big problems with cherrywood kitchen tops

Hi
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 durable?
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. Please help...
Kind regards Suzie London
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Do you mean counter tops, oil is not durable, oil base polyurethane is.
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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.
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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 and suggest.
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On 21 Mar 2006 10:40:44 -0800, " snipped-for-privacy@vcoms.net"

Big-ass sheet of pyrex ought to do it...
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suzie wrote:

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.
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Is that what you sometimes see used in bars, looks like glass was poured on? That stuff is almost indestructable.
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No, that's epoxy.
--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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Can it be used as a coating on teenagers?
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Doug Kanter wrote:

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.
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I would just replace them with granite or other durable top. no matter what they will be a ongoing hassle:(
DO IT ONCE DO IT RIGHT, sit back and relax:)
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

But with granite, don't you have seal it, be careful with acidic foods, etc.
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 problem.
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).
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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 polyurethane answer.
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 use trivets. What ever you do try and keep it dry. -B
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