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Tabletop Finishes

Table top finish

We offer options for the finishing and surface preparation of our tabletops.  We will mail samples to you if you are considering our work.

Options for surface preparation

  • Sanded.  We start with the finest grit that will remove any tool marks on the wood and true the surface; then we sand with a series of ever finer grits to remove the scratches of the grit before, until the scratches left from the last and finest grit can't be seen without a lens.  We start with 80 and progress through six grits to end at 400.  Low angle light will reflect evenly from a flat flawless surface.

  • Hand planed.  With a very sharp hand plane or scraper, we remove a shaving from everywhere on the surface.  You can feel the very slight ridges and valleys left by this operation.  The slight ridges are about 1 1/2" apart and the valleys between are about .015" deep.  Some of the wood fibers tear rather that cut cleanly, leaving tiny divots, maybe .020" deep by .040" wide. Low angle light will be scattered and will highlight the handwork and obscure future scratches, dents, and so on.
    This surface might be considered distressed, although it isn't.

The sanded surface is "perfect" and the planed surface is not.  Each has benefits and people who prefer them.

We recommend a sanded tabletop for those who:  1) want the finest surface and the ultimate finish or  2) do not like the informality of the hand planed surface.

We recommend a hand planed tabletop for those who:  1) like clear evidence that someone built the table by hand,  2) like the resulting texture, or  3) want to obscure dings and scratches in the irregular surface.

Options for Finish

  • Hand rubbed oil.  This is the finish that we use on the chairs and table bases, but we apply 3 or 4 additional coats.  It is the least resistant to water spotting.

  • Varnish.  As step one of this finish, we hand-rub oil into the wood to bring out the natural color and depth, then we apply two coats of polyurethane varnish.  Our objective is to apply the thinnest coating possible that will hold out a water-spill overnight, flex to follow a dent, and resist scratching by its toughness.  See Varnish in the Art and Craft section of this website.

  • Your choice.  If you have a material that you prefer, we probably can use it on your tabletop.  Please inquire.

With any of our finishes and all of our furniture, we urge everyone to relax and use it.  Our furniture is museum quality, but made for home and family living.  A scratch or dent is a minor thing; a collection of them writes your history of use.  If refinishing is desired, the wood is solid and thick.

Related Blog Posts
Rubbing Out a Polyurethane Varnish Finish

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