The 'best' sealer/protection for a ber top

I've just stripped and restained an oak bartop, but I haven't put a finish on it yet. Before I do, what sort of finish/sealer will provide the best protection from water short of a poured epoxy finish (I don't care for the plastic look). Has technology come up with a solution for folks who simply don't believe in coasters? Can I put a shine on an epoxy coating? Perhaps I can put a coat of something on an epoxy coating that would make it look better?
Thanks, -TT
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Sun, Mar 4, 2007, 10:37am (EST-1) snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (Tom Terrific) doth query: I've just stripped <snip> Has technology come up with a solution for folks who simply don't believe in coasters? <snip>
I think I'd just put on a good varnish, wipe up spills frequently, and/or find drinkers wih more class.
JOAT It was too early in the morning for it to be early in the morning. That was the only thing that he currently knew for sure. - Clodpool
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On Sun, 4 Mar 2007 12:48:12 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (J T) wrote:

Speaking of joints with no class...
One of the places I frequent might list "dents from customer's heads" as something they would like to protect against. Note that the customer heads often have someone else's hand behind them as they strike the bar.
Hey, they have good beer on tap! <G>
Mug club memberships are still available!
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B A R R Y wrote:

Sounds like one of the "Gun & Knife" clubs I used (past tense!) to frequent. The owners wife got blasted with a shotgun so he took the day off for her funeral but opted for putting black bunting around the bar rather than actually closing for the day.
I was too gutsy ... often betting more on my pool game than I had in my pocket.
Bill
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snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net says...

Unfortunately, my own class is sometimes lacking in this respect. There's also the inevitable spilled drink.
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Tom Terrific wrote:

Are you talking about a bartop for home use or for a commercial establishment? If it's for a commercial establishment consider polyester and use automotive polishing compounds on it if you want it shiny (plan on spending a couple of hundred bucks for compounds and pads). If you want a minimum-effort "wet look" a 2K polyurethane would also be good, but it's nasty stuff to work with--read and be sure you understand _all_ the safety precautions.
For a home bar a catalyzed lacquer or conversion varnish or one of the newer high grade waterbornes should be fine.
All these need commercial spray equipment if you want a really good result without a lot of sanding and polishing.
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says...

This is a home bar, so cost and ease of application are definitely factors (at least the kind of cost that you're talking about). Can I apply a thinner coat of a two part epoxy with a brush for a more traditional technique and look, but with a more durable result? (I suspect not, since if it were that easy, everybody would already be doing it that way). How about a floor finish? We had a professional application of 'Street Shoe' a couple years ago and are very pleased with the result, particularly in an area that frequently sees snowy boots. It's a water based product, so I suspect it would lend itself to this kind of a project if it's suitable. Would something like that work well on a bar top?
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You're overthinking this. An oil base polyuretane will protect from any spill that is cleaned up within 36 hours. Cheap, easy to find and works.

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That may be the answer. As far as overthinking, I wasn't even aware of the different urethane products that are available today - hence my original question. This may, indeed, be the solution that technology has provided. I've not done a lot of wood finishing in recent years. Off the top of my head and without doing any research, I probably would have used ten coats of varnish followed by a weekly application of paste wax. (add a couple of cigarette burns and the smell of stale beer and I'd have a retro Tavern look).
snipped-for-privacy@earthl.net says...

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Your varnish and wax would work just fine too. The urethane is easy and will get you what you want. Wasn't really you that was overcomplicating things. Often the suggestions you get here are a bit over the top. Ask a question like this here and there will be those that suggest things that cost $200.00 a gallon and have to be applied by an expert with pro equipment while wearing a hazmat suit (of course, after they suggest this to you, they go out into their garage and brush another coat of poly on their latest project).

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"All these need commercial spray equipment if you want a really good result without a lot of sanding and polishing."•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••Not true of spar varnish, although oak does have a stringier grain than mahogany. Sand with 180 open coat or garnet paper between 2 or 3 coats, brushing liberally the new varnish on and it will be self-leveling.
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The General HP Poly may be what you want. Cheers, JG
http://www.homesteadfinishing.com/htdocs/generalfinishes.htm

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Why not just do the obvious and use a top grade spar varnish? Nothing beats these for rough service except maybe automotive catalyzed clear coats. And the latter are best applied with professional equipment, so that might limit your choices. HTH
Joe
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com says...

I used spar varnish many years ago on some outdoor furniture and was pleased with the results. I'm assuming that spar urethane is the modern-day version of spar varnish (indeed, it's beginning to look like urethane is the latest be-all end-all finishing product). I went to the Minwax website to get a common, non-technical description of the different types of finishes that are available. I don't mean to imply that I'm necessarily going to use this brand, I simply wanted to see how the different types compare. Their Helmsman spar urethane sounds like just the sort of product that I'm looking for. In fact, they list bar tops among the recommended applications.
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"I used spar varnish many years ago on some outdoor furniture and was pleased with the results."••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• If the furniture was made of softwood, then NO glossy finish will hold on it, the pines and poplars shrink and expand and torque too much. I cringe every time I run across a gloss-type deck finish. One Mchigan year will prove my point.
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The best and longest-lasting varnish I have ever used on my boats is ACE brand Marine Spar Varnish. Holds up to Michigan outdoor use, daily dew, long sun exposures, frequent rain, snow, frost, icing,. We walk and climb and toss stuff all over this boat and use very little caution. Weathers for several seasons and looks very nice, rich golden color on mahogany. Second choice is Kush brand.
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