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Answered

I have a dining table and chairs,supposedly mexican wood,its light in colour,unvarnished,unstained,ive been on a few forums relating to wood protection,im not looking to colour the bare wood,or indeed varnish it,it would take me forever to do the table and chairs and my diy capabilities are minimal,its more the table top id like to protect from scratches,scuffs etc I was advised to use a matt varnish which i may do just on the table top,also use Olive oil to feed and protect the wood as you do with these wooden chopping boards

Just interested to know if any other forum members have other alternatives?

  wee eddie 11:42 26 Apr 14

For indoor or outdoor use?

  mart7 12:03 26 Apr 14

Indoor,missed that out in description

  fourm member 12:03 26 Apr 14

I'm not sure I'd do anything to it.

A scratch in an unvarnished surface is much easier to deal with than scratched varnish.

  wee eddie 12:42 26 Apr 14

The colour of unfinished is different to the colour of treated wood.

If you dampen a piece of cloth and wet a hidden bit of the wood, you will see its true colour, as the dampness dries it will return to that which you have now.

  mart7 12:57 26 Apr 14

wee eddie yes it does,

fourm member,i take your point but would matt varnish show up scratches? i can understand gloss varnish doing so

  lotvic 13:35 26 Apr 14

If it's a dining table in use, it will soon become stained with various substances spilt on it and ring marks from glasses etc. and be difficult to wipe clean each time after a meal.

A good quality matt clear polyurethane varnish will provide protection. You can try a dab underneath/out of sight to see what effect it will have on the finished look.

Or you could purchase a piece of clear acrylic sheet to fit over the tabletop, I have seen these in some cafes. They put them on top of tablecloths so it doesn't get soiled.

  mart7 14:53 26 Apr 14

Lotvic,thanks the matt varnish option seems to be the best way to deal with this

  wee eddie 16:16 26 Apr 14

Actually, wood will protect itself, all you need to do is to scrub it with soap and water.

A nice wood will look good for 200 years or so. Central Heating is more dangerous to it than dirt.

  spuds 16:50 26 Apr 14

For projects like this, I tend to look on Ronseal, Dulux or the local French Polisher/Furniture Restorer for help and advice. Have you tried any of these for advice?.

  Forum Editor 16:50 26 Apr 14

For dining purposes you'll need to use a matt or satin finish varnish. Anything else will fail, unless you are meticulously careful with hot plates and glasses, etc.

If you are very careful you could use clear Briwax, which will provide a beautifully rich, satin finish on bare wood....after four or five coats. The problem with wax polishes is that you need to keep applying them, and after some time you'll get a build up that discolours. When that happens you have to strip the wax back and start again. It's the way to do it if the wood is very beautiful, or very old, otherwise use varnish as follows:-

Wash and sand the table top to remove all traces of dirt and grease. Apply two coats of varnish (the first one will be rapidly absorbed by the timber), and allow them to harden for a few days. Then 'flat' the surface with fine sandpaper, rubbed very gently over the surface with the flat of your hand. Do it very gently, as otherwise you'll see circular sanding marks like faint scratches in the finish. You're aiming to de-nib the surface without removing the varnish coat. Wipe the dust off thoroughly with a damp cloth, and allow to go bone dry before applying a further coat of varnish. Repeat the exercise twice more, allowing hardening times between coats. Your final coat will leave a superb, deep finish that will last a very long time.

Apply the varnish using the best quality bristle brush you can afford, and work rapidly along the length of the grain. Apply the next coat across the grain, and so on, finishing with the final coat along the grain. This prevents banding in the final appearance.

N.B. Hardening is different to drying. The varnish will be dry to the touch within hours, but hardening takes much longer. If you try the flattening process before the varnish is hard you'll drag the surface, and a perfect finish will be impossible.

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