Table Finish FAQ's

I have an Oak or Elm table top and have removed a beeswax type finish and want a clear natural matt finish. It's a kitchen dining table in a house with kids so needs to be durable.

It depends what type of finish you are looking for. Varnishes are ultimately the most durable finish but if it becomes worn, scratched, chipped or damaged over time, there is little choice but to sand back to bare wood and re-varnish. Varnishes are available in Matt. For a table top, our recommendations would be...

Using a clear varnish will likely enhance the natural grain, colour and character of the timber. A good way to test this is to wipe over the wood with a clean cloth dampened with water. How the wood looks when damp can be an indication of how it may look once varnished. Dampening the table top is also a good way of testing to see if all the Beeswax has been removed. If the water beads on the surface, its a good indication that some of the beeswax is still present. This will need to be completely removed before varnishing using Woodleys Wax and Polish Remover.

An alternative to varnish is hard wax oils. Although a little less durable than a varnish, Hard Wax Oils are still extremely tough and durable, are very easy to apply, maintain and importantly patch repair if areas become worn or scratched. Another key benefit of hard wax oils is that some come in a 'natural' formulation which are designed to better retain the untreated look of bare wood. These are...

Sample sachets are available for both of the above products.

Have a look at the products above and if you have any further questions about these products or your project, feel free to contact us so that you can speak with one of our resident experts.

What is the best way of stripping an old wax finish from a table top?

The easiest way to remove old wax finishes is to use a Wax and Polish Remover on an abrasive finishing pad. You'll need clean rags to wipe of the dissolved wax. It can then be re-waxed, oiled or varnished. If looking to varnish or paint the table top, it's imperative that all of the old wax is removed and may require several treatments with the wax and polish remover. After each application dampen the table top with water. If there are any areas where the water does not dampen the wood or beads on the surface, treat with the wax and polish remover again until it does.

Can I apply more than 2 coats of Hard Wax Oil to a table top?

If this is a bare wood table top we recommend sticking with the manufacturer,s guide of 2 coats. Hard Wax Oils work by penetrating into the surface of the wood and hardening in the wood grain to provide a tough, durable, liquid resistant finish. Applying 3 or 4 coats may result in a build up of wax on the surface of the table top that can be easily marked, scuffed or scratched.

What is the best wood oil for a stripped pine table top?

There are many wood oils that can be used on table tops but for the best durability and longevity, we recommend 'Hard Wax Oils' such as Manns Premier Top Oil or Osmo Top Oil. Hard wax Oils are quick and easy to apply, maintain and repair. Clear oils tend to draw out the natural coloration of the timber which with Pine, can be a can be a yellowy brown or orangey brown colour. To retain the 'freshly sanded' look, we recommend using Fiddes Hard Wax Oil Natural or Osmo Polyx Oil Raw (3044). These variations of Hard Wax Oil are formulated to counter the natural orange / yellow colouration that clear oils and varnishes can produce, to retain a more natural, unfinished appearance.

What is the best way to stain a stripped table top?

This can depend on the colour and type of finish desired. If a varnished finish is required, the table top can be stained with a water or solvent-based wood stain then over-coated with a highly durable wood varnish. If an oil finish is preferred, there is the option of staining the table with a wood stain first then over-coating with a clear wood oil. Alternatively, there are a range of wood oil tints that colour and seal the table top in one process.

Can I use worktop oil on table tops?

Yes you can. Worktop oils such as Manns Premier Top Oil and Osmo Top Oil offer excellent durability and protection again liquid spillages, scuffs, knocks and stains. They are very easy to apply, clean and maintain making them ideal for real wood table tops.

How can I achieve a durable black finish on a table top?

This depends on the type of black finish required. There are a number of ways to achieve a black table top finish but all will give a different depth of colour or sheen so doing test areas is the key to achieving the desired finish. For a semi translucent black where the grain of the wood is still partially visible, consider trying Osmo Polyx Oil Tints in black or Fiddes Hard Wax Oil Tints in Onyx. For a deeper, darker black, the table top can first be stained with a black wood stain such as Manns Classic Pine Stain for softwood tables and Manns Classic Oak Stain for hardwood tables. Once stained, the table top must be denibbed or lightly sanded to remove any powdery residue left over from the staining process. It should then be wiped over with a dry cloth or vacuumed to remove all traces of sanding dust. Do not wipe down with a damp cloth as this will remove some of the stain.

Once dry, the stain can be over-coated with 2 thin coats of one of the black tinted wood oils mentioned above. The benefit of using wood oils is that whilst they are tough and durable, they are also easy to apply, maintain and if required repair should the finish get scuffed, scratched or marked in some other way.

Alternatively, stained or dyed table tops can be over-coated with a durable varnish such as Manns Extra Tough Interior Varnish or Polyvine Heavy Duty Interior Wood Varnish. Varnishes are available in a range of sheen levels and offer the best all-round protection.

Another approach for a totally opaque finish is to use a black paint or varnish such as Manns Classic Interior Paint.

It is common for Black and White wood finishes to produce a wide variety of effects so it is highly recommended to always carry out a series of test areas before starting any project.

What is the best finish for restaurant table tops?

This depends on whether durability or ease of maintenance is the top priority. Varnish is the more durable option but requires a longer maintenance period when it becomes damaged or worn. Old varnish coatings need to be sanded or stripped off before applying fresh coats. Wood oils such as Fiddes Hard Wax Oil and Osmo Polyx Oil are very durable, long lasting, easy to maintain and restore without having to strip off the old finish first. Simply clean the table top with a dedicated Ph balanced wood cleaner and apply a fresh coat of oil.

The most durable varnish we currently offer is Sadolin PV67 Heavy Duty Varnish. Normally used for commercial flooring, this product can be used on bar tops and table tops.It is extremely smelly and must be applied in a well ventilated environment, carefully following the manufacturer's instructions at all times.

Table Finishes

Disclaimer: Whilst every attempt has been made to provide product information that is as accurate as possible, it's important to clarify that trees and the wood that they produce can be affected by many factors. For example, the same species of tree grown in the same wood, even in close proximity, will be affected by age along with the amount of sunlight and water they receive. Other naturally occurring biological and environmental factors will also influence the density and grain of the wood as well as the moisture and oil content of the timber. No two trees are the same, meaning each piece of wood has the potential to look and react differently to the same wood finish. For example, product adhesion, colour variations, absorption rates and sheen levels. It is for this reason that we always strongly recommend carrying out test areas before starting any project