Woodworkers Club of Houston

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Bar Top Counter


Q: I am building a bar in my basement and have a oak countertop. I am looking for advice on what to coat it with in order to assure that no water marks are left, and is not easily marked/destroyed.

A: In addition to filling the pores prior to staining and clear coat, consider using marine spar varnish. It is very durable and will not spot from water or alcohol. (J.Hutchison)

A: You have a basement?!! You are obviously not in the Houston area!

Polyurethane is a very good finish. It is resistant to most of the abuse that would be encountered in a bar area (alcohol, water, etc.) There are oil based polys and water based polys. Both have advantages and disadvantages, but I think all of these issues might only be related to the application, so once the finish is cured, I can't say which one would be better.

There is a book out by Bob Flexner called "Understanding Wood Finishing" that I would recommend. You can probably find it at your local library, if not your bookstore. It's a good reference for most every finish in use today that is available to the general public.

Without knowing what part of the country you are in, the only suggestion that I can offer is that if you live anywhere where you have any extremes with humidity between seasons, be sure to coat not only the top and front edges, but also the bottom of the bar so that wood movement due to changes in humidity would be lessened. (T.Burch)

Use a conversion varnish or lacquer. Try Finisher's Supply on Blue Bell in Houston. They can get you set up. (D.Reiss)