I have the pleasure of having to apply a durable clear finish on many tabletops on-site for a restaurant renovation. The tops are made of 1-1/2" yellow pine. I would like to use green products but am not married to the idea. Hopefully a waterborne poly. The boards are 10" wide on some of the table tops, so cupping is a concern. Should the underside also be coated?
From contributor M:
There must be an easier way to make a living! At least it was not the dreaded "I have a bar that needs to be refinished, and the only time we are closed is Christmas Day." For my money, I would forget green or conversion varnish. The first time the cleaning crew uses an ammonia based cleaner, they will start to turn soft. I would figure out a way to get them, or some of them, back to your shop for 24 hours. Strip, sand, oxalic, final sand and finish with SW laboratory grade cat vinyl. Yes, also finish the underside. At least the gum will not stick as easy. I have a number of contracts that we offer 24 hour returns and it was hard to convince the floor managers, but they are looking for long term quality and durability, not overnight dust, mess and a sticky table.