Commercial Bar Top Finish Choices

      Finishers suggest a couple of options for a tough and repairable bar top coating. February 21, 2011

I am going to sand down my solid wood bar top that is used in a heavy use commercial environment. I was wondering what type of finish/sealant would be best suited for this? I obviously wish to keep the wood as best protected as possible from drink spillages, scratches, and etc. If anyone can give me any pointers it'd be most appreciated.

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor U:
MLC EuroBuild is very durable and an excellent chemical and moisture resistance. Provided over time wear and tear gets to an area, they also offer a water borne brushable Maintanence Coating. Normal wear and tear would take an extremely long time to compromise this product, but as with anything else, if they are cutting steaks on the bar, or going to town on it with broken beer bottles, you will be fine!

Do some homework on it first if you have never used it. It is costly, and is very product specific as far as using its own sealer/catalyst/reducers. There are no short cuts with this product (not saying that is something you would do) but it can't mix and match a little here and there if you ran out of something, or exceeded the pot life on any of these.

Please pull a PI sheet offline, or speak with a MLC Rep about this product line, it has specific re-coat windows and specific pot life once catalyzed. It sprays great/sands great and I have it in my own house to boot.

From contributor G:
How is the sanding of the old finish going? Sometimes ease of repair trumps bulletproof-ness. An N/C bar top finish might be easier for you to apply and repair, if such were needed.

What denotes a bartop nitro lacquer from standard nitro is mainly the use of a coconut oil alkyd resin in the formula. This non-reactive resin (meaning it will not lift or crinkle or do any other strange things) gives gloss, alcohol and water resistance and hardness to the cellulose nitrate that it does not have by itself - they also do not scratch white after thorough cure of 30 days. Many other alkyd resins are used in nitro lacquers, such as the ones used in Sherwin Williams water resistant nitros, but they are reactive and can cause as bad a problem as the cats do.

Behlens was bought out by Mowhawk in the late 80's but Mohawk continued to sell the product, under the heading "high solids WW lacquer" and "high solids WW sanding sealer.

Catalyzed Versus Uncatalyzed Lacquers

From contributor T:
I use a two component urethane from sayerlack that uses the same coconut oil resin. It is really hard after it dries, and unlike most cat products won’t become brittle with age.

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