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lacquer vs. varnish

My husband and I have bought an old oak drafting table that we have stripped, sanded, and stained. We are planning to replace the top with a butcher block and use as an island in our kitchen. Since the island will be used a lot and will be located in the kitchen near water and food, which finish would work best in this situation?

Re: lacquer vs. varnish


Poly-Urethane is far more resistant to water and alcohol than is lacquer. Lacquers are usually used by manufacturers who like its extremely fast drying characteristics.

You state that the top is going to be of butcher block. You might consider a traditional oiled finish. There are many commercial dressing oils on the market. Most are primarily mineral oil with either bees wax or carnauba wax in it. If the top is to be truly used for food preparation, you might find this to be a good alternative, especially if any cutting is to be done on it.

Many people do not like poly-urethane because it has somewhat of a plastic look. It would also show cutting or chopping marks, whereas an oiled block can be re-oiled and or sanded and kept looking great for years.

Re: lacquer vs. varnish

Thank you for your response. I'm planning on using mineral oil to protect and maintain the butcher block top. I'm mainly curious as to how to finish the legs of the island for use in the kitchen to protect it from incidental spills. Would you still recommend poly-urethane? This is obviously my first time to finish a wood piece, so I don't want an application that is too difficult, but that being said, I'm fairly handy and prepared for a challenge.

Re: lacquer vs. varnish

Poly will be long lasting and durable for the legs. However use a good poly like OldMasters not the cheap stuff like Minwax.

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