I'm considering taking on a project for 30 or so smaller restaurant
tables. They want a light wood with solid strips of inlayed darker
wood running through. Sort of Frank Lloyd Wright style. I'm faced
with two major decisions:
Material: I was thinking of using 3/4" Oak plywood tops with 3/4"
Birch plywood bottoms, framed out in solid oak to hide the plies, with
1/4" thick by 3/4" wide Walnut strips running throught the top. They
want thicker inlayed wood- rather than veneer. My thought on the
plywood was for more dimensional stability than the solid wood. I'm a
little worried about the walnut strips expanding out past the sides,
Finish: It has to be durable, and entirely watertight, since this is a
restaurant environment, and they use harsh cleaning chemicals, the
guests have knives, and servers or bussers often don't respect the
sanctity of the table tops. I was thinking of a 2-part epoxy, but
wondered if anyone has had experience in backing off the high-gloss?
Can an epoxy finish be either buffed down with #000 steel wool or
coated with satin poly to achieve a less plastic looking finish?
Should I give more thought to solid wood? Are there any other caveats
about using the 2-part epoxy in a restaurant environment? Can that
finish be recoated after a few years of scratch and wear? How does a
2-part epoxy effect expansion? Cost is, of course, a factor here as