I have been asked to make a kitchen island top out of old pine barn beams cut down to 1 1/2" thick. The wood has a few bolt holes and nail holes that have blackened over time. It also has a few areas of rot. I need to fill the holes without taking all the old look away. I also need a good finish for a kitchen area. They do not plan on using the island as a cutting board, but I am sure food will be present, as it is in a kitchen.
(Furniture Making Forum)
From contributor M:
We do some old pieces from reclaimed heart pine from time to time. I have found that almost any filler will take away from the appearance of the wood. We actually leave the nail holes, saw marks and missing knots as found. While leaving these may not be best for your surface, I would suggest a clear resin type of filler, if you must do something. I don't use these, so I can't make any suggestions.
As for the finish - have any of you ever used Waterlox? It's a tung oil product with additives that builds up with repeated coats to a varnish like surface (unlike using Watco). This stuff cures unbelievably hard and water and stain resistant. I've had to repair a dent in a walnut top that I had finished with Waterlox. I sanded around the dent, used a hot iron over a wet towel to lift the spot. After twenty minutes or more of water and ironing there was no – none whatsoever – compromise to the surrounding finish. After, it was easy to blend the repair into the surrounding area. Good finish!