The best bar top finish

      What's the best finish for high-use areas like bar tops? March 26, 2000

I'm looking for the best kind of poly to use on an oak bar top?

Acrylic urethane!

It depends on your abilities if you should use this or not, plus it's pricey and is a little difficult to work with. You need a good clean area to use it, and a good respirator. I don't recommend using this indoors.

A.U. is a three-part, clear topcoat used in automotive finishing. It consists of (1) the clear base, (2) the hardener (or catalyst), and (3) reducer. If I ever made a solid oak, maple, or whatever bar top and was going to finish it and rub it to a high sheen, this is the stuff I would use. Second choice would be a conversion varnish.

ICA makes a very good polyurethane that can be used on bar tops and tables. It comes in different sheens, from 20 to 100.

If you spray an automotive urethane, you need a better-than-good respirator: you need a fresh-air-supply respirator. (In the shipyards they are known as positive-feed respirators, and were required for people with beards [men and women!!], whereas the rest of us clean-shaven grunts were only required to wear the standard masks that you see in any hardware store.)

Automotive finishes have isocynates that render filter masks useless. These chemicals are extremely noxious.

The reason for the positive-pressure masks is because isocynates do not have any smell to them, thus you can't tell when your organic cartridge mask is worn out. So, the feds say that fresh air is the only way to go. Still and all, organic cartridges will filter out isocynates.
Bob Niemeyer, forum moderator

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