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Finish for a bar

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  • Finish for a bar


    I'm building a new bar (its actually just a bar counter that’s mounted to an existing stud wall), made out of oak plywood. I'm planning on using an english walnut stain, but I need suggestions on what to protect it with.

    Thanks in advance

  • #2
    Do you want thick finish, or close to the wood?

    The "inch thick" stuff that you see at places like Joe's Crab Shack are either epoxy or poured acrylic.

    For a thin finish that's still awfully durable, our old friend oil-based poly varnish is a good choice. Once fully cured, a process that can take about a month, not much will scar it. Liquids standing for hours and hours may soak through, but I'm hoping that's not a problem.

    Some of the toughest finishes today are catalyzed varnishes and lacquers. None are available for home shop use, they are incredibly toxic. Possible to take it to a Pro and have it shot, though.

    Of the three, the poly/varnish is most compatible with the stain. Let the stain cure for 24-48 hours, and you're ready to go. For the epoxy or acrylic, wait for a full cure, when the stain stops smelling of oil. For the cats, I would have the finisher do the coloring.

    If it were mine, poly/varnish would be the choice.



    • #3
      The key here is to not overlook the proper "breaking in" of the bar. This may very well be the most critical point. I recommend either Knob Creek or my current favorite, Woodford Reserve. Makers Mark will do if the others are not readily available. See me for detailed application instructions

      Wood Dog


      • #4
        I'm with Wood Dog, but I'd just like ya to slide me a Lite. You may be able to use a marine polyurethane. It would be durable, longlasting, and also wouldn't cloud when subjected to moisture. I think that it is available in satin, semi, and gloss.