Cherry table finish

Hi, All
I normally lurk here (fine way to learn) as I'm not much of a woodworker. I seem to have a better knack for metalwork, the material "speaks to me" in a fashion I can hear, not so with wood yet. I've embarked on a combo project for SWMBO Christmas gift, a 4 x 8 cherry table with hand forged base and legs. The table will have a heavy medieval look with iron top straps and exposed rivets. I'm having the tabletop built out of 6/4" black cherry by a local mill shop, it will be delivered ready to final sand & finish. I really like the way linseed oil brings out the grain and would like to use it again, but I'm not sure what to topcoat with and there is the issue of durability. We don't mind the some "battle scars" from day to day usage but I don't want every hot pot or dribble of food to leave a lasting impression. I can get cut offs and experiment with different stuff but I need some suggestions.
Thanks in advance
Andrew
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2 or 3 coats of Waterlox (I would skip the linseed oil, too) - this is a oil/varnish blend that gives absolutely stunning results.
Mike

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Wed, Nov 10, 2004, 9:42am snipped-for-privacy@SPAMevolutionironworks.com (Andrew V) says: <snip> a 4 x 8 cherry table with hand forged base and legs. The tablewill have a heavy medieval look with iron top straps and exposed rivets. <snip>
I'm not sure about the medieval look, but definitely think you should post a link to pictures, when it's done.
JOAT Viet Nam, divorce, cancer. Been there, done that. Now, where the Hell are my T-shirts?
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On Wed, 10 Nov 2004 09:42:25 -0500, "Andrew V"

Why not use oak ? It's the real timber of the medieval period.
As a finish for something with this sort of feel to it, I use plain wax. http://codesmiths.com/shed/things/boxes/ark / Plain beeswax and turpentine for authenticity (applied by power drill and a plastic-bristle rotary brush) For something a little harder, a mix of beeswax, carnauba wax and maybe some paraffin wax (Liberon "Black Bison" in neutral).
If you're actually planning to use it as a table, then I'd oil it first, then wax it. Oil certainly isn't authentic, but it's a reasonable compromise of wear vs. appearance. I've even been known to use a gel poly on some "old" work that I knew would get a hard life, but only a single coat which is hopefully invisible.
I wouldn't use linseed. It's a pain to use and it tends to yellow an awful lot. I'd go with a commercial preparation of tung oil, probably sold aas "Finishing Oil" rather than "pure tung". Avoid Danish oils or anything else that's an oil/varnish mix.
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wrote:

Why? These are wonderful finishes that do a great job of popping the grain, as well as providing a reasonable amount of protective qualities. In the case of Waterlox, it builds rather nicely, so if you want that effect it is easy to obtain. Best of all, they are applied simply by flooding the surface and wiping off the excess. I've used this finish on projects ranging from every day use tables, high chair, picture frames, a queen sized bed, etc. etc. and they ALL still look great, some after years of use without any touch ups, other than dusting and maybe a recoat of wax every couple years.
So, I'm very curious why you would tell someone to avoid these absolutely awesome finishes.
Mike
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On Thu, 11 Nov 2004 13:31:21 GMT, "Mike in Mystic"

the piece being a medieval period piece. Danish oil probably wouldn't be appropriate.
Danish oil and tung oil are certainly my finishes of choice for a cherry top but I would not do a medieval piece so no issue there. For a medieval piece, I agree with Andy and think Oak much more appropriate.
TWS
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On Thu, 11 Nov 2004 13:31:21 GMT, "Mike in Mystic"

Same reason I'd avoid shellac - they're a film-forming finish and they're never going to look the part for "a heavy medieval look".
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ahhhh
I didn't catch that you were just advising him for this particular application. It sounded like a wholesale "don't use this".
Sorry!
Mike
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On Thu, 11 Nov 2004 14:14:27 GMT, "Mike in Mystic"

I'm no great fan of Danish oil myself - tools like hammer handles and the upholstery webbing stretcher I made today are the only things I use it on. I wouldn't rule it out though, if you like the look yourself. For that quality of finish, I'd generally go for shellac.
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IMHO, this is good advice. I can't add anything but I'd like to day "ditto"
bob g.

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I'm going to get some cherry scraps and try out the different sugestions. Also when its done I'll post some photos.
Thanks to all who replyed
Andrew
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If you want protection, you can tung or linseed oil it to get some depth to the grain. Then for protection you could ude a wip-on poly. If you do just two or three very thin coats, this will really toughen up the finish but you will still feel the wood. Finally get some good wax, I like Briwax Black, and apply it with 0000 steel wool, then lightly buff.
Try this on some test pieces first of course.
Finally, you can make your own wipe on poly by thinning regular oil poly 50/50 with Mineral Spirits.
Really finally, leave the top out in the sun a few days before applying any film finish that might have UV protection. Cherry darkns by sunlight. Just a few hours of direct light will have a dramatic effect and over the years, even with protection it will continue to darken.
BW

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