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My daughter has installed a reclaimed heart pine counter top into her kitchen with an under counter sink. It is my job to finish the counter top. She wants a matte natural finish. Any suggestion about what i should finish the top to provide maximum protection. 100%Tung Oil, Polyurethane, Linseed, Spar varnish or other
Cover it with epoxy and then anything you want that is a film finish.
The end grain by the sink is going to be the killer. If she wants that natural oil kind of finish, tell her she will refreshing it every couple weeks for a long time.
Is this kitchen actually going to be used?There's a big difference in what I would spec for someone that does cook versus someone that mainly has a Kitchen to look at.
Reason I ask. I would not spec an Undermount sink in a wood top that is going to see frequent use. Unless the top is mostly for show I would absolutely go with a film finish. If the client wants a butcher block surface to cut on I will make them a nice cutting board.
That situation. I would go with a Top mount/drop in sink. I would seal the top and bottom of the counter.
I do the sink cut out at my shop prior to finishing. I like to hit the cut out with a sander to get rid of the rough jig saw marks, so that It can be sealed better.
Cut out then gets sealed with an equal number of coats as I'm spraying on the top.I will also apply about three coats to the bottom as well, to avoid moisture balance issues.
Top mount sinks get set in a bead of silicone, rather than the useless foam gasket they include. Make sure to order longer mounting clips. The bolts that come with sinks are meant for three-quarter inch particleboard tops.
Situation where I would install an Undermount sink in a wood top would be a kitchen that just doesn't really get used.
Or maybe a bar top or something that gets used occasionally. This is a situation where I might consider an oil finish.
If they want to use the sink a lot and insist on under mount they can get someone else to do the cut out and install the sink and void the warranty in the process. This is simply asking for a call back or lawsuit. I won't do it. As a professional it's my burden as the expert to steer a client away from things like this. A court would certainly see it that way even with a disclaimer.
If you want An idea how and oil finish. gonna hold up. Go take a look at a butcher block that's been used and abused a restaurant kitchen. While it will be more sanitary than you might think. You'll see all sorts of stains-scratches knife marks etc. just not the kind of thing the average person would want to see in their kitchen after a few years of use.
Some people might not care and if they insist on a oil finish in the top it's going to see heavy use. I would sell them an unfinished top that they can do whatever they like with. I would include finish specifications and require the top be properly sealed with a film finish, in order to be eligible for any sort of warranty.
You could certainly get away with an oil finish in a top that doesn't get much use and would look nice but I would stay away from it if it is going to see daily wear and tear of any kind.
If you do it go with the Undermount I would seal the whole top with Marine epoxy, and then apply your choice of a water resistant clear on top of this. You're going to want to check into Intercoat compatibility with the
Last Woodtop I did I finished with Waterlox which can be nice despite it being finicky to work with. Well we know waterlox is not the most durable system we do know that it can be repaired on site pretty easily or even redone if needed.
Wood tops I'm building right now are going to get sprayed with either target coatings EM 2000 or 9300 w cross linker. Both of these could easily be repaired on site and the top to be refinished in place via brush application if needed it down the road.
Key to success with any wood top is going to be to educate the client on the realities of what will work well and what well in their specific situation. A wood countertop is not for everyone. I will build them for customers that have realistic expectations, understand limitations, demonstrate common sense.
People get all sorts of ideas from the Internet blogs sites like houzz, magazines etc... Just because a wood top was done a particular way in some mansion in Silicon Valley. That might be a situation where the kitchen just doesn't get used and that it's there is a trophy. Same design may not be ideal for The average client
You can't expect your customers to know these intricate differences. As a professional you are the expert, and it is up to you to inform the customer and lead them to a decision that is right for their circumstances.
Bob did a good post. My view is, I just wouldn't do an under mount in a solid wood top. The end grain just can't be sealed well enough to last very long. It will develop a small crack that will then let the moisture in at ever faster rates. Bad idea. Do finish top & bottom the same. Soak the hell out of any end grain with a diluted poly.
Mineral oil. Daily.
I thank all of you for your responses
Use Waterlox. A few hand-wiped coats with a light sanding between coats. This is all thats needed. In a few years, wipe another coat or two. It's expensive, but it works like you expect it too.