Non-Plastic Look Finish


From original questioner:

One of our larger clients are looking to change the look of finish in future tables we build for them. (Live edge slabs, and solid wood. Walnut, white oak, are typical.)
They want the finish to let the wood look as natural as possible while maintaining durability. So no grain filling, and the topcoat should be satin or less sheen. I should mention that the "natural" does not apply to the color. Think something close to a hand rubbed BLO, but with commercial durability. Is there anything out there that exists?

From contributor Ke

try Bona Naturale. I had the same request from a designer. I provided them samples of several different products and in the end this is the one they liked best.

From contributor Le

I've had good luck with Rubio Monocote.

From contributor Br

Thanks guys. How does it hold up to moisture? The tops all are exposed to coffee, water, etc...

From contributor ni

non film building finishes usually (always?) are not highly protective or durable and require maintenance to maximize their limited durability and moisture resistance...I tell my customers this when they ask for this kind of look and 9 times out of 10 they opt out, not wanting to invest the time or money in maintaining the piece. For that 90% I use 3 coats of 20% thinned CV with at most a 15% sheen (10% or lower sheen is even better, if you can find it) and that has worked.

From contributor Ke

hence my recommendation for Bona. It is actually a waterbased floor finish. Its very durable and does have a film, yet you cannot even see it. I would steer clear of the rubio monocoat. Its nothing more than a oil. Not even on my radar as far as durability. Smells real funny too.

From contributor Da

1. In general, if you want any finish to perform as it's supposed to then you need to have a minimum amount of finish on your surface. That is to say you need whatever the recommended dry mil thickness is for that coating. You cannot have it both ways, close-to-the wood and high performance.

2. Your finish that you are offering has to be able to hold up to heat, you mentioned coffee. That means hot coffee cups. The first question you ought to be asking about any finish is will it speficifically be heat resistant? And then, up to what temperature.

If your coating rep can't answer those two questions to start out with, either get good answers or jump to a different coating.

3. The flatter and duller the sheen, the more "natural" it will appeal to your customer.

4. An off-the-gun is easier to do but more difficult to perform field maintenance because there's no rubbing schedule.

5. A rubbed finish will be less durable than an off-the-gun finish of the same coating, everything else being equal.

Arm yourself with information. It's you who 3will be called to address why your bulletproof finish isn't bulletproof. And no finish is bulletproof, they all get wear and tear in offices. Make sure that your customers and clients understand that. "Why is my finish scratched? What are these marks where people place their coffee cups?"