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Thread: Finish for mahogany dining table

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Bowling Green, KY
    Posts
    15

    Finish for mahogany dining table

    I would appreciate suggestions for the proper finish for a mahogany dining table. I want a durable finish, probably not glossy but more of a satin look. Thanks

  2. #2
    Lots of ways you can do this.

    For a large flat surface, you should consider grain filling it. The easiest way is with commercial paste filler. You CAN fill mahogany with pumice, rottenstone, or wood dust+shellac-or-yr thinned topcoat. But no matter what people tell you, if you haven't done it before, it's more effort than just getting a can of Behlen's.

    Most recommend a varnish product for a heavy use table. Good products are Waterlox and Behlen's Rock Hard Tabletop Varnish. IMHO, these products are best brushed.

    If you have access to spray equipment, then a waterborne varnish is also a good choice (I've never used Target products, but they seem to be the go-to choice in this category for people round here).

    Last, if it's really a 'dining' table that won't be subjected to daily beating, then you might try spraying lacquer. It's durable and clear. Our kitchen table is actually lacquered and my wife's a scrubaholic. After 8 years it still looks brand new (except for the scratches my kids put in it with pens).

  3. #3
    Consider the sequence used on this African Mahogany table.

    http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=102698

    The details of the finishing schedule are in the first reply. The short version is:
    1) Dark Brown water-based dye,
    2) Reddish-brown oil-based stain (Candlelight or Mahogany depending on your taste)
    3) Several coats of satin wipe-on polyurethane.

    If you want a smoother finish, then fill between steps 2 & 3. If you want a brighter finish go with with amber dye instead of dark brown. If you want more variation in the color, more grain pop, drop the dye altogether.

    Shawn, I have heard that lacquer provides little or no protection against water stains. Is that true?
    Last edited by Danny Thompson; 03-02-2009 at 9:29 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Dallas, Tx.
    Posts
    1,335

    Been there..

    Shawn, about a hundred years ago, I made a dining table. I probably shot sixty, seventy coats of bar top lacquer and rubbed my fingers to the bone. It would reflect a yard stick. My baby boy beat the hell out of it in five minutes with a fork. RIP. No, I'm kidding about the murder. So what I'm saying is, if you labor yourself silly for a prize table, have a pro make a table pad for it. Never serve on it with out one.
    Phil in Big D
    The only difference between a taxidermist and the taxman, is that the taxidermist leaves the skin. Mark Twain

  5. #5
    My recommendation: go to the website for Target Coatings. The seal coat will probably be their shellac and the topcoat will probably be their Hybrivar product, but what goes on in between will depend on whether you want to stain the table. They sell a complete variety of stains as well.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Phelps View Post
    My baby boy beat the hell out of it in five minutes with a fork. RIP.
    They call that 'distressing' the look. As we software design types say, It's a feature, not a bug.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Dallas, Tx.
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    1,335
    Quote Originally Posted by Shawn Patel View Post
    They call that 'distressing' the look. As we software design types say, It's a feature, not a bug.
    My dear man, distress "before" the finish
    Phil in Big D
    The only difference between a taxidermist and the taxman, is that the taxidermist leaves the skin. Mark Twain

  8. #8

    Lacquer...maybe not.

    John,

    Your question reminded me of a dining table I bought from Thomasville several years ago and the warning offered by the salesman about the lacquer finish, "It's not a durable finish." ...he was right. This table was purely a "dining table" and only used on special occasions. Someone (that would be me) laid a mesh rubber placemat designed for outdoor use on the table and over time (a long time) the mat fused with the lacquer finish and took a chunk out of the lacquer when the mat was removed.

    If anyone has a remedy for this type of damage I can post a picture so you can seen what happened.


  9. #9
    Harry, a friend just recently had this very same thing happen to a cherry dining room table. They had not looked under the mat in several years, and were shocked to find that the finish had been completely dissolved by interaction with the mat. They have been unable to find a fix other than complete refinishing. The lacquer had been tinted and the color was destroyed as well as the finish.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by John Keeton View Post
    Harry, a friend just recently had this very same thing happen to a cherry dining room table. They had not looked under the mat in several years, and were shocked to find that the finish had been completely dissolved by interaction with the mat. They have been unable to find a fix other than complete refinishing. The lacquer had been tinted and the color was destroyed as well as the finish.
    John,

    I took a "finishing" class at the local Woodcraft store a few years ago and the professional conducting the class had the same recommendation. Strip the top and start over.

    If I remember correctly, the blemishes on my table are two or three places the size of a BB that were lifted out and did not affect the color underneath. Of course the lacquer itself may have contributed to the final color but I'm hoping someone might have a technique to "spot in" these areas. My issue is this pecan table is a perfect match for the pecan cabinetry in the room (which is why I purchased it in the first place) and I don't want to alter its color or spend the time and effort refinishing for a few small blemishes.
    Last edited by Harry Hagan; 03-04-2009 at 3:05 PM.


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Glenmoore, PA
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    2,125
    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Phelps View Post
    My baby boy beat the hell out of it in five minutes with a fork.
    HAHA - sorry Phil but that is funny. A while back I built my (now 7) toddler sone his very first big-boy bed. Same thing, worked fingers to the bone on it and was so proud. One of the first things that he did after putting him into it was to stand up and start biting the headboard.

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