This week’s question comes from Chris. He writes:
I am making a end table with a walnut top and I am looking to protect the top from water rings, accidental spills etc. Do you have a suggestion for something that will provide a little more protection or would a oil -varnish blend work? A buddy of mine mentioned that I could use wax as a final protective coat that would be easy to reapply as needed. Thoughts? Thank you for the great shows and you are really doing a great job helping to teach other woodworkers.
And here was my reply:
Hey Chris. An oil/varnish blend is ok, but probably not the right finish for a heavily used table. Your best bet would be varnish. I would recomend 5-6 coats of a wiping varnish like Arm-R-Seal. This will leave you with a beautiful finish that protects the wood from the abuse it will most likely see. And skip the wax. Wax is pretty useless in terms of protection. And not to mention, once you apply wax, you are committed to a regular waxing regimen in order to keep the surface looking good. Eventually you will have that wax buildup issue too. So save the wax for your car. :) Good luck.
If you want to learn more about my favorite finishing method, you should check out my DVD, A Simple Varnish Finish. My goal with the DVD was to demystify finishing by going over each and every step of the wiping varnish process. Even someone new to the world of finishing can create a show-stopping finish if they follow the methods outlined in the DVD. So check it out!