I recently had solid cherry work tops fitted in my kitchen.They looked
lovely for about one day. I suspect they never had the right seal on
them as they now look really sad and marked. Despite our builders
assurances that with the proper care cherry tops are fine in a kitchen,
we have found almost anything, including water, marks them. I know they
were treated with several layers of oil, but I do not think they ever
had a seal put on them.
We know we will have to completely re-sand them and start again to
remove the marks. But what oil should we use to treat them and most
importantly, is there a tough seal we can use to make them more
I am aware wooden benches will never be the most durable option but is
there anything we can do to make these expensive benches stop marking
when in contact with water, salt, mild heat etc.
Look for products identified as "salad bowl finish", which are supposed to
be safe for use in food preparation areas. I've used the stuff for 20 years
on a butcher block counter, and it's held up nicely. Mine doesn't run right
up next to a sink, but since I do 90% of my prep work on it, it *does* get
wet & marked up, but that's the nature of wood. At least it's not getting
ruined. I've had to re-sand every 5 years or so.
Your problem is that you expected durability and beauty. Durability might be
something one could measure, but beauty - we each have our definitions and
limits. You obviously have the wrong material installed.
Mineral oil, AKA laxative which means food safe, is typically suggested
for use on chopping blocks. It doesn't form a film that can be flaked
off into a food dish and is maintained by wiping another coat as
needed. I woul;dn't put a film forming finish on a countertop as it
would flake off as food was being prepared. A varnish which
polyurethane is forms a film finish and I wouldn't want that in my
digestive tract. Ask the originator of the countertop[ what they used
If it were me, I'd sand them down and then put 3 coats of oil based
polyuerethane on them. Wait about a week or two before use, to give the
poly full time to cure (wait about 24 hours between coats). According
to finishing guru Bob Flexnor, the finish is safe once it is fully
cured. Keep in mind, that if you have a solid wood kitchen table,
they've likely put poly on it. (Mine does).
Then in the future, I'd make sure to use cutting boards for cutting and
"coasters" to put hot pans on.
I'd probably remove the countertops from the tops of the cabinents to
finish them, and temporarily put some plywood on for use until the poly
is cured on your cherry tops.. or maybe you could buy some old
countertops at habitat for humanity.
No, you are thinking epoxy. But poly it is a very durable finish. Also,
this is a matter of my personal taste, but I like the way oil based
poly gives a bit of tint to the wood. It subtly increases the contrast
of the grain.. not to the degree that stain does, but it is nice.
But with granite, don't you have seal it, be careful with acidic foods,
Unfortunately, if you want something "different" or better looking than
formica, there's going to be some work/maintenance (in general).
Wood countertops will look nice if polyed and not used as a cutting
board or a place to put hot things on, although if it were me, I would
consider using another surface near the sink.. But I have seen people
use wood around the sinks (after it had been polyed) and had no
Oh yeah, one other thing.. It's best to poly all sides of the
countertop (even the bottom) with the same number of coats. Otherwise
the wood might warp. An unfinished bottom will absorb/release moisture
at a different rate than the finished top (for example).
Suzie - You may want to try posting this question again on the newsgroup
rec.woodworking Its an active group and you may get more than the
Epoxy comes to mind, like in boat building.
Oil only comes to mind but would require adding oil periodically.
Also, you could have some tile inset for putting down hot pots and stuff or
What ever you do try and keep it dry.
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