Refinish Oak Table Top - October 20th 2006

Refinish Oak Table Top

Q: I have recently purchased a new oak dining room table finished with a dark brown stain. I put a place mat on the table before setting a hot casserole dish down. While the table did not mark, the stain from the table came right up through the place mat. I went with a stain only finish as I think it looks more natural but now I find that there is an obvious drawback. Is there a finish you can suggest to eliminate this problem? I'm not really fond of poly type finishes as to me they look like plastic.

A: Polyurethane (poly type) finishes are very durable and resistant to table activities. Many people relate only to high gloss urethanes, but not so as satin, semi-gloss and gloss finishes are also available. Flecto Varathane makes an oil finish varathane that gives a natural oil look.
To apply wipe the surface with a paint solvent to remove any surface oils; follow this with a damp cloth; allow to dry and apply two coats of satin oil type urethane. Cloverdale Paint has their own line of solvent-based urethanes.